I wanted to share some information (and of course some images) from recent engagement shoots – not only to give you a little bit of Thursday pretty but also to give you a little head ups on what to expect, things to think about and the question I always get asked – what to wear!
Firstly, I love these shoots, getting to know the couples who book me better, finding out what makes them tick and trying out new things with my camera, and giving them a chance to know what it feels like to be photographed by me. One thing thats worth pointing out though, it is a very different experience to your wedding day – standing in a busy bit of town on a random evening after work and being photographed for an hour or more – is very different from a quick 20 minutes on a day full of happiness and natural feeling, and where the photographic coverage will tell a complete story. Still, I consider them a really important part of what I do, and I include a complimentary engagement shoot in all but my shortest coverage option.
How to pick a location
Whilst I always have some locations up my sleeve, I want your shoot to have some meaning for you so I prefer if you pick the location. As the shoots happen in London, if you’re not a Londoner get in touch and we can have a chat about what you’re looking for. This year so far I’ve shot on a house boat, in numerous parks, by rivers, canals, in pubs, on East London Streets, under blossom trees and most excitingly, around the Barbican where we had an access all areas pass! For me a good location has some texture, good light and is quiet enough for you to relax into the shoot. I can make magic almost anywhere as long as I’ve got those ingredients (and they can be found almost anywhere too). Personally I like new, unusual and challenging locations, so don’t be afraid to suggest something that seems a bit mad.
What to Wear
Again, this is your shoot and I want you to wear what makes you feel good rather than be prescriptive about what to wear, but this is one area I get asked about a lot. I wholly advocate dressing up – think casual day date. For me that would be a cute tea dress and ankle boots, but for others that might be your favourite jeans, a fur coat and Converse. Wear what makes you feel good and confident, or you could use it as an opportunity to be totally dramatic and rock an outlandish evening gown, or another look you’d love to wear for the wedding but can’t – I had one shoot recently where Sal, who was getting married a few months later, wanted to wear a flower crown and Grecian draped dress as her wedding look was totally different, and another couple who wanted to tie their sartorial choices in with the vaguely nautical theme.
So here’s some dos and don’t to consider
Do think about using it as chance to have your hair and makeup trial – it’s a good chance to see how it photographs.
Do dress up a little, you get to spend some quality time together and could make an evening of it with dinner or drinks.
Do ensure you feel comfortable – in that I don’t mean Yoga pants kind of comfy, but that you feel like yourself, and your shoes aren’t impossible to walk in
Do cover up the bits you’re not so keen on and show the others you like – for myself I’m not a big fan of my upper arms, so my outfit would have sleeves – but I might put belt around my waist to show that I have some shape!
Do think about colour
Do think about how you can change up your outfits with layers
Dont wear anything bobbly, avoid head to toe black (it doesn’t photograph as well as colour), really busy prints.
Don’t bring a huge bag as you’ll end up dragging it from place to place.
Don’t forget guys – I’m a girl (lady/woman – delete as appropriate) so my thoughts naturally turn to womenswear, but as former menswear buyer we can’t leave the chaps out, so the next couple of tips are aimed a little bit more at them.
Don’t wear tees with big logos, or busy images. Think timeless!
Do use the iron – creases are one of those things that photograph much worse than they look in real life, so give anything creasy a touch up.
Do respect the same rules about accentuating your favourite bits, if you’ve got a bit of a beer belly then avoid anything too tight there, and check whether shirts gape.
I feel a bit like Glamour magazine now, so I think that’s enough to get you going.
What to Expect
First of all, you will be nervous – everyone is but they all leave telling me that they actually enjoyed it and had fun. I want the session to be about you, and to some extent to be lead by you. The first bit is always the scariest, I’ll pose you in a very natural and relaxed way and then start shooting; and that’s the worst it’s going to be for the whole session.
I’ll encourage you to laugh, dance, play around, tell jokes; I’ll put you in the good light, or give you an action to do and try and put you at ease. But that’s one of the reasons we have this session, to help you realise that having your photo taken should be, and can be, fun.