Should I have an Engagement Shoot?
Engagement shoots / Pre-wedding shoots / Love Shoots…is there a difference and should I bother having one?
I get asked this a fair bit and in my book they are all the same thing…whatever you want to call them, an engagement shoot is a chance to get some fabulous photos of the two of you in quite possibly your most loved up state, which you can look back on in wonder in years to come, when you’re squabbling about whose turn it is to put the bins out/mow the lawn/place the Ocado order – spoken like someone who has been married for 8 years! 🙂
Create some non-wedding art!
Prior to their wedding day, most of my clients have never had any professional pictures taken of the two of them and they end up loving them so much the temptation to go on a printing frenzy is strong, and before you know it, your home starts to look like a shrine to your wedding day. Mixing in some cool photos of yourselves in your civilian clothes, and a few arty images where its not immediately apparent its ‘you’ in the images makes for a more varied and less narcissistic look for your home decor 🙂 You can of course curate them into a coffee table book or a print box if you’re less into displaying them prominently, but please please please do print them somewhere if you’ve gone to the effort of having a shoot in the first place otherwise you’ll never get to enjoy them fully…its something I believe in passionately and you can read more about this in another post I’ve written.
Are you mad? I hate having my picture taken!
One of the other major benefits is having a good old practice in front of the camera before your wedding day. The vast majority of my clients say they don’t like having their picture taken, or that they’re not photogenic so I’m going to have my work cut out getting a good picture of them. For the camera shy among you, voluntarily putting yourself in front of the camera one more time than necessary may seem like the most non-sensical thing in the world, but you are the very people who will benefit the most. While the first few minutes can seem a little odd, getting up-close and personal with your other half and a camera-bearing third wheel, trust me you’ll soon settle into it, and heaven forbid, actually enjoy it. I tend to keep my portrait sessions on the actual wedding day quite short, say about 15 minutes so that my couples can spend more time with their guests, so having shaken off any of the initial nerves at a pre-wedding shoot means that full 15 minutes on the day itself is all pure, natural, uninhibited, loved-up gold!
I prefer those more natural couple shots!
Even if you’re quite comfortable in front of the camera, like Julia and Christian here you’ll still benefit as we get to try out different things and see what works best for you. Without fail, every client who books me says they love how natural my portraits are and that they don’t look overly posed. In reality, just about every portrait shoot is posed to a degree as most couples just don’t stand like that instinctively. I’ll position my clients where the light is good, guide them into comfortable positions that work for them, and then encourage them to be themselves to let their natural chemistry shine through. What makes them look natural is the fact that they are comfortable enough having me around, uninhibited by the camera and caught up in each other rather than the shoot itself. Being like this on your wedding day can come a lot easier for people having had a pre-wedding shoot so its well worth considering. Plus, we get to hang out together a bit before the day and that’s always fun!
What should I wear?
I often get asked “What should I wear for an engagement shoot?” My response is always “whatever you feel comfortable in, and however you want to remember yourselves as this point in time”. Here’s some images of the utterly gorgeous Julia and Christian bringing some extra magic to the already majestical St Paul’s Cathedral on their engagement shoot. They opted for an elegant, dressed up look for this part of their shoot, which really helps them stand out from the general public at popular tourist spots or on the bustling streets of London, but I’ve had just as fabulous pre wedding shoots with couples wearing running leggings and trainers…its all about the chemistry between the two of you that makes the images really sing, and that always happen when you’re just being you!