Wedding day portraits: Your shortcut to success (and the bar)

June 14, 2019
Scott and Harriet's pre-wedding shoot at Rushton Hall

How a pre-wedding shoot can save you time on your wedding day

Let’s be honest: Who do you want to see more of on your wedding day – Me … or your friends and family?

Hmm. Hard choice.

… Not. (Don’t worry – there’s no offence taken.)

Because even though my husband and furbabies think I’m pretty cute, I believe your wedding should be less about me and more about you, your loved ones and all the fun.

After all, weddings are for celebrating and making memories, not posing all day.

Although, if you’re like many of my couples, you do still want a few nice portraits of the two of you (as well as the natural ones I’ll capture without you having to worry about posing).

And knowing your discerning and great taste, you’ll want your portraits to be stylish, beautiful and flattering.

… But you also think it’s important that they’re done quickly so you can get back to the party asap.

Hmmm. Hang on. That’s a bit of a contradiction.

Because whilst lots of things go towards making gorgeous couple shots (like light, location and love) there’s one thing that influences how good they are more than anything else:

Time.

Why time is your number one beautiful couple portraits purveyor

I’ve spent years honing my skills so I can create stunning wedding day portraits in the minimum amount of time.

… But it does still take time.

Something which is at a premium on a wedding day.

When I create photos of you, I’ll spend much of our session weighing up three things:

  • What suits you physically?

Which poses and angles work well for you, individually and as a pair? What are your best features? Can you take a side profile? How does your height difference change the look of a pose? Which lighting techniques are most complementary for you?

For most of us, these are the things that come to mind first when we look at photos of ourselves. How do I look? Is it flattering? Does it disguise my [insert the bit you don’t like about yourself]?

But there’s something else too, which has a subtle but profound effect on the end result of your photos …

  • What suits you emotionally?

Some couples have playful personalities and will naturally skip along or tease each other. Some are extroverted, flamboyant and full of jokes. Others are quietly confident with a calm and considered demeanour. Some couples are happy to show their emotions freely. Others are more reserved and need to feel really comfortable before they’ll openly show affection.

There’s a big sliding scale of traits and temperaments which means one photography size doesn’t fit all.  

  • What suits you empathetically?

I’m very used to being told, “I hate having my picture taken”! Most couples are nervous about being photographed and I’m used to helping them feel at ease and find their camera confidence. Just call me the photo shoot whisperer!

But nerves show in different ways for different people and present different challenges for photographers. Some people go very quiet, develop stiff robot-esque limbs or suddenly forget their left from their right. Others burst out laughing, blink more frequently or unknowingly keep smoothing their hair. And that’s just for starters!

Sometimes having your photo taken is deep rooted fear. So simply telling you to relax and let it happen won’t work.

The only thing that breaks those nerves down is having your picture taken. Over and over.

The more you do it, the easier it gets. You just need time in front of the camera to get over the initial awkwardness before you can warm up and get into the swing of things. Eventually, you’ll actually start enjoying the experience, and look happy and relaxed in your photos.

A pre-wedding portrait shoot outside the orangery at Rushton Hall in Northants

These three elements are VITAL for getting great portraits.

Not to mention I still need to add in the photographic factors like camera settings, lighting, background and composition.

Creating gorgeous photos is a gradual process and we can’t bypass any of it if you want the absolute best photos possible.

But, wait, this is about the time limitations of your wedding day … and I’m talking about all of the different ways I need to slow down and take my time when I’m creating your portraits.

Hmm.

I’ll be honest: Trying to get to that magical portrait creation zone within the constraints of a wedding day schedule is tough.

Sometimes there’s as little as ten-minutes allocated for the portrait session.

Ten. Minutes.

Gasp.

So take everything I need to consider above, run it through a time machine blender, condense it into ten minutes and you’ll begin to feel how fast-paced our portraits need to be.

Which … okay, isn’t great. Since time machine blenders don’t exist.

So compromises often have to be made and that either means fewer photos or fewer photos you actually like.

So, how can you get great portraits … and do it quickly?

What if there was a way to bypass all that trial and error on your wedding day, zoom through your portrait session and dance back to the party before anyone realises you’ve gone … and still get stunning photos?

(Without investing in a time machine blender.)

It’d be a no-brainer, right?

Wellll, I know just how you achieve this time-saving, confident portrait-producing magic!

Easy: Invest in an SVP pre-wedding shoot!

“Ah, more money, Sarah?”

I get it. I really do. But a pre-wedding shoot is actually an investment in your wedding photos (and photo confidence!).

Here’s how.

Two reasons a pre-wedding shoot is a beautiful wedding photography must-have

1. A pre-wedding shoot is like a research, practice and portrait success session in one.

Remember how I said there are three things I’ll be thinking about when I’m capturing your portraits?

Well, in a pre-wedding shoot, I’ll have the luxury of time and be able to begin researching and exploring those elements then (instead of on your wedding day).

On a pre-wedding shoot I create a variety of looks, from classic shots where you’re grinning at the camera like you’re having the best time of your life (because you are!), to relaxed romantic pictures that will win you top spot for #couplegoals on Instagram, to editorial fashion images that would look right at home in Tatler. Plus everything in between!

Because sometimes it’s not until you see yourself in a photo that you know what you like best. Like a wedding dress, you need to try a pose on to see how it looks. This is our no-pressure chance to try things out without any risk.

Afterwards, I’ll ask for your feedback on the photos. You’ll tell me what you like and what you don’t. My shoulders are broad; you can be totally honest.

Armed with your comments, come your wedding day, I’ll be able to concentrate on taking a few quality photos that I know you’ll love rather than spending precious time creating unnecessary variety.

2. A pre-wedding shoot allows you to get into the swing of things quickly on your wedding day.

On a pre-wedding shoot, you’ll learn how to stand, what to do with your hands, where to look and how much to smile. That will make it quicker and easier for you (and me!) on the day because I won’t need to give you as much guidance.

A practice shoot will also banish any inhibitions you’ve got about being photographed. After seeing how amazing, and in love, you look in your photos, you’ll feel more comfortable around me and my camera on your wedding day. That means I won’t need to spend as much time helping you to relax and let your guard down.

And instead of feeling nervous and not knowing what to do, you’ll proudly wear your heart on your sleeve and instinctively work the camera.

So by the time it comes to your wedding day photos, you’ll know:

  • Your time will be well spent.
  • There will be no more posed photos than required.
  • You’ll see less of me, and more of your loved ones.
  • And I’ll have more time to capture all the love, fun and atmosphere of your day for future generations to admire and wish they had half your beauty and camera confidence.

You can’t rush greatness. But you can speed it up with a pre-wedding shoot.

Ready to explore booking in one of your own?

Find out more about my pre-wedding shoot service and request my brochure here.

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