So you're engaged (woo hoo). And the whole world knows about it.

You've phoned a friend (Chris Tarrant style), updated your Facebook status (like) and instagrammed the shiny new sparkler on your ring finger with the caption "I said yes" #gettingmarried

The news is well and truly out. So why then do you need an engagement shoot?(Oooh if I had a pound for every time someone asked that….) You see, an engagement shoot isn’t just about announcing your big news. In fact, that's not really what an engagement shoot is about at all. So if you've set the date for the big day (with the intention of sidestepping the engagement session) here are 5 reasons why you should reconsider. Before it's too late…

Rhinefield drive new forest engagement photos
autumn engagement photography rhinefiled drive
candid engagement photography new forest

1. It’s great practice for your wedding photos

Unless you're a model, being photographed on a regular basis probably isn't part of your usual daily routine. So being thrust in front of a camera on the most important day of your life (when you're no doubt already nervous) isn't going to make you feel much better.

Unfortunately your wedding is the one day you can't avoid the camera. And even the most sensitive and unobtrusive of photographers (like me) will be documenting everything you do. From fastening your cufflinks and saying your "I dos" to taking to the floor for your first dance. Prepare to hear that camera clicking at every twist and turn. That's one reason why engagement shoots are so great. They give you a practice run in front of the camera BEFORE your wedding day dawns. That way, when the time comes, having your photograph taken isn't such an intimidating prospect. You don't have to worry about getting it wrong.After, all, when it comes to your wedding day, there are no "do overs".

summer engagement photos in new forest
engagement photographs new forest summer time

2. You confirm if we're the right fit

Every wedding photographer has their own unique way of working - and their own individual style. You'll get a sense of that from my portfolio. And when we meet for the first time.

But if you don't book an engagement shoot, then the very next time we'll see each other is the morning of your wedding. At which point it's too late to turn back. Now I'm not saying there's any reason why we wouldn't work together well. I LOVE my job, you love each other, it's a match made in heaven. And I've got a black book of brides and grooms who are all too happy to say nice things about me (thanks guys!). But when it comes to seeing how I work as a photographer, nothing compares to the real thing.And that's where an engagement session comes in.The hour we spend together will quickly get you up to speed with how things will be on the day of your wedding. Don't forget I'm with you every step of the way. Including those private moments guests don't get to see. So it's great if we get to know each other a little better beforehand. And an engagement shoot is the perfect opportunity to do this.

sunset on west whittering beach engagement session
west wittering beach engagement photos

3. You can use the photos FOR your wedding

From table plans, menu cards and place settings. To guest books, table favours and invitations. When it comes to stationary, weddings give Ryman a run for their money.

This is where engagement photographs really prove their worth. Not only do they give you a unique keepsake that captures the two of you at your happiest. Who wouldn't want that? But the professional shots we take can be incorporated into your wedding day. Whether as a part of a slideshow, welcoming guests on arrival to your venue. Or as a Save The Date card reminding them to block out the day in their diary.Your engagement shots are yours to keep EXCLUSIVELY and do whatever you like with. There's no limit to where and how you use them.

southampton engagement session autumn
autumn engagement photos southampton
love autumn engagement sessions

4. Your wedding photos won't be the only professional pics of the two of you

Pretty much every couple today has hundreds of candid photos taken via camera phone. Most of which never make it any further than your photo stream. But, very few people can claim to have professional shots of themselves, beyond their wedding day ones.

An engagement session changes this. Giving you a second set of beautiful images that are yours for life. And (thanks to the magic of digital photography) 100% replaceable in the event of fire, loss or damage. Not to mention, they capture you at your most natural. In clothes you feel comfortable in, and at a location you know and love. Professional photographs are becoming increasingly rare in this digital day and age. But there's still an art to taking the perfect picture. Something camera phones can't compete with. So even if you struggle to see the value in engagement photographs today, I guarantee you'll appreciate them a few years down the line.

virgina waters engagement session autumn
candid wedding photography engagement sessions

5. You capture a moment you'll never relive

And I know that sounds a little corny, maybe even more than a little. But hey, I'm a hopeless romantic at heart (helps with the day job). And part of the reason I love photographing couples is to immortalise special moments in this way.For me, this is one of the best reasons to take up an engagement session. Sure you'll always have a ring on your finger to look down on. But for most people, an engagement takes place in private, away from prying eyes and witnesses. By having professional engagement photograph you'll always be able to see the look on your face, the moment you knew you would spend the rest of your lives together.That (to me at least) is priceless.

natural and relaxed wedding and engagement photography
happy couple phots engagement sessions hampshire

Engagement shoots are included as part of our full day wedding photography packages or bookable directly by visiting T&Cs apply.