One Snap Ahead

Pre-wedding photography is garnering interest in the west, but why is it that many people still don’t know it exists? Jacinta Walsh speaks with Martinia O’Sullivan of Life, Love & Light Images about the new trend.

There are many aspects for engaged couples to consider when planning their wedding, and finding a good photographer is often at the top of the priority list. It takes the right person to be able to capture and translate the fleeting atmosphere of your special day into images that will last a lifetime. However, it’s not just who is behind the lens that’s important, but also what’s in front of it. Conducting a prewedding photo shoot is a great way to not only become acquainted with your photographer, but with the camera itself.

It’s natural to be camera shy. Spending a lot of time in front of a lens may seem foreign to those who work anywhere other than the modelling industry. A pre-wedding photo shoot is a great way to loosen up in front of the camera and embrace having your photo taken. Organic photos always appear the most genuine, so on your wedding day, you should be able to enjoy yourself without being conscious of the constant clicking.

A Professional Touch

With its beginnings in Asian culture, pre-wedding photo shoots have cemented themselves as a modern tradition. In China, couples will go to great creative and monetary lengths to assemble a collection of unique photographs to feature on their wedding day.

Pre-wedding photo shoots typically take place in the lead up to the wedding. Sessions occur in a controlled environment and flow at a natural pace, which allows for a more creative partnership to blossom. “It gives the couple a chance to get comfortable in front of the camera and with their photographer,” says O’Sullivan. It also offers an opportunity for the photographer to ascertain the couple’s dynamics and boundaries, before spending the wedding day together documenting the occasion.

She finds that this is the best way to take gorgeous photos of the couple just enjoying each other’s company. O’Sullivan likes to keep things relaxed during her pre-wedding photo shoots. “We spend an hour or so walking, talking and having a great time while I capture the couple just being together, with a few kisses and cuddles thrown in when the spirit moves them!” she says.

The images taken during a pre-wedding photo shoot will inform both parties as to which styles and aesthetics work, as well as those that don’t. It will also provide you with a range of images that can be featured on your wedding day or in the lead up to it. “Couples will have a selection of images that they can use for save-the-date cards, invitations, guest books or slideshows on the wedding day,” says O’Sullivan. “It’s a chance to feature beautiful photos instead of selfies that have been taken by the couple.”

For couples looking for a more professional aesthetic on their wedding day, pre-wedding photographs are the answer. Pre-existing photos add personal flair, but may lack in quality, whereas pre-wedding photography caters to both.

Planning Ahead

Similar to organising a wedding, it’s important to conduct research before your photo shoot. Spend time researching the aesthetic appeal of different locations and themes, and plan your attire accordingly. “If there is no theme, I suggest smart casual, yet comfortable,” she says. “I have the couple wear something that will make them feel good. If you feel good, it shows in your smile.”

Once you’ve decided on a theme, it’s time to start looking for a photographer who will be able to deliver this look. The easiest way to do this is by going through photographers’ portfolios online. “Now is the chance to grab the photographer that you have been following for months, or perhaps years, on Facebook or Instagram,” says O’Sullivan. “That’s what it’s all about – finding a fabulous professional photographer whose work you have fallen in love with.”

The day of the week on which your shoot takes place is also important; it’s better to book on a weekday, as a photographer’s prices will be at a premium on the weekend. It may also be easier to access some locations between Monday and Friday. Wedding photographers are busy people, so thinking ahead is important. “Similar to wedding venues, Gold Coast wedding photographers can book out 18 months in advance, so do not wait!” says O’Sullivan.

A Collaborative Experience

The great thing about pre-wedding photo shoots is having the option to shoot at a number of locations that may not be accessible to you on your wedding day. Popular locations on the Gold Coast include Mount Tamborine, the Botanical Gardens, Miami Beach, Burleigh Headland, Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Valley. “There is no shortage of amazing spots,” says O’Sullivan, who is happy to make suggestions to her clients. Most Life, Love & Light Image sessions last around one hour, unless they’ve been pre-organised to include several locations, which can last up to two hours.

The laid-back, yet professional atmosphere that O’Sullivan creates sets Life, Love & Light Images apart from other companies. Couples have fallen in love with the intimate, creative and relaxed environment she establishes, which manifests in her beautiful photographs. The company also offers an opportunity for couples to get together with their photographer before the wedding to view the images taken during the pre-wedding photo shoot. “The couple can expect edited and enhanced images, and will have the opportunity to select their favourites,” says O’Sullivan.

Just like a marriage, communication is the key to success. By ensuring that everyone is comfortable, you can expect to get the very best out of the photo shoot. Photographers are there to help you make creative decisions and guide you through the process. They want to know your expectations, so don’t be afraid to make your opinion heard – it is your pre-wedding day, after all!

Image Credit: Life, Love & Light Images