I was recently talking to a non-photographer friend of mine, and mentioned that I had been doing some pre-wedding shoots.  They looked at me strangely & asked “what’s that?”.   Do you mean engagement photos?   It was one of those moments when I realised that not everyone lives and breathes weddings like I do, and many people don’t really understand all the options available to a couple now.     So what is the difference between an engagement shoot and a pre-wedding shoot?

Well the short answer is that a pre-wedding shoot is usually longer than the traditional engagement session and it usually involves a lot more planning, styling, locations and dresses.   Sometimes more suits, but usually just more dresses.   The traditional engagement portrait involves a short portrait session (around 1 hour long), and normally just one location.   It is a great way for a couple to become comfortable in front of the camera.     A pre-wedding shoot, can take 3 hours to a whole day.   On a pre-wedding shoot, I will take the couple to a wide variety of locations and photograph them with many different looks (so lots of dresses).    Doing a pre-wedding shoot is awesome fun.    I love it.  It is a great way to get to know the couple really well, and for them to become comfortable with me taking their photo.   It is also a great way for them to get to spend a fun day together celebrating this big change in their lives, without all the pressures of the wedding day.   Usually the photos are turned into a slideshow played on the wedding day or put on display at the wedding, and the couple get some gorgeous images to remember how they naturally are at this point in their lives.   They can play with styling, props and themes, or they can just use the day to visit and record places special to them.   A lot of couples like to visit beaches, or cafes or restaurants that played a specical part in their story, like their first date, or where she said “I love you”, or where he proposed.  I also love it when we extend the shoot to include one of the pre-wedding celebrations like the rehearsal dinner, because I get to meet family and friends too.   When this happens I always find that I get even better images at the wedding.  I know who is who before the day, but I have also learned a little more about them and can anticipate those touching moments even more easily.     I just know that it is a privilege to get to photograph couples and their families not just at their wedding, but when they are relaxed and simply being themselves.

Here are some of the pre-wedding portraits I photographed for a fantastic couple recently, taken in and around  Alila Villas Soori in Bali.  Hope you love them.

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