Pre wedding shoots ~ How to make them work and pay

Jul 3, 2011 | News | 8 comments


Here are thirty pictures that I shot whilst giving one of my shooting couples workshops last month. Way back in 1999 Julie and I started to shoot every one of our wedding couples before their wedding. The general term used at that time for this kind of shoot was an engagement shoot but we preferred to use the phrase pre-wedding shoot. Somehow linking the shoot to the wedding gave it more gravitas and implied it was not a try before you buy type shoot. Our biggest obstacle to overcome in the early days was to get clients to buy pictures from the shoot in sufficient quantity to make the whole process worthwhile. We have that bit sorted now through the use of inteligent communication and having the right products delivered with a fabulous customer experience.

2. This was the first time I'd met Andrew and Rebecca so the process of creating this set of pictures was very authentic indeed.

Over the years we have refined the shoot process and the products we offer our pre wedding clients.  The shots in this set are what I call the client album selection. These would have been chosen from about 60 pictures to make up a typical Lovegrove pre wedding shoot album. We never show more than twice the number of pictures than the couple will buy as this keeps the process positive. If they chose only one in three pictures it looks bad and feels bad. I want them to love all the pictures so Julie culls hard. The shoot happens late morning, the couple have lunch then come to the studio for a same day viewing. They are back on the motorway by 4pm having chosen the shots for their album.

There is a balance of subject in each set that we show and sell. Here are five pictures of the groom to be, five of the Bride to be and twenty of the two of them together. That ratio feels right and makes a great album. We nearly always show our clients all colour shots. I’ve chosen to show monochrome because that is how I feel right now.


4. With a profile this gorgeous it is important to capture it. Maximise each persons attributes well.



All these frames could have been shot in about an hour under cover on the streets of Bristol. It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing, this shoot avoids open areas. If the sun is out I’ll use that to add to the variety of images but it isn’t an issue if it is raining hard. In fact, it helps the sale and the confidence of the couple. If I can get great shots of them in the rain at the pre wedding shoot they are less worried about the prospect of having a wet wedding.

























I have just one more shooting couples workshop this season and it is on 26th July. At the time of writing there are 4 places left out of 5. This workshop will show you how I pose couples, creat the moments and deal with the light. Every delegate will get the chance to shoot every set up and I don’t move on untill we have all got our pictures. The experience requirement level for delegates is set low because this shoot requires very little technical skill. It is all about the relationship chemistry, posing and creating moments to capture. Once we have done the morning shoot we take lunch at the Lovegrove studio where Julie will cull my pictures in her ruthless ‘firm but fair’ way. Marko will then take over to knock the pictures into shape ready for viewing. This really is a start to finish workshop. Deligates will have enough pictures from the session to create sample products for themselves. More details can be found here.


  1. Walex bello

    Its lovely. Good creativity

    • damien

      Thanks Walex :)

  2. Loretta

    Love the ideas , just learning and am an amature-hobbiest I love to take pics of all the grandkids and use my never endind supply of used junk to make my sets.trying to learn my camera and all its bells and whistles.I will keep following your board and try and learn something (I am not technically inclined).

    • damien

      Hi Loretta,

      Thank you for taking time out to comment. It’s important that we get a buzz from photography as it feeds our creative soul. The buzz will eventually drive the effort needed to learn the technical knowledge. Keep photography fun and stay inspired.

      Kindest regards,


  3. Sona aka Lila

    Hey Damien,

    This post is so funny for me. In the first place I follow you way too much:) I can recognize some of the locations from your previous shoots, and especially from your Natural Light DVD:) Oh and your model, he was a model for my Wedding photography course I did back in March 2010. He is still smoking hot:D

    But however… you photos are amazing as usual, one day I will join you on your course, I promise.

    Favourites: 1 and 1 and 1…. I absolutely loooove that one. And then 13,19,29.

    Keep them coming and have a lovely day:)

    Sona aka Lila

  4. Helen

    Hi Damien , a question which relates to the above shoot and all other “model” shoots where you want to take time to create without the pressure of a client job. How do you find new models to work with( model mayhem seems to be a minefield and perhaps one to avoid?). It would seem you have stream of people/couples that look good in front of the camera ,which will always help sell your images and for what return if they are not from an agency or are new , can you fairly offer images an discs in return for time, or is there a fair rate that is acceptable. We are in the Bristol catchment area also. Images are great and the blog is a resource that inspires.

  5. david cooke

    Wonderful Images Damien I like the almost dark and moody look with smiles.
    I also like the idea of picking an undercover location in case it is raining.

  6. Fergus Morley

    Very helpful as I have a pre-wed (engagement) shoot next week. Have borrowed ideas for a storybook for the shoot.



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