The Photographer's Guide to a Great Prenuptial Shoot
Although the process hasn’t been common until around a decade ago, the prenuptial shoot has become a new set tradition for engaged couples. The photographs taken in prenuptial shoots showcase the couple's love and are commonly used in wedding decorations, invitations, and other things related to the big day. For the photographer, it is also an opportunity to get to know the couple’s chemistry and basically build his photos around it.
Don’t even try to execute when you’re planning to use amateur equipment (slow lenses, point-and-shoot, etc). It is also important that you don’t come with too much equipment that will slow you down. This is especially true when you’re a one man photo team. Chances are, this will be their first time seeing how you work so it is essential that you come prepared.
Prenuptial photography isn't done in a studio. You have to know a few good places where you can shoot. It is important that these locations offer enough light and that there is a diversity in the space that will allow a variety of shots.
You should also be careful about places that require permits. You don’t want that pesky security guards chasing you and the couple around. Many couples will not know where they would like to have their shoot, and most likely, they will ask for your suggestions. Choose locations that have character, textures, dramatic lighting, and most importantly, security. You’re carrying expensive pieces of equipment while servicing a client. It is in utmost importance that you are shooting in a safe place.
After providing additional samples of your work and informing them of what they can actually get from the shoot, talk to them and find out about their story. Listen to their story with awareness and take notes on details so that you can start brainstorming on the perfect location.
Always have a contract. No exceptions. You are offering professional service and the contract makes all the information clear on what to expect from each other. This is essential since money is being exchanged for your photography services. Also, collect an initial payment at the time of the contract signing. You’re devoting time and resources to this client. If they do not hold their end of the deal, then you will lose time and money.
Even if the location is somewhere that you really know, go back and visit the area at the time your shoot is scheduled. Take note of details such as the light and weather and check if it’s crowded or accessible. Take snap photos of spots you think has the potential. Take good exposures for further reference.
Some locations are free for public use, but some are actually private property. Weeks before the actual shoot, make sure that you have the correct permissions and permits to execute the shoot. Any fees should be paid by the client.
Couples lean toward the habit of doing the same things and it can be hazardous to your session. If you have tons of photos of your couple doing similar things, it will get boring very fast. If this becomes the case for a particular client, interfere and motivate them to try something else. Walk around the location, encourage different wardrobes and moods to arrive at the variety that you need to deliver.
Although the session could really be fun, do not forget the clock. The reason for the existence of the contract is to remind you the details such as the set time frame. Take a quick peek at your watch and hint out that you’ve gone over the set time. Take a few more photos and end the session.
Your job doesn't end with the shoot. Make sure that you’ve properly organized and archived the photos to your studio. The contract should have stated a deadline so try to work as fast as you could without compromising the quality of the output. Make sure you have ample time to tend to each image that you will be working on. Time and project management is crucial since it is the part that takes the longest.
The presentation of your photos is almost as important as the photographs themselves. It shows professionalism and your attentiveness to detail. It also adds value to your client’s investment and, at the same time, builds your credibility.
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