What The Heck Is PRE Wedding Photography?!

“What the hell is a pre wedding photographer?” a friend once asked me, obviously outraged by the terminology, the clue I said, is in the name.

For yes, times are a changing and engagement shoot is now often interchangeable with a pre wedding shoot, and where better to have said pre wedding shoot, than in merry old London? Pubs, cafes, Brutalist architecture, Gothic churches…London genuinely has it all.

So why pre wedding photography rather than engagement shoot? To be honest, it’s probably to remove itself from whatever images were conjured by the words engagement shoot. The old school way. With pre wedding photography, the genre is new and fresh, free to define itself as something evolved away from the past. Many couples will have their pre wedding photographs in outfits similar to what you might expect to wear on a wedding day, and that’s the real difference. To be honest, I’m not fussed about what the industry calls it. Shall we take some pictures before the wedding day so we can get to know each other and have a laugh? Yeah? Sweet, let’s do it.

Pre wedding photography is an opportunity to cut loose and create something special. I focus on natural moments during the wedding day and don’t prompt people to laugh, cry or recreate a moment. On the wedding day, the emotive side of photography is paramount. In a pre wedding shoot however, you don’t have the same emotional reaction to an event to pull on, so that’s why it’s time to get creative.

Couples book my pre wedding photography shoots because they often travel to London and the UK and want to create a series of images which celebrate their time here. Clients often travel from the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore and China specifically to take epic pictures in the UK, particularly the lake district and the highlands. Because let’s face it, they are epic landscapes.

Each pre wedding shoot is customised to maximise our time together. I’m not a fan of putting time limits on shoots as they are organic creatures and often take time to reach their peak. These shoots are a collaboration, you need to warm up and get used to me in that context and these things can’t be rushed.

If you book a pre wedding shoot with me, i’ll book out the whole day so it gives me the flexibility to work with you free from time constraints. My favourite drink is Guinness, and we all know, good things come to those who wait.

My top tips for you

This won’t be a ‘turn up and hug’ sort of shoot. We are going to play. And I mean seriously play. These aren’t going to be pictures that your gran wants on the mantle piece, you know the one, where you’re both smiling at the camera. This is an opportunity for us to create something different. It’s much more of a collaboration, we have to work together, sure it’s my vision, but I need you raring to go to make it work.

Tell me what snacks you like

Vegan protein bites? Jaffa Cakes? Mars bars? Whatever it is, we’ll need fuel. Let me know in advance what will keep your blood sugars up and enthusiasm levels high and i’ll make sure we’re stocked up.

Travel light

Don’t bring shopping bags, backpacks or handbags. They’ll slow you down and you’ll be worried to leave them in a public place incase someone nicks them. You need your head in the game. Bring the bare minimum, phone, wallet keys. Fortunately in London all you really need is a payment card and your house keys as everything is so accessible. You can put them in my bag and then won’t have to worry about them.

We might get dirty

depending on where we choose to shoot, we might lean against walls, lay on the floor or even folly in the fields. Either way, you might get dirty. This will all come out in the planning process, so if you want a high fashion look and will be wearing a white dress, then we won’t plan to have the pre wedding shoot on a hiking trail. If however you want to shoot in a rapeseed field, then we’re going to get covered in yellow pollen. Sounds good to me.

What to wear?

To be honest, there isn’t an answer to this question. This depends hugely on what look you want to achieve from these images. If you want to look cocktail party chic or country walking cool then of course each location will require different clobber. All of these details will be revealed in the planning process. Who knows, you may want to hike up the mountain first and then get changed into super chic suits and dresses. I’m game! I’ll bring the brandy, you know, for warmth.

Hair and make up

Ask yourself what it is you want from this shoot. If it’s mad pictures that are all out crazy creative, then turn up as you are. We will be on the floor, potentially on grass, maybe jumping around, so it’ll be a waste of money. If however, you want glam and chic, then I recommend you have your hair and make up done on the morning of the shoot. Or as my favourite home girls say, ‘get your hair did’.

Why?

We may as well go all out. You have invested your time and money in this shoot, you definitely want these pictures, so let’s get the maximum from it.

Secondly, if you’re feeling a million bucks, then chances are it will flow through you, show itself in a happy face and bring joy and positivity. I’m more than happy to recommend hair and make up artists if you’re travelling from abroad and need contacts. Or even if you live in London or the UK and need a hook up, let me know.

Hey Liam, what if it rains that day?

We can either run around in the rain, or reschedule for when the days are looking a bit brighter. Such is the joy of a pre wedding shoot, we have flexibility.

Transport

If you want to schedule a shoot outside of London or somewhere that might cause accessibility issues, such as Snowden, the lake district, remote parts of Scotland etc. than do not fear, I can drive us. Email me with your thoughts and ideas and we’ll get plotting!

Locations in London

Some location suggestions for the best pre wedding photography in London (that aren’t super cliché and boring) include:

  • Barbican
  • Kew Garden
  • Hill gardens and pergola
  • Richmond park
  • Greenwich park
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