Close-up shot of couple sitting together while holding hands, captured by Nikk Nguyen Photography

What is A Pre-Wedding Photoshoot (And Should You Do One?)

If you haven’t already heard about a pre-wedding photoshoot, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like; a photoshoot before your wedding! And I have to say, I think you’ll want to jump on this bandwagon.

I am a huge fan of pre-wedding photoshoots. They’re a fun, celebratory way for a couple to spend time together and capture their love for one another.

I’ve done several pre-wedding photoshoots for couples, and it’s a great way for all of us to get to know each other. Plus, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to get some beautiful photos for your wedding invitations!

But if you’re new to the idea of pre-wedding photoshoots, you probably have a lot of questions! I’ll answer some frequently asked questions I get about pre-wedding photoshoots so you can decide if it’s something you want to do.

What Is A Pre-Wedding Photoshoot?

A pre-wedding photoshoot is a photo session that takes place about 3-6 months before your wedding. It’s an opportunity for us to try some poses, talk about what you want to do for your wedding and for you and your fiancé to get comfortable in front of the camera.

Bride hugging groom from behind as they smile in the middle of field, taken by Austin wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

Wedding photos always tend to look better when a couple does a pre-wedding session. Whether it’s because we’re more acquainted with one another or you know what to expect from a photo session, it’s something I highly recommend. 

One thing I love about pre-wedding photoshoots is getting the opportunity to learn more about the couple before their wedding. Hearing your story and seeing you in your element together makes a big difference, especially since I want your wedding day to feel effortless.

Why Should I Get Pre-Wedding Photos?

Truthfully, feeling comfortable in front of the camera is one of the biggest reasons I recommend doing a pre-wedding photoshoot. Because unless you’re a professional model or actor, it’s unlikely that you’ve had a lot of experience in front of a camera. And even then, it’s different when it’s you’re having your wedding photos taken.

Couple smiling at each other endearingly with lens flare behind them, captured by Nikk Nguyen Photography

Some people feel awkward in front of the camera, especially if it’s their first time having professional photos taken. And that’s totally normal! It can feel a little bit weird to be the center of attention while you’re also getting your photos taken.

That’s why pre-wedding photoshoots are such a great idea. You’ll get to learn different commonly used poses, share what you like to see in wedding photos and explore ways to feel comfortable in front of the camera. Plus, much like the wedding rehearsal, you’ll get all the jitters out so you look more natural on the big day.

Are Engagement Photos and Pre-Wedding Photos The Same?

It depends! Some people like doing engagement photos just after their proposal happens and schedule pre-wedding photos for another time. Other people consider their engagement photos the same as their pre-wedding photos. And others decide to have multiple professional photo sessions to celebrate their engagement as much as possible.

Bride and groom sharing an embrace against a tree during their pre-wedding shoot at golden hour, shot by modern wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

That said, the meaning and purpose behind the photoshoot will dictate whether it’s an engagement photo session or a pre-wedding photoshoot. Both of them have similar intentions, which are for me to get to know you as a couple and for you to get some time in front of the camera. 

Ultimately, you should do whatever serves you and makes you feel excited about your engagement and your wedding day.

How Long Do Pre-Wedding Photoshoots Take?

Some people take weekend vacations to do their pre-wedding photoshoots, while others just do a quick photo session that only lasts a few hours. Usually, I work with couples for 2-4 hours, but it’s totally up to you.

What is A Pre-Wedding Photoshoot (And Should You Do One?). Couple walking while holding hands down a path.

If there’s a specific location you have in mind for your photoshoot, and that location is a little ways away, we might want to take our time really taking advantage of the space. Or, if you want to take photos at your wedding venue, we may want to do a bit less so we can save some spots for the day of your wedding.

I usually recommend finding a unique location that is just for your pre-wedding photoshoot. That way, you have a special place that’s just for this occasion and an opportunity to try a new, fun location.

What Should I Wear for a Pre-Wedding Photoshoot?

Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable! Some people like to wear their wedding outfits so that they have great wedding photos regardless of the weather on their wedding day. Other people wear cocktail dresses and suits. Some people even wear T-shirts and jeans!

What is a Pre-wedding Photoshoot? And Should You Do One? Close-up shot of couple sitting together while holding hands, captured by Nikk Nguyen Photography

Your pre-wedding photo session is an opportunity for just you two to have some time together without the many distractions that come with your wedding day. And they should represent you two as individuals and as a couple. 

So whatever you wear, make sure it’s something that makes you feel relaxed and authentic.

Final Thoughts on Pre-Wedding Photoshoots

At the end of the day, I love doing pre-wedding photoshoots. Not only do I feel excited at the opportunity to get to know the couple before their wedding day, but it also helps me create fun terminology to direct you on the big day. My recommendation is to check with your fiancé to decide what works for both of you. 

If you both feel comfortable with photography and have experience in front of the camera, you may not necessarily feel the need to do a pre-wedding photo session. Or, maybe you haven’t had professional photos taken since your senior year of high school and need some practice! 

Either way, a pre-wedding photoshoot is a great way for you and your betrothed to reconnect, make some memories and get some on-camera experience. They can be really magical, especially since you two are the main focus of the shoot.

Plus, I’ll take any opportunity to hear all about a couple, their amazing story and how they want me to capture their amazing wedding day.

If you have a wedding or elopement coming up, I’d love to hear more work with you!


Groom plants a kiss on bride's cheek as she smiles during their shoot with Nikk Nguyen; image overlaid with text that reads What is a Pre-wedding Photoshoot? And Should You Do One?

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