I can't deny it. Engagement sessions make me one happy bunny. And for couples getting married I can't recommend them enough.
That hour you spend in front of the lens is one of the most important leading up to your wedding day. You get to know me and I get to know you. By the time our hour is up not only are we more relaxed in each other's company. But that mechanical "clicky" machine around my neck is far less frightening.
Thus, when it comes to the most important day of your life (that's your wedding day by the way), you're not phased one bit at being photographed. In fact, you're actually kind of into it.
And that's a place you NEVER thought you'd get to.
But an engagement session isn't just about getting you comfortable with the camera. It's also a chance for us to nail down what you like (and don’t like). As well as capturing some beautiful keepsake photographs of the two of you before the big day. Just check out my engagement gallery for a few examples.
So, if your engagement session is just around the corner, here are 5 top tips that I guarantee will result in the most beautiful photographs EVER…
1. PICK THE LOCATION YOURSELF
When it comes to location, I always encourage couples to pick a place that has special significance to them. You'd be amazed how much people light up when they're somewhere they know and love.
Of course I have a few locations up my sleeve that I know work brilliantly for engagement shoots. So if you're really struggling to think of somewhere I'll be happy to recommend some tried and tested spots.
But ideally it will be a place the two of you feel totally at home and at ease. I tend to avoid shooting at the wedding venue for engagement shoots because you're already getting lots of lovely photos taken there. The engagement session is all about capturing a unique set of images that are totally different from your wedding ones.
2. SHOOT AT FIRST (OR LAST) LIGHT
For engagement sessions I typically shoot either an hour after sunrise (for all your early bird bride and grooms) or an hour before sunset.
Of course if you prefer another time I'm totally open to this too but in my experience dusk and dawn are the VERY BEST times to shoot engagement photos. The lighting is (for lack of a better word) incredible. And as lighting plays a big part in photography, I like to take advantage of great natural light whenever I can.
For this reason, if you do decide to shoot either at sun up or sun down, remember to set those alarms and leave in plenty of time to reach your destination. We only have an hour together and unfortunately (while I'm very patient) daylight doesn't wait around.
3. WEAR WHATEVER YOU LIKE
What to wear is the thing couples fret about most when it comes to engagement sessions. Hell, it's the thing us girls fret about most days of the week! (Myself included). Let me let you into a little secret: there is no right or wrong way to dress for an engagement shoot.
Sure you might share these photos with your friends, family and hundreds of Instagram followers. But more than anything these photos are for you. So DO YOU. And dress in something that feels comfortable and right.
Some photographers will tell you not to wear certain colours, patterns, or jeans. I say, wear whatever the hell you like! If you feel good this translates into awesome photos. So stick on an outfit that makes you feel a million bucks and the rest will follow.
4. JUST ACT NATURAL
People are sometimes cynical about engagement shoots because they think the concept is a little cheesy. And that may be so with some photographers but not (you'll be delighted to hear) with me.
One of the reasons I LOVE photography (and I really do love it) is the chance to capture something real. A genuine moment that unfolds naturally WITHOUT coercion. In other words something that would happen the camera wasn't there.
And that's exactly how every shot you see in my engagement gallery came about. By putting two people in love in their element and watching them interact. Think of me like David Attenborough. Observing from afar. Capturing what's real. There's no showboating where my shoots are concerned. All I ask is that you show up and be yourself.
I'll take care of the rest.
5. KEEP AN OPEN MIND
My final tip for engagement shoot success is a simple one: Be open-minded. And actually, more than that, don't be afraid to let go a little. I'm a great secret keeper so anything that happens on an engagement shoot stays on the engagement shoot. Pinky promise.
As a married gal I've been on the other side of the lens myself. So I know how it feels to be in your shoes. And yes, trying to forget about the presence of a camera (and a third wheel) while you're out on a romantic stroll with your fiancée isn't easy. But hey, life gets a little weird sometimes! This is just one of those occasions.
So enjoy it. It's only for an hour and it will fly by in a flash. And if there's something you want to try, speak up and we'll give it a go. I'm not precious about my work. I'm happy if you're happy. And engagement sessions are all about you: the engaged couple. So let's get some amazing shots of the two of you at the happiest time of your life.