I often get asked whether pre-wedding sessions (also known as engagement sessions) are worth the hassle, and my answer is categorical - YES it is, and in so many ways!
As well as the obvious outcome of the session which is a series of photos that capture a very special moment in time for the couple just before they get married, in my experience the most valuable aspect of pre-wedding sessions is that it gives a chance to the couple and the photographer to get to know each-other and find out what it's like interacting together. Couples getting married have a lot of things to worry about on their big day, and the last thing they want is to feel uncomfortable around someone whom they've hardly met and who will be pointing a camera at them for most of the day!
Most people have uncertainties about their image and a pre-wedding session is a great opportunity for the photographer to give some posing tips - or in my case some non-posing tips, and show the couple what they look like when they are natural and when they forget about the camera. This will set a great example for the wedding day as they will see that when they are enjoying themselves the pictures tend to look better than if they try to pose for the camera!
What I have noticed after pre-wedding sessions is that couples not only tend to feel a big relief as they then know exactly what to expect for the wedding day, but they also realise that having their photos taken can be a fun and energising experience!
And if this wasn't enough, another thing worth mentioning is how the pictures from the pre-wedding session can be used creatively on the wedding day to craft something special for the guests. In this instance we used the engagement pictures that we took in the beautiful Cambridge surroundings in three different ways. The first one was a sign book, using white space around the engagement photos for guests to leave a message on the wedding day. The second one was a wonderful idea from the couple who printed their table menus on old film rolls, using one of the pictures taken during the session to decorate it. And the third one was a little photo card placed inside the favour bag containing the website address and password for guests to view the wedding photo galery after the wedding.
And all this takes is a 1-2 hours session prior to the wedding so I can't recommend pre-wedding sessions enough!