Most of the wedding photographers, being more interested in making some quick money, would obviously promote the growing trend of pre-wedding shoots. I don’t think if they would ever question why people go for pre-wedding shoots till the time they have to get it done for themselves or someone in their family. So, why do people spend so much for a pre-wedding shoot? Isn’t it an unnecessary expense? Does it add any value, as a matter of fact?
A photographer may argue, yes, it does, by creating some good memories. So, my next question to them is, when do you know some “memories” have been created? Is it just by spending few hours in a garden/park or striking a forced pose before a monument/fort/palace? I really don’t get this. To me, good memories are created when you spend some quality time with each other; when you go for a trip together; when you engage in your favourite sport or fun activities; when you both are your natural self; when you don’t have the pressure to look visually appealing to the camera or pretend to be cool. And this is where my concept of pre-wedding shoot begins.
As usual, for the purpose of writing this post, I will assume that I am getting married next month and I need to decide whether or not go for a pre-wedding shoot. And if at all, I decide to go for such shoot, how would I want my pre-wedding shoot to be?
Utility: I would want the wedding dates to be known and publicized to all my relatives and friends much before the formal invitation reaches them. An informal intimation on social media quite well in advance may help them book their tickets at a cheaper rate (in case of flight) or get confirmed reservations (in case of train). Yes, the same result can be achieved just by a message or email also. However, this looks like a more trendy and cool way to do that, especially when the others can also see whom I am getting married to.
Memories: I will never go for a pre-wedding shoot just because almost everyone is doing it and it has become a popular trend. I would go for such a shoot only when the photographer is keen on knowing our story; how we met for the first time; our likes and dislike; hobbies and interests, etc. This may help the photographer know us better and become more like a friend, than just a photographer. I would ideally expect him to set up at least one meeting with us to know about our requirements, preferences, and most importantly our comfort level (both with each other and also with the camera) and adjust his photography style accordingly. This is to ensure that I get some thoughtful images which have got some correlation with our lives, story, or past events, instead of few clichéd pictures.
On the day of the shoot, I would expect him to spend ample time with us so that he can capture natural candid moments, especially when we are not aware. The idea here is to capture the chemistry between us and not just the cover page of the chemistry book. This will come, only when we are comfortable around the photographer and think of him more as a friend than merely a service provider.
Fun: Pre-wedding shoots are complete fun if you can club it with an outstation trip to some interesting places or a fun activity. Such a place need not necessarily be mountains, monuments, waterfalls, or beaches. It can just be a village fair (mela), flower market, amusement park, a Dhaba along the highway, and the like. After all, a good photographer’s job is to create magic out of the simple, ordinary, underrated pleasures of life. Therefore, I would prefer my pre-wedding shoot to be more of a fun trip; a trip that we will always remember and preserve as our finest memories of that time.
Comfort: Wedding is not the time when you can turn up in your favourite pair of denim or some other cool outfit. A pre-wedding shoot gives us the freedom to wear what we want and be in our most comfortable and stylish outfit. Here, we do not need to wear heavy make-ups or styling done. This makes us look our usual self without much pomp and show. Similarly, wedding is not the time when you can get so cozy with each other, especially before so many elderly figures, relatives and friends. Pre-wedding shoot is the time when we can have more physical proximity and strike more natural, unrestrained, and fun-filled acts and gestures. Further, this will also help us become more comfortable around each other at the time of our wedding.
Test Run: I would ideally prefer to put my wedding photographer on a test run before my actual wedding day through a pre-wedding shoot. His portfolio of past work may be great but he has never clicked both of us together and we have not seen it for real. Basically, I will prefer to not risk my wedding day photographs on a person whose work I have not seen for real. Appearances may be deceptive; you never know.