Pre-Wedding Photography : Preparations and Tips

Pre-wedding photography is one of the genre that is picking up very fast in India post social media revolution. People are becoming more concerned about preserving their great pre-wedding memories and sometimes using them as a teaser for the big day.

It’s different from wedding photography

Though pre-wedding photography sounds pretty similar to wedding photography, in reality these two are quite different from each other. In my earlier post Indian Wedding Photography, I mentioned the challenges faced by wedding photographers and some tips to overcome those challenges. I mentioned there that in wedding you do not get a retake chance and that’s what makes wedding photography challenging. Pre-wedding photography on the other hand is slightly different. Here you get retake chances (wait, it’s not gonna make your life easier!) but it leaves you with another challenge;  end to end planing and execution by your own.  You got to do a lot of homework to conceptualize the shoot and at the same time you also need to do in-depth detailing of everything such as selecting the color combinations of the outfits for couples or selecting props for the shoot etc. Unlike wedding nothing is given in pre-wedding shoot. Everything has to be created from scratch.

I find wedding and pre-wedding shoots comparable with event shoot and fashion shoot respectively. In wedding or event photography you need to ensure that you capture all key moments whereas in pre-wedding or fashion shoot you create the right moments yourself . I find latter more challenging and creative.

Pre-wedding shoot of a couple

Walking together

Preparations for Pre-wedding Photo Shoot

As I mentioned above that pre-wedding photography needs a lot of prior preparations. To make life little easier for you I would like to list down few preparations that can help in creating awesomely beautiful photos.

  1. Conceptualization – Before going for a pre-wedding shoot you should definitely know what are you going to click. You could select a concept and plan your photographs around it. By selecting a concept you bind all individual photographs together and this makes your work more mature. Visualize all your photographs that you want to click and make a sketch of photos (or think of a more tech savvy way!) with important details. Often detailing is the difference between a good photo and a great photo.
  2. Selecting a color theme and costumes – Once you visualize your photographs the next thing you got to do is selecting a color theme and choosing  costumes for the couple in sync with the theme. There are some good websites that can help you in selecting good color themes which would go very well with your concept and location. Selecting a color theme also helps you in knowing the kind of post processing that would be required after the shoot.
  3. Location  – Select and visit the location once before the shoot so that you are better prepared on the day.
  4. Props – In pre-wedding shoot good photographers often choose props around which they plan their photographs. Engagement ring, flowers, balloons, a luxury car or any other wisely chosen creative prop would help you in creating really romantic couple photographs.
  5. Poses – Poses is another area which can give headaches to newbies. I am sure after few shoots you would be able to think various poses impromptu. Till then little googling can give you good websites with thousands of poses.

I classify the above all preparation as non technical preparation. There are few technical tips that will help you in taking great pre-wedding photos.

  1. Use a wide aperture lens: Simply putting wide aperture lens is a lens which will give you shallow depth of field. I know I am reiterating this but believe me it’s worth it. Wide aperture lens is particular helpful in such shoots. The shallow depth of field and bokeh created by this lens are essential ingredients of great pre-wedding photographs.  A 50 mm or 135 mm prime lens is what you need on couple shoots.
  2. Try wide-angle lens : While wide aperture lens is an order qualifier, a wide-angle lens (focal length less than 18 mm) used properly could be a great differentiating factor. Try some wide-angle photographs with subjects near the camera. Your photos will look different from others and will make you popular among your friends!
  3. Try some silhouettes: Another clichéd shot which works beautifully for couple shots is silhouette. Ask couples to stand and pose in line with  sun and camera so that they are back-lid. Put your camera on shutter priority mode and click photos at very high shutter speed so that you see only outline of subjects.

There is lot more left to write on this topic which I’ll try to cover in my upcoming posts. Till then happy clicking!