Wednesday, 20 March 2013


One question I find I get asked alot, or rather one set of questions, relates to engagement shoots. I love this aspect of the wedding coverage but I do think it can be quite confusing for couples to know what one entails so I thought I'd write this little blog post to help clear things up, or at least explain the way I see it.

What is an engagement shoot? 

One of the reasons I decided to rename my engagement shoots to Love shoots is because I felt that it better summed them up. Pre-wedding shoot was too literal but you could call it that if you liked. In essence, it's a shoot, on location for some reasons I'll come to in a bit, it celebrates the fact you're in love and it can work as a little bit of a dry run for the wedding itself. 

Some couples tell me "that ship has sailed" by which they mean they've been engaged for ages and don't feel the need to make a song and dance or have specific engagement photos, the kind you might have once used in the newspaper; but the point of getting together and taking some photos of the two of you before your wedding or civil partnership is twofold. Firstly you get to have some awesome photos of the two of you in a non-wedding setting and secondly you get to spend some dedicated time with your wedding photographer before the day. All my couples are nervous, none of them are professional models and almost all of them have left after spending time with me on an engagement shoot saying how much fun they've had. You get to understand what kind of direction your photographer might give, they get to understand your little quirks and together, it makes it all the easier to create magic in those 20 minutes or so you might have on your wedding day. I do it on location so we can combine somewhere that means something, and work in a way that's similar to the big day itself.

What to wear?

In a nutshell, wear whatever you like. There's a lot to be said for getting a bit dressed up - wear a cute dress or a new shirt, and some heels or your coolest retro trainers; slick on some lippie, do your hair. I can even arrange for a make-up artist if you'd like. I love Claire's floor length sequin dress (although it was part of a Photography Farm shoot, it was also their real engagement session.) Whatever you do, you want to feel like yourself. I often say 'make sure you're comfortable' and by that I mean, comfortable in your choices and yourself - there's no point being dressed to the nines if it isn't you. The images should be true to who you are and that's why I'd never tell you what to wear.

You could think about complimentary or clashing colours - how is what you're going to wear going to work with your surroundings? Fun and unusual accessories could add a touch of whimsy or if it was a winter's day in the country side, a thick padded coat and metres of scarves could suggest protection from the elements and it would be awesome to wrap each other up in the warmth.

Picking a location

Again, this is entirely up to you. You might want to commemorate a place or a time; your first date, your old hangout or your favourite market. You might love museums, love the beach or love walking your dog in the woods. I've shot at a steam railway, in a Victorian Palm House, the backstreets of Spitalfields, in a pub where the couple met for their first date, the South Bank centre, Deptford Market, The Regents Canal and more London Parks than I can shake a stick at.

I'd also really like to do a shoot in Peckham Multi story car park, and finish it off with a drink at Franks bar at the top one summer - all that concrete, geometry and the view of the London skyline? 

You might want to pick a location that's completely different to your wedding venue - urban grit vs provincial prettiness or vice versa. I like to think that the way I shoot means that I can capture intimacy and beauty anywhere - the location doesn't really matter, it doesn't have to be the prettiest or the coolest but if it means something to you, all the better.

It's always worth checking, though, that if you want your shoot in a private building - might be a cafe or a pub or a gallery - that the owners are happy. Tell them your love story - how could they say no?

Should I bring anything?

I don't bring any props with me as a matter of course, and it all stems from the thought that these shoots should be all about you. I would however, love it if you brought along anything that you want to use, something you feel sums you up or is important to you and bring along some objects can certainly help to break the ice at the beginning of a shoot. Equally I'd love to collaborate on any creative concepts you might have and help you source props, locations or anything else you might need.

Truth and beauty

I'm a big lover of truth and beauty in photos, and almost as a direct contrast from the above paragraph, I feel you don't need much at all to create beautiful, truthful photos. I want to see your eyes light up when you smile, your nose wrinkle up when you laugh, want to see the way you look at each other like there's no one else around. I want you to feel the love pouring through your images. I want you to look back on them when you're 60 and feel it too. Stop being your own worst critic and enjoy.

For more information on Love Shoots check out here. I take bookings for standalone couple shots and family shoots which I tackle in the same creative, heartfelt way  


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