Pre-Wedding Portrait Time!
Congrats! You have decided to take the plunge. You and your partner have a bright future ahead of you. I am sure you have already started making plans for your big day. Everything is going according to plan and you are head-over-heels in love. But there is one more thing to add to your to-do-list that needs to happen well before your wedding day.
That's right. It's time to book a pre-wedding photo session. What better way to document this special time?
Sure, the idea of a photoshoot (on top of all the other wedding planning) can seem a tad bit daunting. But trust me, you won't regret the decision to have engagement photos made with a professional photographer. Still, some couples who book a pre-wedding session can experience some stress leading into their photo shoot. This needn't be the case.
A photoshoot with your partner is supposed to be a hot date, not a burden. With years of experience working with couples, I can offer five tips that will alleviate most of that unnecessary stress so that you can relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy your engagement photography session.
1) Know What You Want
Many couples who book a pre-wedding photo session don't really know how to express what they want. Remember, these are your engagement portraits and a professional photographer will want to create a product that you are going to love for years to come. It is very important that you identify what you want so that you can have the experience and product you have always dreamed of.
Sure, you want great images to share with friends and family. Sure, you want to be able to make an album with your engagement photos. These desires are understood. But what do you really want? What mood/s do you want to convey? How do you want to be seen? What kind of experience do you want to have during your shoot?
You and your partner should discuss what you truly want for both your portrait session experience and your final product. Once you have a clear vision, do you best to articulate those ideas to your chosen photographer. Better yet, create a visual mood board of images and share that mood board with your photographer so that they have a concrete idea of what your visual tastes are (pictures speak louder than words).
2) Chose a Portrait Location That Fits
Many couples think that a grandiose location will make for the best photographs. Sometimes "those" iconic locations do make for great images. But, more often than not, selecting famous and/or iconic locations for pre-wedding portraits isn't what it is cracked up to be.
On any given day, those "picture perfect" spots are usually filled with dozens of other couples who had the exact same idea. Trust me, the quickest way to ruin a pre-wedding photography session is to show up at a location crawling with hundreds (or thousands) of people.
Good locations don't have to be iconic. Good locations simply have to fit who you are as a couple. Do you like natural environments? Get out in the woods. Do you like gritty cities? Head into some alleyways.
Once you have decided on the type of location that suits you as a couple, communicate those thoughts to your photographer and ask for some location suggestions. Any professional photographer should be able to provide some location options that will both suit your tastes and make for some stunning images.
What if you have never heard of the places that your photographer suggests? Well, that could very well mean that your photographer has local knowledge. With luck, your photographer might be able to lead you to some under-the-radar spots that won't be clogged with countless couples all hoping to get the exact same engagement portrait.
3) Love the One You're With
Before I start shooting a pre-wedding session, I let my clients know exactly what makes a good image. A good image tells a story and conveys a feeling. It is up to you, the couple, to tell that story.
A pro photographer can take care of the lighting and the camera settings. They can help pose you in natural and comfortable ways. But, your photographer can't force you to show how much you love one another. It is up to you, the client, to interact with each other, to show each other in your short time together exactly how much you love each other.
Connection is key to good imagery. Whether is be a gaze, a giggle or a touch, your photos depend on you and the connection you have during your session. So, don't be bashful. Hold hands, embrace, steal a kiss here and there and leave the rest up to your photographer.
4) Pick the Right Attire
Every morning we make a decision about what to wear. Your pre-wedding portrait date is no different. It is understandable that you want to look amazing in your images. Yet, your attire is secondary to your connection with your partner (see Tip #3 above). With that being said, you can enhance your photos by selecting outfits that match your ideal product (see tip #1).
If you are a relaxed, casual couple, show that in your choice of attire. There is no rule that says your engagement photos have to be made in a tux and evening down. If you are shooting on the streets, men can get away with denim and a sports coat. Likewise, women can dress down as much as they want as well.
If you are a couple who is feeling a bit more sophisticated, go ahead and put on that suit and formal dress. Just make sure that the location you have selected doesn't stand in direct opposition to your chosen attire (unless that is the image you envision).
The key here is to make sure that you feel comfortable in your outfit choice and that the attire you wear really reflects who you are. The choice is yours. But, by all means, don't sweat the small stuff. Pick outfits that you are drawn to and just go with it!
5) Relax and Enjoy
I get it... Many couples get nervous in front of the camera. But again, a pre-wedding session is just a grand date (with a third wheel tagging along). Having your portrait made doesn't come easily to everyone.
Despite this, couples should realize that a portrait session isn't just about creating stunning images. Your engagement session, at the very least, is about creating another lasting memory together. Just like sky diving or taking a trip, having a pre-wedding photo session is just another way to add to your story as a couple. Relax. Have fun and leave the rest up to your professional photographer.
Are you searching for a pre-wedding photographer in Tokyo, throughout Japan, or beyond? If so, reach out today to see how I can help. I am available world-wide for pre-wedding and engagement sessions and book up to a year in advance.
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Who Is Andrew Faulk?
Tokyo photographer Andrew Faulk specializes in commercial, editorial, event, and portrait photography assignments. With over a decade of experience living and working in Asia, he collaborates with individuals, families, publications, and corporations to create timeless images under any deadline. Andrew's work is frequently featured in a variety of international travel and lifestyle publications. He is a husband, father, and lover of fried food.