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Why I Hate Free Engagement Shoots

Would clients actually pay for a pre-wedding shoot?

Free Engagement Shoot

So who did it? Which idiot first thought it was a good idea to offer free engagement shoots as an incentive to book? I need to know who you are. Who was patient zero? Must it be someone out there? Or maybe they’ve gone bust and gone back to work in a call centre. I remember the days when photographers used to get paid to take pictures and so could make a living instead of doing it “because I love taking pictures” and because “I am so passionate about photography.” 

The reason I ask is that this year I was blackmailed by a client into agreeing to a ‘free’ engagement session - or E-shoot as they now seem to be called or is it a pre-wedding shoot, sigh. Now don’t get me wrong but there is nothing wrong with engagement shoots, apart from the fact most of them are a bit embarrassing. I am convinced though that most clients don’t want them. How do I know? Well if you try charging for them then no one ever books one. This is a fact. However, if you include them for free then, of course, clients will take you up on your offer, and that’s how wedding photographers ended up spending their Sunday afternoons wandering around parks trying to work out a way for these pre-wedding-shoots not to look awkward and laughable. Piggyback anyone? 

Wedding Photography Hot Shot: Emotional Father

docuwedding - reportage wedding photography

London wedding photography - Father's Day

Wedding photographer: Tony at docuwedding

Photo Title: Emotional Father

Photo details: The bride had asked if I could make sure I took a photo when her father saw her for the first time on her wedding day. So I did.

About the photographer: Destination Wedding photographer from London. Photographing weddings in London, UK and around the world

Photographer Details: docuwedding - London wedding photographer

Wedding Photography Hot Shot: Emotional First Dance

Sam Docker Wedding Photography

wedding photograph of First Dance

Wedding photographer: Sam Docker

Photo Title: Emotional First Dance

Photo details: This is Mark and Pannas first dance, shot on the Canon 5D MKIII with 24L 1.4 lens at f2.0. It was a stunning barn and I'd already positioned 2 flashguns on the balcony, one with a warming gel, the other with a cooling gel. There was a little smoke in the room courtesy of a DJ, and this was a brief tender moment during the dance and ensuing madness of a party.

About the photographer: I'm Sam, a Derbyshire wedding photographer, shooting weddings throughout the UK and Europe in a relaxed and fine art style.

Photographer Details: Sam Docker Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography Hot Shot: Sunset at Hedsor

Chris Mann Wedding Photography

wedding photograph of sunset in Berkshire

Wedding photographer: Chris Mann

Photo Title: Sunset at Hedsor

Photo details: Sunset at Hedsor House, Taplow Berkshire. This was shot using the Canon 5D Mk3's built-in HDR feature to stack multiple exposures, retaining detail in both the sky and the house. Lens used was the Canon 24-70 F2.8 L, handheld at ISO 3200.

About the photographer: I'm always looking for interesting ways to tell the story of a wedding day - whether it's a winter wedding at a stately home like this one or a beach wedding with just the couple somewhere warm and tropical! I am based in Guildford Surrey but shoot weddings throughout the UK and overseas.

Photographer Details: Chris Mann Photography

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