Spring comes to wedding bloggers in a flurry of engagement shoot submissions and I LOVE it! At this time of year summer wedding planning hits new heights – couples are ordering wedding invitations and booking those last key suppliers, and it kind of feels like summer weddings will be here before we know it! Many of you will be checking in with your photographers and quite possibly having an engagement shoot in the next few weeks. Yay for you if you are – I promise, you’ll love it! Today I’m sharing some advice with those of you who might not be sure if you need an engagement shoot… because I just happen to have seven pretty solid reasons why engagement shoots are brilliant!
This article was inspired by Dorset wedding photographer Robin Goodlad Photography, whose article “Why you really should have an engagement shoot” makes for inspiring reading! All images shown here are by Robin Goodlad.
1. You lose that stiffness and camera shyness way before the big day!
I see it very often with weddings I feature on the blog – brides and grooms are nervous not just because it’s the big day (totally understandable!) but also you can tell they’re a little nervous of the camera.
Being photographed professionally is new to most of us – I remember my first time I was oh so conscious of doing things wrong – standing the wrong way, my posture, looking in the wrong direction or laughing too much or not enough…
But what an engagement shoot will show you is you can relax in front of the camera – and that’s when you’ll get the loveliest images. Sometimes if you’re nervous of doing something you just have to dive straight in and do it… and it’s definitely the case with wedding and engagement photography.
2. You see your photographer in action
Wedding photographers are a kind, friendly and relaxed breed who are absolutely brilliant to be around. You’ll see this at wedding shows and meetings with your photographer, but those circumstances are a little artificial. Wouldn’t it be great to know how your photographer will be on your wedding day?
Reason number 2 for having an engagement shoot is right there! You get to see your wedding photographer at work. You’ll most likely be relieved they won’t bark orders at you or prod you both into odd poses for the perfect shot – and I bet you’ll be surprised to see how easy it is to relax and be natural once you know your wedding photographer a little better.
So many couples on the blog say their photographer ‘faded into the background’, all the while taking amazing images. If you’re familiar with your photographer’s approach you won’t notice them working their socks off on the big day – and engagement shoots are the perfect way to familiarise yourselves with how your wedding photographer works.
3. Your photographer sees how you interact with each other
It’s not just about the photographer’s working style – they’ll use the engagement shoot as an opportunity to see how the two of you are around one another, and in front of the camera. You might be loud and funny, always on the move and giggling hysterically together. Or perhaps you’re a quieter couple, a little shy and more romantic than extroverted. Are you comfortable having a little smooch while you’re having your photos taken? Some people really are (I know this from photoshoots I’ve been to!) while others get the giggles at the very notion of a kiss for a photo. Either way – the more your photographer knows about you as a couple, the more they can plan ahead for the day of your wedding to ensure they’ll get the beautiful images you expect.
4. You lose any worries about your photographer
When you’re choosing your wedding photographer you’ll have the opportunity to view other couples’ portfolios and sample wedding albums. You’ll follow your photographers on Instagram and see images you love – but they’re not of you. Making the final choice to book your wedding photographer is a big decision, and it’s generally taken without having your own photos taken even once.
So often I hear couples on the blog saying their photos were “even better than expected” or that their photographer had captured moments they didn’t know about… little surprises and magical tricks with composition and lighting. And there’s always the anticipation of waiting for your wedding photographs after the day (it’s usually a month at least before you’ll see your full set of images, depending on your photographer). So to avoid having any nerves during that time, you need to know as much about your photographer’s style and capabilities as possible – enough to set any worries at bay. An engagement shoot does that – you’ll get the “wow” moment when you see your pics from your pre-wedding shoot – and you’ll just know that your wedding images are going to be stunning.
The shoot gives you a chance to get comfortable in front of the camera, to relax and be yourselves, and to realise that actually, this isn’t quite so bad after all. When it comes to the wedding day, the photographer is just one less thing to worry about, you know what they can do, as your favourite engagement photo is in pride of place on your mantelpiece already, and you feel in safe hands, to get on with enjoying your day. You just know it is going to work out.
5. You get amazing photos
The benefits of having an engagement shoot aren’t just a learning experience of course! I almost forgot to mention the bit about the actual photos!!! After your engagement shoot you’ll receive a set of beautiful images of the two of you. Your nan will love them. You will too. And these aren’t wedding photos – they’re going to be of the two of you just how you are every single day. They capture a moment in time, a phase of your relationship where you’re happy and full of excitement for the future. You’ll treasure them just as much as you do your wedding pics!
6. It’s a pretty fun experience!
How busy are your weekends right now? How much time do you have to just relax and have fun together? Chances are, wedding planning is kind of a big thing in your lives. Those spreadsheets don’t update themselves, right? And there’s always an appointment to get to or a saving to be made… so you do official pre-wedding stuff, and you stay in and save up! So an engagement shoot will get you out of the house, together, doing something FUN.
Trust me on this! Yes, there’ll be a few nerves at first. But you will have such a good time – you’ll laugh and you’ll cuddle and you’ll go to your favourite places. What’s not to love? Enjoy the day out!
7. Suddenly the wedding on the distant horizon seems real!
Favourite locations for engagement shoots include a) the spot where you got engaged and b) around your wedding venue. This makes for a lovely reminder of where it all began, or an exciting look forwards to the big day itself! Suddenly you’re at one of your favourite places, with your photographer, and everything seems so very real! This is it – you’re going to be married! Eeeeeek!! From this point onwards everything will begin to fall into place with your planning and the days will begin to fly by… your wedding journey has really begun!
Contact & Bookings – Robin Goodlad Photography