So you’ve booked me for your wedding / Engagement shoot – congratulations! This post is all about making the most of your Engagement Shoot, so grab a cup of something, sit back and have a read through my tips which I’ve put together for my couples, based on around 50 awesome Engagement Shoots I’ve done over the last 2 years! ( To see my most recent Engagement/Couple Shoots, head over to my Engagement Shoots gallery / London Couple Shoots gallery.)
What exactly is an Engagement Shoot?
An Engagement Shoot is a couple photo-shoot with me which takes places a few months before your wedding. It will be a fun, intimate experience with just the two of you, me and my camera. It can also be referred to as a pre-wedding shoot!
Why should we have an Engagement Shoot?
Well…on your wedding day I want you to be as stress-free & relaxed as possible. Getting married will be brand-new experience (in most cases) and even though you might have had a rehearsal & planned your socks off to make the day perfect, you still won’t be 100% sure what to expect (which is totally normal). When it comes to your wedding photography though, thanks to your Engagement Shoot, you’ll already be used to me photographing you – working together to make the most of your couple portraits, while having fun doing it! I really do think that having the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit before the big day, does makes a difference on the day and when I arrive to cover your bridal preparations, it’ll feel like we’ve known each other for years. For the rest of the day, you can focus on enjoying your wedding, not worrying about the photos / being nervous in front of the camera.
Most couples have never had a professional photo shoot together, and many couples tell me that they “don’t photograph well” / that they are “very nervous about being photographed”, so understandably the thought of having an Engagement Shoot may be slightly daunting. I say this to all my couples and I’ll say it here again: Most of the photos you will have seen of yourself, will most likely have been taken by someone when you least expected it / weren’t really looking your best / even on a night out, so it’s no surprise that you think you don’t photograph well!
This is where I come in.
Not only is it my job to help you both to relax and have fun while I’m photographing you chatting about your wedding day, I also bring my expertise in terms of using light, positioning and interaction between you and your fiancee – to help you both look your best. With some light direction from me, I will show you exactly what to do / where to stand, so you don’t have think about it too much. In no time you’ll be relaxed and having fun, with the end result being natural photos of you two having a great time together, as you would have done if I wasn’t there!
What can we expect at the Engagement Shoot?
I really enjoy hanging out with couples, getting to know them and figuring out what works for them when being photographed. Each shoot is always different (even when I shoot in the same location) because every couple is different. Amazing. Working together to help create images that define you as a couple is really important – so I love getting input from my couples on their interests, hobbies / how they sit together when they’re chilling out etc. If you love lying on the grass together watching the world go by, then that’s what we’ll do. If you like doing silly things like jumping around / tickling each other – consider it done! This is your shoot, and I want it to reflect your personalities & your unique love for each other.
Where will the Engagement Shoot take place?
Part of making your Engagement Shoot your own, is picking a location that means something to you as a couple / a location that’s very different to your wedding venue. I like to encourage my couples to have a good think about this – you will most probably only have one Engagement Shoot in your life, so why not make the most of it. Over the last two years I’ve shot on the beach, in parks, Central London, in a wildlife park, at a funfair, on the Thames riverbank at low tide and even on a boat. The sky is the limit when it comes to location. Normally as long as it’s within 2 hours drive from Leatherhead (where I’m based), I’m happy to shoot wherever. Alternatively if you’d like to do your Engagement Shoot somewhere more exotic like Paris – we can definitely make it happen!
What time of day is the best time for our Engagement Shoot to take place & how long will the shoot last?
I love shooting with natural light and making the most of beautiful lighting to create couple portraits full of emotion & love. In Summer time shooting from 4pm/5pm onwards means that I can work my magic with the soft, golden light available just before sunset and believe me, it works a treat! So as a rule late afternoon is the best time for your Engagement Shoot to take place (in winter this will be a little bit earlier). Allow for 2-3 hours especially if you have a few different spots in mind in the same location. One little request I always make: please don’t be late – light is precious during these last couple of hours before sunset, so every minute counts!
What should we wear to our Engagement Shoot?
Your outfits should ideally complement each other. Colours that go well together look great in photos and bright colours always ‘pop’ out of the photos really well. Needless to say your entire outfit doesn’t have to be an explosion of colour – a colourful scarf / accessories work really well too. The most important rule is to wear something comfortable but flattering that makes you feel really good!
If you’d like to incorporate two outfits into your shoot, that’s great too – some couple like to have one casual outfit and then one more ‘dressy’ outfit to bring some variety to the photos and this can work really well if you have a relaxed/casual setting first, followed by a more glamorous / smart setting second. If you want to incorporate a little theme into your Engagement Shoot, that’s also up to you! Here are a few examples – the themes can be as subtle / clear as you want it to be:
- Claire & Andre wanted a ‘picnic in the park’ shoot chilling out on a picnic blanket with magazines, cupcakes & champagne.
- Lisa & Matt wanted a ‘1950′s inspired prom shoot‘ and brought along a blackboard & chalk to write little messages on, wore 1950′s prom outfits and we incorporated a vintage carousel into their shoot on South Bank.
- Chris & Gemma wanted a ‘trendy but relaxed North London shoot around Belsize Park where they got engaged‘
- Ashley & Wilsey wanted to spend an ‘afternoon at their favourite hangout – Petersham Nurseries in Richmond’ admiring the flowers & sipping some wine!
- For their shoot, Martmarie & Chris wanted ‘an afternoon at the beach in Hermanus (South Africa)’ where they’ve spent many hours together.
So! If you have any other questions about your Engagement Shoot which I haven’t answered here – drop me a message through the site / email me on anneli[at]marinovich.co.uk
Keep your eyes peeled for the next post in Wedding Photography tips for brides & grooms, which will be based on making the most of your bridal preparations!
Some Engagement Shoot Love below!
“Our engagement shoot with Anneli was brilliant! Ken and I have always loved Fun Fairs and it was the perfect location to put us both at ease as we could just behave (almost) as normally as we would usually.” – Lauren & Ken
“Just a quick one to say thank you so much once again for Sunday!! It was awesome & we enjoyed it so much, can’t believe how quickly it went. Really can’t wait to see the pics” – Warren & Che
“Thank you for a brilliant day and the photos look amazing, so glad that your doing our wedding photos – can’t wait!!” – Jeremy & Jen
“Thanks again for the great photos and for being kind enough to put them on your blog – it’s a great way for us to share the photos with our family and friends particularly as we are now back on Sakhalin which is a long way from London! We loved the way you used the London landmarks, which for some may be a hoary old theme, but it suited our requirements exactly and the composition of the photos was fantastic. I particularly liked the photo outside St. Paul’s with the searing columns and Katya’s favourite was the postbox photo (clever use of your logo by the way!). We were delighted with all of the photos, though. Thanks again and see you in August :-)” – Richard & Katya