So before I get into the engagement shoot ideas and advice, I guess your first question might be…
Why should I have an engagement shoot in the first place?
Well, there are a few reasons. Firstly, a lot of people find the photography aspect of their wedding the most nerve-wracking. They think it’s going to be super-awkward with them being put into weird poses that just don’t feel natural, and it’s going to be embarrassing and horrible and blah blah blah. Now, I’m not going to lie and say “you’ll feel totally relaxed the entire time and you won’t even know I’m there!” That would be silly, because obviously I can’t make myself invisible. You will see me, and you might feel a little awkward at first, but I can promise you that I will help you to relax and after just a few minutes you will start to enjoy yourself.
The second reason to have an engagement shoot is because you will get to know your photographer a bit better. I can’t stress how important it is to feel comfortable around your photographer, they’re going to be around you all day at your wedding! I find that often the couples who have had an engagement shoot will look more relaxed and natural in their photos, purely because they they know me and have spent time with me before.
The third reason is that you just get some lovely photos of the two of you before you tie the knot! How often do you get to have a professional photographer take your photo? It’s an opportunity to get creative and think about the type of photos you would like. Some people even use them for their invites or their save the dates, which I think is a great idea!
Engagement shoot ideas – location
Well now that I’ve convinced you to have an engagement shoot, where should you have it?
I find a lot of people pick local parks, mainly because that’s what they have seen in other people’s engagement shoot photos. Shoots in parks or wooded areas can be really beautiful, I just want you to know that there are other options too.
I usually tell people to think of somewhere that means something to them, or to go somewhere and do something that they would usually do together. These are nice ideas because you will get photos that show you in your normal life. Perhaps you always go for a walk and a pub lunch together, we could do that!
However there is always the option to pick somewhere just for the very reason that it will look brilliant in photos. I love the Shoreditch area of London for this reason. There are so many colourful walls and interesting backdrops and it’s constantly changing! Just going for a walk around this area together and taking photos as we go makes for a great engagement shoot.
Here are some other engagement shoot ideas that I would LOVE to do with a willing couple:
- A shoot in a bookshop – maybe you guys are both bookworms and love reading, let’s do a shoot amongst the books!
- A shoot in a cool, quirky coffee shop – love going for coffee and cake? Me too!
- A shoot at a fairground – think how colourful and fun this would be! This would work especially well if you dress a bit retro.
- A shoot in a steam train – for that cool, vintage travel look.
- A shoot at the beach – this would be great fun in the summer
- A shoot at a botanical garden – how about Kew gardens? That would be beautiful!
- A shoot at home – does your house have loads of natural light? We could do a lovely ‘at home’ shoot there like these guys!
- A shoot at a museum – if you’re feeling a bit arty.
These are just a few possibilities, I will write a blog post with a few specific Surrey and London based engagement shoot ideas at some point in the near future. It’s fun to think a bit outside the box and means that your photos will be a bit more creative and unique.
Other inspiring engagement shoot ideas
Besides the location choice there are other things that you can do with your engagement shoot that can make it fun and unique. Here are a few ideas:
- You could bring your pet along – like these guys! I love animals (except spiders. Please don’t bring a spider!) and I think shoots including dogs, cats, rabbits, elephants, etc are so much fun.
- You could bring props – perhaps some big balloons, or lots of small colourful balloons like in Up!
- You could do an activity – if you like cycling, bring your bikes along and I’ll do my best to keep up! Maybe you like dancing, we could go to your dancing social and I can get some photos of you there.
- Perhaps you love a game of Monopoly or Cluedo in your spare time? Bring your board games, we’ll go to a nice pub and get some photos there!
These are just off the top of my head, I’m sure you could come up with some fun ideas as well if you give it some thought. Get in touch with your ideas, I would love to hear them!
What to wear for your engagement shoot?
This is a subject that a lot of people want to know about, and I can offer you a few hints for what works well, but my main advice would just be to wear something that you feel great in. You want to feel like You At Your Best. You can wear something brand new, or something you’ve had for ages, as long as it makes you feel fabulous.
I can offer a few bits of advice:
- Dress for the season – it’s going to look strange if you’re out in the freezing cold wearing just a t-shirt, or sweating away in your favourite knitted jumper during the height of summer.
- Don’t wear anything with big logos on – this is distracting in the photos.
- Wear colours that compliment each other without being too matchy-matchy.
- If we’re going to be doing a lot of walking (which is often the case) wear clothes and shoes that you’re going to feel comfortable in.
- A pop of colour works really well in photos – so if you’ve got a bright red coat or a mustard yellow jumper that you just love, wear it!
- Accessories work really well to add variety – bring along a chunky necklace, a scarf, some sunglasses, perhaps a hat. These can all be added and removed to create a few different looks.
How to prepare for your engagement shoot
In order to look your best you really want to be feeling your best, so here are a few tips to make that happen.
- Have a relaxing evening beforehand and get a reasonably early night – you want to feel rested and alert on the day.
- If possible, try to lay off the alcohol and crappy food in the days leading up to the shoot – eating lots of vegetables and cutting down on the booze can work wonders!
- Sort out your outfits the day before – you don’t want to be panicking about this the day of the shoot. If you’re going to paint your nails make sure you do this in advance too.
- Make sure you get up in plenty of time to have some breakfast and not be too rushed before you leave. The last thing you want is to feel flustered!
Booking your engagement shoot
If you would like to book me as your wedding photographer and include an engagement shoot in your package then you can go ahead and fill in my contact form to get in touch. Please note that engagement shoots will need to be on a weekday so you may need to take time off from work. Maybe plan something fun for afterwards and make a day of it?!
You don’t have to be getting married to have a couple’s portrait shoot! So if you would just like to book a couple’s shoot please contact me.
I would like to keep adding to this post so if you have any questions that you would like answered, or if you have any amazing engagement shoot ideas, I would love to hear them!