By Bash Fahad Mutumba
You have finally cleared all the expenses for your big day and all you are left to do is walk down the isle in your beautiful gown in a couple of weeks. You think to yourself, “The anxiety that comes with wedding preparations is finally done”, when suddenly you remember a photoshoot your bestie had before her wedding — which was different from her engagement shoot — and your heart starts racing. This is to guide you on how to go about an often ignored, but very rewarding wedding aspect: the pre-wedding photoshoot.
Save a date for the shoot
This might sound confusing, because one might wonder why they should set a date for a photoshoot they have no idea about. However, you as the bride are in control of most of the tiniest details about your wedding, and if you do not push for something, chances are that your groom might not do it either. To be more specific, he might not have heard about a pre-wedding shoot before, and your concern would be the only thing to get him to notice how important it is. Photoshoots, especially those done on location, take a lot of time and effort to execute, and you need to reserve a whole day to make sure everything goes seamlessly.
Choose a concept
This is usually the trickiest part for most people at the start, but do not be intimidated by the thought of it. True, photographers always have hundreds of ideas, and they can always suggest something which works, but it is possible that you will not like any of their ideas, or they might leave out an idea that would suit you and your spouse-to-be the best. Moreover, the same sources where they get the ideas are available to you for free! A quick Google search about “Nice pre-wedding shoot ideas” will go a long way, or better still, a search on Pinterest will open a plethora of ideas you had never imagined. On the easy to use smartphone app, you will find millions of concepts to try, and the app itself will suggest more depending on your search. That will be a good starting point for the conversation with your photographer.
Contact a photographer
After you have found a number of concepts you like, share them with your photographer and explain your vision to him. You can ask for his input about how the ideas can be made better, and how to execute them in the most cost-effective way possible. If it proves difficult for you to find a photographer or if you have reservations about finding one, you might want to check out our earlier article about how to get the best from your wedding photographer. Samie Luswata of Samiez Weddings says, the majority of his wedding clients are people who were having normal photoshoots with him over the years. After getting the photographer, he will as well advise about other important things like the best location to pull the pre-wedding shoot off.
Put aside funds for the photoshoot
Photoshoots are very expensive. It might sound like an exaggeration to someone who has not done them before, but to get something amazing, a significant amount of money has to be spent. The photographer’s charge, outfits to be used, makeup, transport and the location itself will need paying for. For his pre-wedding shoot, Edward Watson Nsubuga ended up spending shs. 700,000 on just the location; which he hadn’t expected to go beyond shs. 300,000 at the most. Pre-wedding shoots are normally supposed to look scenic, so doing them in studio is usually not a viable option. Fatiah Nanteza, a makeup artist in Kampala, charges shs. 100,000 to do makeup and touch-ups on location, which service you will need since it will definitely be a full day of shooting, and your face beat will constantly need some fixing. Added to the photographer’s charge of between shs. 200,000 – 800,000 depending on the one you got, the entire shoot might cost an upwards of a million shillings. However, most wedding photographers have specific packages that include pre-wedding photoshoots already, so you should ask yours about it.
Prepare mentally and physically for the day
“I did not know photoshoots were this tiring.” Said Daphine on her pre-wedding shoot. Many people end up like her, because realistically it just looks like posing and turning, but it is a lot more than that. Traveling miles to the location, sitting through an hour of makeup, and shooting in the sun close to two hours or even more depending on the number of outfits and concepts you have; surely takes a toll on you. It is very important not to put any key appointments on the shoot day, because chances are you will either not make it at all, or you will be very fatigued by the time you reach the appointment.
Share the photos with your friends and family
The pre-wedding shoot is a nice way to increase the anticipation for your big day within your friends and family, and images of you and your fiancé in a very romantic setting are an unbeatable sight. Go ahead and share them on your social media too, and inspire another couple out there to have a wedding of their own. Love is a beautiful thing.
Spice it up
In case your husband-to-be is the type who does not enjoy spending a whole day at a photoshoot, or is too busy to go for one, you still have an option. You can organize your own photoshoot and print a photobook or album out of it, which you can then gift him on the wedding morning, and let the camera team capture his reaction on opening the first page. If you are a young and daring couple, you can make this photoshoot a more sensual one, and make the pictures be of you in a wedding boudoir outfit. “I got the private album idea from my friend in the United States.” Zahara says, “I did not go ahead with it because of how conservative our society is, but when I later told my husband about it, he said he wished I had done the shoot in the first place.”
Ultimately, a pre-wedding photoshoot is more than just about a soon-to-be-married couple holding hands in matching outfits. It is a lot about the memories made for posterity.