What is a pre-wedding shoot?

A pre-wedding photoshoot is a practice photo session with your photographer at a location of your choice. The session is a relaxed, informal event lasting around 2 hours and usually takes place a few months before your wedding.

It serves several purposes:

  • it’s a great way for couples to get to know their photographer and become comfortable in front of the camera.
  • it gives your photographer the opportunity to get to know you and your personalities, your likes and dislikes and what photographic style will work best.
  • it helps you to build a rapport with your photographer which is crucial given you’ll be spending a lot of time with them on the day.

When all the wedding celebrations are over, you are left with memories and photographs. It’s only natural, therefore, that you will want to make sure your photographs (and photographer) match your expectations.

Choosing a location

The shoot can be anywhere you like (within reason of course). Some couples choose to go to their actual wedding venue whereas others go somewhere that has special meaning to them – like the place they first met or the beach.

If you’re not comfortable posing, then we can take action shots. No, we don’t mean bungee jumping or cliff diving. Just something like strolling along a lane, walking with the dog or using nearby props for distraction. Like sheep, horses or … windmills. And props brought along specially for the occasion.

It doesn’t matter where you go. Just as long as it’s somewhere the two of you can relax and enjoy the experience.

Do you need one?

Here at Gavin Horrell Photography we do encourage all our couples to have a pre-wedding photoshoot. We would certainly recommend it if you’re at all nervous in front of a camera or just don’t like having your picture taken. To emphasise its significance, we include a complimentary pre-wedding shoot in our full-day 12 hour package.

Many photographers will tell you it is in your best interests to have a pre-wedding shoot. This is of course true. But as professionals, it is also in our interest.

So, while it is not essential, it is highly recommended.

So why should you have a pre-wedding photoshoot?

Here are just a few reasons:


It’s a chance for you two to take some precious time together, away from the hectic planning. Whilst some of our pre-wedding shoots take place at our studio, the majority take place somewhere that the bride and groom have chosen, somewhere that means something to them and holds great memories. It’s nice to just take the time to go back and reminisce.


If we had a pound for every time one or both of a couple said to us they hated having their picture taken… ! If you feel awkward in front of a camera or having your picture taken in general then please have a pre-wedding shoot. Get the nerves and anxiety out of your system before your wedding day. You do not want to look awkward and uncomfortable. You will be given tips on how to stand in front of the camera and how to pose, again making your pictures look more natural on your big day. Plus, once you see the wonderful pictures from your pre-wedding shoot you will wonder what you ever worried about in the first place!


You get to spend time with your photographer and get to know them. This makes for a more relaxing wedding day for you – particularly if you are having your bridal prep coverage.


Your photographer will learn about your personalities and characters, likes and dislikes, meaning you are guaranteed a more bespoke service on your wedding day that will better reflect you as a couple. They will also learn your personal tastes (our pre-wedding shoots always include a wide range of styles, poses and photographic finishes). This helps to tailor your photographer’s service on your wedding day if they know what kind of pictures you do and don’t like, for example fun, formal, relaxed, romantic and whether you have preferences on colour, black and white or sepia tones.


All couples that have a pre-wedding shoot with us at Gavin Horrell Photography are also presented on their wedding day with a framed and mounted print of their favourite image from the collection. The picture is mounted with a four-inch border so that guests can then sign and leave messages. This makes a lovely feature in your home and talking piece for years to come!

Of course, the decision is ultimately yours. Only you can decide and we will respect your decision.

But just remember this. 

You get one chance to get the wedding photos you’ve always dreamed of. It’s not as if you can go back and do it all again.

The pre-wedding shoot is a chance to relax and spend time with each other as well as being great preparation for the big day. It doesn’t cost you a penny more and, at the end of it, you get some great photos!