Engagement shoot top tips
So many of my couples tell me they are worried about their engagement shoot, whether it’s nerves or worrying about what outfit to wear, what location is best, it’s totally normal to feel this way! I thought it was time I put some top tips together on how to make the most of your engagement shoot. I also had some questions on Facebook about them which I’ve answered too below.
”Katie is such a warming person from the moment you meet her. Richard and I are not used to being the centre of attention and often shy away from the camera, but at our engagement shoot Katie said to just be ourselves. She made us feel so comfortable in fact that all our worries of a professional camera on the big day completely disappeared.”
Practice makes perfect (and calms those nerves!)
An engagement session is the perfect excuse to get together before your big day, get excited about your plans and also get an idea of how it feels to have your portraits taken ahead of the wedding.
With my approach to photography, I use gentle and natural prompts rather than 'poses', it’s my job to guide you here. This can be anything from simply holding hands and walking and talking, to getting close and whispering silly things to each other, these little gestures will bring out the most natural emotions and reactions from you.
I love engagement sessions as most couples will say how nervous they were beforehand, but that they actually ended up really enjoying it.
'I'm not scared anymore' is one of my favourite things to hear after the first few minutes.
What to wear to your engagement shoot
Most of my couples ask me before the day 'what shall we wear?!', and I think engagement shoots are the perfect excuse to wear something that makes you feel great, dress up a little if you want to. For example, wear something you would wear on a special date together or family occasion. You don't have to go over the top, but wearing a dress or shirt that makes you feel good always helps to relax you so you look good too.
Also, take into consideration the location of your shoot too, what colours or style might work best to really bring the best out of your photographs? I love Jaz and David’s style above, it’s dressed up but relaxed and totally them, and works perfectly for a summer walk in the woods.
Pinterest boards are also great fun - I can help craft one for your shoot if you like.
Choose a location to set the tone
Location, location, location! Think about places that might be special to you, somewhere you like to go on weekends to spend time together. There are so many options for great locations in East Sussex and surrounding areas, we are so spoiled.
Think about what tone you want from your session and how it reflects you both - do you want a carefree walk along the beach at Camber Sands or a stylish session in a Brighton coffee shop? Maybe the austere and quiet atmosphere at Dungeness? Or cosy and cuddled up in the woods?
All about the light
Wherever you choose, we will plan your session around the best light. Why is light so important? Well, different light brings different atmosphere, the sky and landscape around you changes colour, and also affects how shadows and highlights appear.
The middle of the day when the sun is at its highest and brightest (especially in summer) usually brings dark shadows compared to stark bright highlights which can bring a stark contrast to your photographs. The most gorgeous light tends to be found towards sunrise and sunset, the light is softer, colours and tones are golden and pastel, turning red and blue as the evening draws in.
Also - don't fear if there's not much sun around; lovely and even light can be found on even dark overcast days.
Celebrate and enjoy each other
The last and most important thing to do, relax! As much as it's great to connect with your photographer before your day, the engagement shoot really is all about you as a couple. Make the most of your session, bring a picnic or a bottle of prosecco and toast the occasion. Use your session as the perfect excuse to celebrate your upcoming wedding, and as a special time together.
Questions from Facebook:
1 - How do you handle the engagement shoot if we/one of us is really shy?
Most people are shy in front of the camera and don’t feel they’re naturals at having their picture taken (myself included!).
The way I guide your session is a key part to making you feel comfortable. I think alot of couples think an engagement session will consist of forced, stiff poses of looking at the camera, with me it doesn't.
I will start your session with as little pressure as possible, chatting away and starting with prompts which are as simple as 'ok start at this point, hold hands and walk towards me. chat about your day so far to each other'.
If just one of you is shy, I will start the session focusing on your partner to ease you in and show you that you're in a safe space to be yourself and enjoy it!
It really is as simple as that.
2 - What questions do you ask to gauge your couples personalities?
Before your engagement session, we will have an initial consultation about your wedding. This not only gives me an opportunity to learn about your day, but also about you and vice versa. This means when we get to your engagement session I already know you a bit, and you know me too.
I like to ask what you do for work, and what you really like to do when you aren’t at work, what you like about each other, and what gets on your nerves! Every couple is different so we can go for relaxed and calm at Camber Sands, or fun and energetic on Brighton Pier!
3 - How do you choose which shoots to feature on your blog/social media?
This will often come down to time! The last thing a photographer often has time for is perhaps one of the most important business wise, their blog and website. When you're shooting as much as we do, to juggle all the admin and editing means we don't always have time to blog or put everything on social media. So don't be surprised if your photographer doesn't feature you right away but you find yourselves in their portfolio further down the line.
The other factor could be down to variety, I love to show different types of location, and mix it up as much as possible so that my couples feel they can choose somewhere that is right for them, that they don't have to fit into a particular type of 'box'.
I will always endeavour to show all my couples though, it’s really awesome to be chosen from the plethora of photographers available, so I like to show you off!