For most of us, stepping in front of the camera is a bit of a nerve-wracking prospect, so is the best time to do it on our wedding day, when obviously we dream of amazing photos that will last us a lifetime? So, what is an engagement shoot and what are the benefits of having one before your wedding day?
What is an engagement shoot?
An engagement shoot is simply a mini photo session that you have at some point, after your engagement, but before your wedding day. It’s also frequently called a pre-wedding shoot.
Let’s chat about the various benefits of taking time out for your own engagement shoot and the reasons why you might want to consider it.
Where and when does your engagement shoot take place?
Your engagement photos can take place at any point up to the big day. I always say to couples that it’s great to have a bit of variety in your photos, so if you’re having a winter wedding, why not consider a nice summery photo session so you have a chance to experience all the seasons in your pictures? But really, it’s down to you! I had one couple do their engagement shoot two days before the wedding after they’d flown in from overseas so there are really no rules…
As for location, again, it’s totally up to you. Some couples pick a location they just like the look of. Others go with a contrasting location to their future wedding photos, i.e. their wedding venue is a very rustic barn so they picked a graffiti covered city centre location for the pre-wedding engagement shoot. Some choose close to home, at home or a location special to them (like the location of their engagement itself). Again, the sky is the limit!
Let’s look at the benefits of having a photo shoot before your wedding:
1. Get yourself relaxed before the big day
The biggest benefit is definitely that it’s a great way of getting more relaxed in front of the camera which leads to better portraits on your wedding day.
You will only have a short time away from your guests on your wedding so if you have the added bonus of muscle memory and remembering how to be comfortable in front of the camera quickly then you get to make the most of that time together.
2. Take a little couple time!
Unless you’re professional models you’ve probably never had this type of couples session before and you’ll probably be a bit wary about getting your photo on. But I promise you it’ll be really fun! And in the run up to your wedding it can be a lot of time spent in a whirlwind of budgets, table plans and other admin so it’s important to take some special time out and really enjoy the whole process of getting married.
And then you’ll have these beautiful photos to look back on too – double bonus!
3. Get to know your wedding photographer
One of the most important aspects of your day will end of being your wedding photographer. I’m not saying that because I’m a photographer – honestly! But your photos will become your lasting memory of your day and you’ll be making a major investment in a professional photographer, but also because they are one of the people that will be around you for the longest. So it’s really important that you can build trust with them and build up a good rapport.
And it’s also really important to any good photographer that they want to get to know you both too.
Getting to know each other better before the day will help with being relaxed in front of the camera again and in turn better photos.
4. It’s a celebration all of its own!
One of the top reasons to have an engagement shoot is to celebrate the fact that you are an engaged couple! I think that in the UK we don’t really throw engagement parties enough and engagement tends to be brushed over on the way to the aisle.
But this is exciting! Congratulations! And it’s the perfect chance to celebrate this step of your love story. Why not eh?
(Plus, I can put up a blog post of your photos for you so you can show off all about your engagement to your friends!)
5. You get great photos
I know this one seems sort of obvious, but how many photos do you have of yourselves together that you didn’t take as a selfie that don’t live on social media? Do you have any professional photos of you two together?
While primarily it’s a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera and have fun, you can also use the photos from your engagement photo session in some super fun and creative ways. Have you ever received a gorgeous, personalised save the date card or been to a wedding and seen guest books or signing frames with the couples’ amazing images in them? You can do that too with these photos!
What are you thinking, have I persuaded you about how amazing pre-wedding shoots are? Do you think you’d like an engagement shoot before your wedding day? If so, I’d love to chat to you about it. And if you’re not quite at that stage of your planning yet, why not take a lot at some more St Albans wedding photography and see if I might be a good fit for your day?