What are the reasons to have an engagement or pre-wedding shoot?
Your engagement is a special time. Being newly engaged is almost as thrilling as the wedding itself. An engagement shoot is a chance to capture this exciting moment before it gets lost in a whirlwind of dresses, flowers and cakes.
We love to get to know our wedding couples, to find out about them as a couple and also as individuals, about who they are, what they like and a little bit of their love story together. We include an engagement session in all our top level wedding collections.
It is the perfect opportunity for us to get to know you and, as importantly, you to get to know us as photographers and also as friends. We will, after all, be spending the most important day of your life with you and you will probably be seeing more of us than anyone else on your wedding day (including your fiancee/husband/wife!). We don’t want to turn up on your wedding day as strangers so perhaps think as the engagement shoot as an ice-breaker. Establishing a relationship with your wedding photographer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your wedding images.
An engagement shoot can almost be thought of as a ‘trial-run’ which means less to worry about on the big day!
As a couple you have probably never been photographed together before (no, selfies don’t count…) and unless you are a model, musician or actor it’s unlikely you’ve ever had any guidance on how to be photographed. During your engagement shoot we will guide you through the session, we will show you how to stand, what to do with your hands and where to look. After a little while it becomes almost second nature and is a great way for you to become comfortable in front of our camera.
It also gives us an opportunity to see how you interact together, what your personalities are like and how you respond to our camera. Are you serious in front of the lens, or silly? Do you blink or look away. Learning little traits like this in advance has a massive advantage on wedding day. Learning about your personalities will help us to capture images on your wedding day that are unique and truly represent you.
You get a taste for our shooting style and will know what to expect from us. It gives you an opportunity to communicate what you do and don’t like as well as a preference for angles, expressions and lighting. Whilst on your wedding day we remain in creative control it is hugely beneficial knowing what style of images our couples respond to.
Once you’ve seen your engagement photos and seen how great you look, you will have more confidence in yourself and in us on your wedding day – which will show in the resulting images we capture.
On the day you can look forward to having your photo taken as we got any nerves and anxiety out of the way in advance. You’ll stop focussing on the camera and more on each other, you can truly relax in front of the lens because you know that you look fabulous!
Most of all though, by having an engagement shoot you get yourself some beautiful photos! Believe us, the wedding day will be a whirl-wind that flashes before your eyes!
In contrast, the engagement shoot is a slow, relaxed session that allows you plenty of time together and is all about YOU! No family formals or friends – and it’s great to have some fab, professional photos of just the two of you not in your wedding gear!
How long will our engagement shoot last?
We usually allow several hours as we don’t want to rush you – this is your time and we want to make sure that you are happy in front of our camera! It’s not always continuous shooting and may or involve coffee breaks… and it’s always lovely to finish the shoot off in a cosy bar having a chat over a glass of wine!
When should we have our engagement shoot?
There’ll be lots to do in the weeks leading up to the wedding so rather than trying to fit an engagement shoot in when you’ve got so much else to do we like to do them sooner rather than later.
We regularly do engagement shoots mid-week as we are usually working at the weekends. If this is problematic for you then please do ask as it may be that we have the odd weekend available throughout the year.
Where should we have our engagement shoot?
It’s always lovely to have your engagement shoot somewhere that is important to you or somewhere that has meaning. We often find couples are more at ease in an environment they are familiar with. Perhaps the place you had your first date, or the spot where you got engaged or even the garden of your first home together. Perhaps your location choice is based around a shared interest or something you like doing together.
Steve & Chris had their engagement shoot in the garden of their first home together.
Debbie & Nat choose the park that they walked through whilst they were dating – and when we saw the rainbow we ignored the rain that had been falling for the previous 20 minutes!
Time of day is also important so that we get the best possible light for beautiful photos. We recommend meeting a couple of hours before sunset (in the winter months this may be as early as 2pm, in the summer as late as 6 or 7pm). Early morning can also be a lovely time of day.
With Tim & Menna we walked down the Parkland Walk in North London, which starts at the end of their road so they spend a lot of time wandering along the pathway. We ended the shoot in nearby Finsbury Park as the sun was setting!
How can we prepare for our engagement shoot?
You may want to have your hair and make-up trial on the same day as your engagement shoot as knowing that you look great installs confidence in front of the camera! It also gives you a chance to see how your planned style looks in photographs.
Think about what you are both wearing so that you are co-ordinated in colour, style and formality. Depending on your location it may be possible to change outfits to give your shoot different looks, feels and styles.
Most of all though, be prepared to have fun! Be creative with your ideas and get involved – it’s your shoot!