Image Credit: Kevin McGinn Photographer

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 Nick Ghionis of XSiGHT Photography & Video to explore the new trend.

Image Credit: XSiGHT Photography & Video

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. Although candid images taken throughout the day are precious, the structured photos taken in between the ceremony and reception can feel rushed among the stress of such a time-sensitive occasion.

With many couples opting for a single wedding venue, the traditional wedding timeline has shifted towards having shorter breaks between the ceremony and reception. This is where pre-wedding photography has its advantages. As the name suggests, images can be taken prior to the wedding day, thereby eliminating the unwanted stress and time pressure that the frenetic pace of taking images before moving between venues often creates.

From East To West

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 photos have been the domain of Asian cultures for quite some time now, but it’s interesting to see that western cultures are beginning to take note,” says Ghionis.

Sessions occur in a controlled environment and flow at a natural pace, which allows for a more creative partnership to blossom. It also offers an opportunity for partners to get to know their photographer, and for the photographer to ascertain the couple’s dynamics and boundaries, before spending the wedding day together documenting the occasion.

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. “Our packages include a boutique album and an online gallery showcasing your stunning

images, as well as a beautifully presented box containing a USB of all JPEG files,” says Ghionis.

XSiGHT Photography & Video offers a range of packages, from half-day sessions to two full days of shooting, to allow ample time to obtain some impressive shots. There is also the option to hire bridal wear if you’re looking to keep your outfit under wraps until the big day!

Under The Milky Way

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 in Victoria include Flinders and Collins Streets in Melbourne’s CBD, coastal hotspot the Great Ocean Road, and the beautiful Yarra Valley wine region. Interstate options also include Sydney Harbour, the Blue Mountains and Northern Territory’s Uluru.

XSiGHT Photography & Video is thrilled to work in partnership with George Fragopoulos of George F Photography and Uluru Wedding Photography. The Northern Territory-based companies have sole access to some of the state’s most iconic landmarks, including Kakadu National Park and Uluru, which are listed as dual world heritage sites. A special permit allows the team to photograph within prescribed realms, as high priority is given to cultural sensitivity. Uluru Wedding Photography also offers an amazing package that gives couples the chance to be photographed at night under the light of the breathtaking Milky Way.

Top Tips

Similar to organising a wedding, Ghionis stresses the importance of conducting research before your photo shoot. Spend time researching the aesthetic appeal of different locations or themes, as well. 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. “There are a lot of pre-wedding photographers that go to the same locations in a production-line manner, so we

would recommend working with someone who can create photos and suggest locations that make your photos truly unique,” says Ghionis.

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.

While the pressure of the real wedding isn’t there, many things still need to be taken into account when planning a pre-wedding photo shoot, such as the organisation of production services. “Coordinate with hair stylists and makeup artists; in some cases, they will be with you until the very end,” Ghionis says. “If you decide to have different clothing for different locations, choose where this change will take place – a hotel, public bathroom, car or van will work,” he adds. “If you use Uluru Wedding Photography, we include mini bus hire to allow for our crew, including hair and makeup, lighting and – of course – the couple, to be driven from location to location.”

How much time you spend with your photographer is dependent on the package that you select. While a half-day photo shoot may be more than enough time for some, others may require up to several days. Ghionis also recommends considering the time of day you would like your photos taken. “Will the photos be taken at sunrise, sunset or both? If at night, you may require additional clothing, which is the case for many Uluru shoots,” he says.

Just like a marriage, communication is the key to success. This means not only communicating with your photographer, lighting, hair and makeup crew, but also with your partner. “Communication is paramount; do not assume anything,” says Ghionis. If you ensure that everyone is comfortable and on the same page, you can expect to get the very best out of the event. 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!