So you’re looking at booking your wedding photographer and getting into the nitty gritty of what’s out there and the different bits and bobs you could include in your wedding photography package; and you come across the option of an ‘engagement session’. What’s that I hear you ask, why would I want one of those? Well let me tell you a bit more about my engagement sessions and why I include them as a part of my full day packages….So, what is an engagement session?
An engagement session is, quite simply, a portrait shoot of the two of your together during the ‘engagement period’ before the big day.
Why is it so valuable?
As a couple who likely has never been photographed professionally before, the engagement session is one of the greatest services you can take advantage of prior to your wedding.
Establishing a relationship with your photographer before your wedding will make a huge difference to the outcome of your wedding images. Spending a few hours getting to know me, chatting with me, having fun and getting photographed all at the same time, will make the wedding day photographs feel like a breeze. It’s basically a chance to practice being photographed together as a couple by me and in my style, and you will soon realise that being photographed by me is not only so much easier than you may have thought, but is also a lot of fun.Moreover I will take note of how you interact with each other, your individual personalities and even your quirks. These mental notes will help me to capture the moments on the wedding day that are unique to just the two of you.
Once you see your engagement images and get excited about them, you’ll have more confidence in yourselves and in your photographer. When the time comes to tie the knot, you’ll look forward to having your pictures taken, instead of dreading the thought of having a camera pointed at you all day. Where will we have the session?
Firstly we pick a location and time for your shoot. The location is important as it can determine the look and feel of the shoot, so picking somewhere connected to you both and your personalities works best. It doesn’t have to be somewhere specific that you have spent a lot of time together (although that can be great) but rather pick somewhere that reflects who you are as a couple. So if you are a couple who spend a lot of time outdoors, walking or exploring nature, pick somewhere with amazing views and nice walks. If you love old buildings or visiting quaint villages, pick somewhere like that. Not only will your location choice mean the engagement session images reflect what you like to do, but it will mean you feel more comfortable and able to be yourselves in you are in a familiar environment. How does an engagement session work?
It can be difficult to visualise what an engagement session entails, especially if you have a no experience of a professional photo shoot before, or if your experiences have been in stuffy studios with weird props and some chap telling you to ‘smile’!
This can’t be further from what you will experience on an engagement session with me. There are no pre-chosen poses or location spots we must tick off, and there’s certainly no cheesy smiling at the camera; we just take a walk together, chat about you and your big day (and often ramble on about random subjects!) and stop and shoot along the way. I’m always looking out for beautiful spots, and more importantly beautiful light, so if I see something I like we stop and spend a little time in that location just chatting and shooting 🙂 Don’t panic, I will give you some gentle direction to help you along the way. I don’t do ‘poses’ but I will suggest a few gentle guides to interaction, I will see how you are together and how you’re comfortable and work my direction around that. If you’re quite reserved and hate public displays of affection, rest assured I won’t have you doing anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you are exuberant and outgoing I won’t set up stiff and reserved poses either, it’s all about who you are as a couple. When should we have our engagement session?
Timing for a session depends on two things; locations and time of year. The best time for a session is early in the morning or in the evening, which is when the light is at its most pretty. It’s also the time when most places tend to be quieter, means a bit more privacy.
What should we wear?
First and foremost you need to feel like yourself and comfortable! There is no ‘certain’ way to dress for an engagement session, but there are a few little hints and tips that could result in better images.
Wear something that flatters, it might sound obvious but somethings photograph more flatteringly than others. For example, for a woman anything that highlights the waist is perfect. Be it a fitted coat, dress or even t-shirt, something that comes in at the waist and at the small of the back is best for flattering pictures. You may be photographed from different angles so in something loose or baggy you may lose the shape of your body, making you look bigger than you are.
Co-ordinating clothing isn’t necessary, and I don’t really encourage matching outfits. Clothes in complementing or harmonious colours work well; and softer, brighter shades help you to stand out from the background and are more flattering on skin tones. It is a good idea to make sure the style of your outfits fit, so if one of you is dressing fairly smartly the other should complement.
In winter try to avoid large bulky and dark coats, go instead for layers. Jackets, scarves, hats and wellies are great for a colder shoot, but big bulky coats hide your body language and aren’t very flattering for photographs. We are nervous in front of the camera! I hate having my photo taken, is this really for me?
Yes, yes and absolutely yes; an engagement session is absolutely for you. I know it’s easier said than done, but please don’t worry about being ‘bad’ in front of the camera! I have photographed loads and loads of couples, and I can honestly say not a single one of those couples, no matter how much they swore that they would be, were ‘terrible’ at having their picture taken! They may have been nervous, awkward even at the beginning, but getting you to feel less awkward and less uncomfortable is my job; and I’ve been told I’m pretty darn good at it 😉
You are having an engagement session to document the love you have for your future spouse. Concentrate on that, relish in that, and focus on your upcoming marriage and you’ll be just fine, I promise! Most importantly, have fun!
Your engagement session should be fun! Remember these are the photos that basically announce to the world that you’re getting married. Unlike the wedding, you’re not rushing, there’s no deadline, and you can focus on simply being in the moment.
So relax, enjoy, and have fun.