Pre-wedding engagement photography, or engagement photo shoots are a great way to become a bit more relaxed in front of the camera and get to know your photographer before your big day. Many photographers are offering them as standard with their wedding packages – although some still suggest them as an add-on if you should want it. But if you’re nervous about your wedding photography, I’m going to bet that you are nervous about your engagement photography too – and perhaps you’re even avoiding it!
So why should you bite the bullet and go for it with your engagement photography?
Couples and engagement sessions are a shoot reserved for just you and your fiance. There is no rushing about, sweating about your guests and whether everyone is happy. This time is about you and your relationship: a chance to become comfortable together with the camera. I know you might be feeling uncomfortable about it. Maybe you’ll just avoid it. Maybe you’ll try and get out of it. Maybe you’ll just put it off because you’ll feel too awkward and you’d rather wait until the wedding to get the camera exposure over with.
It’s completely normal to be uncomfortable around the camera. There’s something very personal and slightly invasive about having your soul bared in front of a lens. But the truth is that it’s just a new experience – and anything new is going to feel a little funny at first! How do we combat that feeling? We get around what’s making us feel that way and become more comfortable with it. And with my relaxed nature, it doesn’t have to be stressful or scary. And this is all the more reason to have that engagement session. Get it over with now and I promise, you’ll feel so much more relaxed on your wedding day.
You will get used to being photographed and being in front of the camera and become more comfortable with the attention being on you for a little bit. I know you might be bricking it before hand and nervous before the engagement photography session, but I promise you that once it’s over, you’ll say “Well, that really wasn’t so bad!” and feel so much better about your wedding photography.
You’ll also then get to know me a little better. I am, after all, going to be spending your wedding day with you. I try and talk to my couples and get as much information as I can on them before hand in our consultations, but there’s something very different about actually being photographed rather than just talking about it. You get a feel for how I work and my nature behind the camera so you’ll be lots more confident with me on your wedding day! Rather than a stranger taking your photos, you’ll have a new friend.
“We already had a shoot with ***** so we don’t really need to do another one.”
It’s great that you’re already a little bit more comfortable in front of the camera and of course, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. But I’d still recommend having the shoot with the photographer who will be capturing your wedding. Every photographer works differently; we are all different, with different personalities, likes and dislikes and a completely individual style. Having the shoot with the photographer with whom you are going to be employing to capture your wedding does make a lot more sense, mainly for the reasons above. But it also helps your photographer to get to know you and your partner and observe the relationship between you both. Not having an engagement shoot only because you’ve already had a shoot with someone else can put your wedding photographer at a disadvantage by leaving them to arrive at your wedding day not knowing the ins and outs of how you both interact and work as a couple.
So, what should you expect from your pre-wedding engagement photography session?
You can pick a location that means something to you – or I can suggest some beautiful places to capture some amazing photos. I will usually meet you at the location you’ve chosen and we will work from there. I absolutely love to shoot in wild, rural and natural areas like the seaside, the woods and cornfields – and for city shoots I think London is such a versatile location! We will shoot together for a couple of hours and much of our time together will be natural and un-posed, however I will offer some directional prompts and advice to compose minor details and help you feel more relaxed.
You will receive your final photos a couple of weeks after the shoot in an online gallery at your own URL. This can be password protected should you wish it. You can share this gallery on social media and with your family and friends so they can view it too. You can download directly from this gallery as a whole or individual images. You can purchase professional grade prints, albums and wall art directly from this gallery, supplied by me, should you wish to. You retain all printing and sharing rights of these final photos.
What can you do with the photos?
Well, you’ll have a gorgeous new profile picture to use at the very least. Or have you thought about “Save the Date” cards with your photos? You can use some beautiful, professional images of you both to add a personal touch to your Save the Date cards. I can even provide bespoke designing for these cards.
Alternatively you could have the photos printed and mounted for guests to sign at your wedding – or even just use them as wall art in your home.
Can we bring the kids / the dog / the cat?
First and foremost, these photos should be about you and your partner. While kids can make some great photos, having a little person or two running around your shoot may take the focus off the love between you, so I’d recommend leaving the kids with somebody if possible for engagement photographs. I do understand the reason you want your kids there – and that childcare can be a hard thing to find – but it’s really important to remember this session is about the two of you. It may make you feel immediately more comfortable to have the focus taken off of you by your cheeky monkeys – but this can completely alter the dynamics of a session and I firmly believe romantic photos should capture the love between you two and your unique relationship as a couple, rather than as parents. We can always capture their adorable little grins in a family photo session another time! The same goes for your parents. It’s great to capture some family photos involving them, but perhaps better left for a family session rather than your romantic engagement photo shoot.
Pets, however, are a slightly easier subject. I really love animals (sometimes more than kids)! All animals and every animal. I sometimes involve pets in my engagement photography, but I would recommend that your pet is not involved in the whole session – as this will take the focus off of you, much like a child would. I usually shoot my couples alone for an hour to an hour and a half and we then pop back to grab the dog / cat / horse and snap a few photos with them in at the end. Again, you and your other half should be the main focus here! The problem with bringing pets along to a photoshoot is that couples who do so, usually spend more time trying to chase the animal and get them to play ball rather than just relaxing and getting the natural photos we need – they can disturb the dynamics of the situation and this time is all about the two of you – not so much photographing your fur babies! They are welcome to get in on any family shoots too, though! If you can, I’d recommend bringing neither pets nor children – but I’m flexible and if situations must or you feel very passionately, we will work and see what we can do.
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer for for someone to capture some gorgeous engagement photos for you – get in touch now!
If you liked this post and want to see more pre-wedding engagement photography, why not visit my recent posts? Or to inquire about my availability for your own wedding?Or take a look at some more pre-wedding engagement photography around my website? Pre-wedding sessions are included in my full day as standard, but you can also book one individually and look at the prices here.