Engagement sessions have become more and more popular over the last few years. Why? I personally think it’s a great way to celebrate the build up to your wedding day, and it seems loved couples everywhere, agree! With the growth of Instagram, I have been fortunate to work with couples from all over the world, who love the romance I share on my feed. Whether in London (click London couple shoots for more) or further afield (click destination couple shoots to see more), I love creating beautiful images for my couples, using natural light. This London Engagement Photography Advice blog post will give you an idea of what to expect during your engagement shoot and how to make the most of it.
Click here to see more images from Anna & Brad’s central London session.
Click here to see more from Matthew & Gabi’s engagement session.
Click here to see more from Panos & Maria’s Santorini engagement session.
Click here to see Roxanne & Efe’s forest engagement session.
What exactly is an engagement / pre-wedding couple session?
An engagement / pre-wedding couple session takes place a few months up to a year before your wedding. It will be a fun, intimate experience where we get to know each other and I take some gorgeous, relaxed photos of you in an interesting location. It’s a great opportunity to wear cute outfits and have your hair & make up done – what’s not to love? ;-)
Click here to see Alison & Jason’s Tower Bridge engagement session.
Why should we have an engagement session?
As I mentioned at the start of the post, if you’re engaged, you should definitely make the make the most of the build-up to your wedding day. Celebrate every little thing – finding the dress, booking your photographer etc! It’s meant to be such a fun and exciting season in your life, and having a engagement session celebrates you as a couple, deciding to tie knot.
Secondly, you want to be as stress-free & relaxed as possible on your wedding day. Getting married will be a 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 completely normal).
When it comes to your wedding photography however, you can actually prepare for the day and by having an engagement session, you’ll find yourself looking forward to your couple portraits on the day and you won’t notice me as much during the rest of the wedding day, because you already know how I work.
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 session may be 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 a friend when you least expected it (your eyes may even be shut in the photo)! You probably weren’t really looking your best and it may even have been taken on a night out after a few drinks, so it’s no surprise that you think you don’t photograph well!
This is where I come in…
In addition to guiding my couples on what to wear / where to shoot, I pride myself on making sure my couples have fun during the actual session. I’m always chatting with my couples during the session and encourage them to talk to each other while I’m shooting, which helps to make the photos look effortlessly natural. Using my expertise when it comes to the most flattering light, posing and interaction between you and your fiancee, I help you both look your best.
I always direct my couples, so you don’t have to worry or overthink small things like “what do I do with my hands”…don’t worry, I’ll tell you! You’ll relax in no time and possibly even forget you’re being photographed, with the end result being romantic, non-cheesy photos of the two of you having a great time together.
So now that I’ve explained why you should have an engagement session and what you can expect from me, below are a few things to think about with regards to location, outfits and timings for the session.
Click here to see Cristiana & Rui’s couple session in Portugal.
Choosing a location for your engagement session:
I encourage my couples to choose a location that means something to you as a couple – perhaps it’s where you met for the first time / had your first date! I also suggest we shoot in a location which is very different to your wedding venue. This way you have a set of photos with a unique look & feel to the wedding day.
Two of the most important factors when choosing location is whether there is abundant natural light (my style relies on beautiful light) and how busy the location gets! If you have chosen a slightly busier setting, like central London, I will suggest the best time to shoot there and perhaps seek out the quieter corners so we have a little bit of privacy.
Over the years I’ve shot on beaches, in cities, forests, at a funfair and even in the Natural History Museum. The sky is the limit when it comes to location. Normally as long as it’s within an hour’s drive from West Sussex (where I’m based), I’m happy to shoot anywhere. Alternatively if you like the idea of a destination engagement session somewhere more exotic like Paris, Santorini, Positano, New York City or anywhere else, we can definitely make that happen!
Click here to see more of Meg & Oli’s New York City couple session.
Click here to see Jamie & Mark’s London engagement session in St James’ Park.
2. What is the best time of day to do your engagement session & how long will the session last?
The light at different times of the day, can really impact the look of your photos. For me, soft light is crucial when creating beautiful portraits full of emotion & love – the kind of portraits my couples book me for. For this reason I tend to do most of my couple sessions during the two hours leading up to sunset. Needless to say the light during this time of day is precious, so I always ask that my couples arrive for the shoot on time, so that we are not rushed.
A session normally lasts around 2-3 hours, especially if you have a few different locations in mind.
3. Choosing the best outfits for your engagement session:
When it comes to choosing your outfits, make sure you wear something that’s comfortable but also makes you feel amazing. Try to coordinate your outfits – they don’t have to match perfectly, but making sure the colours go well together and you’re not wearing any prints that clash, is key.
I always encourage my brides-to-be to embrace accessories, whether it’s a gorgeous necklace or pretty scarf, the little details will add an editorial element to the photos which is great to tell your style story. When it comes to footwear, heels are always good. Most women carry themselves with more confidence when wearing heels, so if you’re comfortable wearing heels and the location works, go for it (and remember to bring flats as a back up option).
I created a Pinterest board with some outfit inspiration, which I send to my couples before the shoot. Feel free to take a look here.
For the guys, even though your outfit will most likely be a bit more plain than your fiancee’s, you can still rock the accessories, like a cool hat, jacket or shoes if you wanted to. The shoot will reflect your style, so make it your own.
Some couples prefer to incorporate two outfits into the shoot, which is great too – having one casual outfit and then one more ‘dressy’ outfit will bring more variety to the photos.
Below are a few more examples of outfits from a few of my recent couple shoots:
Click here to see Lizzie & Will’s engagement session with their dog Puyol.
Click here to see Marcelle & Morgan’s couple session on Llandudno Beach in Cape Town.
If you have alteady booked me for your session, don’t hesitate to ask my advice on outfits or locations, I have a lot of experience and would love to work with you to create beautiful images you’ll cherish in the years to come…and who knows, you may even decide to have me photograph your wedding! ;-)
My Engagement Session advice featured in You & Your Wedding Magazine:
I was recently asked by You & Your Wedding magazine for advice on engagement shoots, scroll down to see the feature:
Head to my blog for more engagement session inspiration and get in touch if you’d like to book me for your shoot!