This often seen as something simple as picking a location and just taking the pictures, and everyone goes home. Since you, as a photographer, will be dealing with people who don’t need to be told or cajoled into behaving, unlike having a child at a birthday shoot, even when the parents are there to hold or direct the child, one would think it is no hassle.
Yet a pre-wedding shoot comes with its own challenges; especially when couples are often likely to have a preconceived idea of how their pre-wedding pictures should look like, and already picked a place, and you are challenged to give life to their vision, even if it appears to be unrealistic or absurd. You can not fail to achieve this or to even surprise them. There will be couples that will choose locations that are significant to memories of either or both of them, like the scene of their first or second or hundredth date. Or scenes from their childhood. Not to say some couples won’t defer to your expertise in choosing a spot for the shoot. All in all, you have to keep a professional outlook in the face of things.
Therefore, it should come as a no shock to you if the location they choose is far and you have to arrange a transport mode, to carry you, your personnel and equipment. In this case, you have a added factor of transport and time against you.
Or let’s say you have planned for a location yourself, or at their behest and suddenly either or both of them decides otherwise. Or something starts between them that you have to avoid being drawn into, while also maintaining your professionalism. Or they could have assured you of the appropriateness of a location but you get there and find it unsuitable for the picture.
Their choice of location can be a favourite eatery of theirs. It can be at a landmark, a hill or a river, at a bridge, and you already could visualise arrangements but on getting there you can find yourself dealing with new issues or someone reneging on an earlier agreement. It’s not surprising a staff member of a place might come out and challenge your usage of their premises. You can imagine the possible trouble or embarrassing situation that might ensue.
In addition are a few questions to ask and things to know:
- Will your equipment be safe and will it be easy to carry them around?
- Who will be providing the make-up artiste? If they will be needing one. And if they already prearranged this, how do you work with the person? Will you both be able to reach an agreement on things, like a time that works for everyone, or the quality of work and professionalism expected from one another?
- Is permission needed to secure a location? Do not make the mistake of just asking anyone. Go to the top, most times the manager. (On a side note, if it’s a popular location, like a eatery, and they ask for something in return, you can tell them you are basically doing free publicity for them.)
- Will it be needed for you or them to bring along props to the shoot? Like a bouquet of flowers? or fake guns? You never know, people sometimes have strange ideas.
- What are the couple expectations or visions? Do they have a planned routine or stand for their shoot? Will they actually be comfortable at the location? ( Sometimes on a public shoot, while it looks good, couples often get self-conscious out there and things can become awkward and artificial. Especially when in the view of the lens’s of a camera and are aware this could be attracting looks from others).
- And lastly, is the safety of everyone guaranteed?
When it comes to a location, the often simplest thing to do is to visit the location before hand. What will it take to achieve a considerable satisfactory work? You have to know.