Engagement Shoot – The Ultimate Guide
Having found this blog I’ll presume you know what a pre wedding shoot or engagement shoot actually is. But just to clarify it’s a photoshoot that happens before your wedding. But apart from this what do you actually know about them? I’m here to help you get a thorough understanding from the top reasons to have one, what to wear, and the best location hotspots. So you can have those wow factor photos that you love and want to share everywhere!
Top Reasons To Have An Engagement Shoot
The engagement photoshoot (or pre wedding shoot) has soared in popularity, and you can see why. From starting off as simple snaps and photo sessions to a full on masterpiece of beautiful art in a fantastic destination. However this isn’t the norm, most couples love to mark this occasion by celebrating their love for each other at a location that shares an important bond. It can also be about celebrating an important milestone, or dress up in your finest attire. This is the session to celebrate the way you want to, so you can look back at the photos in 10 years time and think wow I love these memories we created!
Mark A Relationship Milestone –
An engagement shoot is an amazing way to celebrate you two and your engagement. Whether you’re just about to propose with a photographer hiding in the background (this is how I celebrated my proposal) or you’ve been together for many years, your engagement is a massive relationship milestone. But this isn’t only special for you, it is also a special time for your loved ones. So why not have a photoshoot to remember this special time in your life?
It Helps With Wedding Planning –
Have you thought about how you can use your engagement photos? They’re not there to just sit on somewhere on your computer, never to see the light of day. There are so many uses you can use these photos when it comes to wedding plannings. From announcing your engagement on social media, using them of your save the dates, making your wedding website extra special. Let the photos share your happiness and build excitement for your wedding.
Use these photos to to print off and hang all around your house so you can relive this joyful moment.
Create A Bond With Your Wedding Photographer –
Ok, you’ve got me. This one is just my favourite top tip. I love engagement shoots. For most people you don’t spend everyday in front of a camera and one reason for why the engagement shoot is growing in popularity. They are the perfect way to break the ice, and help you feel comfortable in-front of a camera. Don’t forget your wedding photographer is most probably the person you’ll spend most of your wedding day with. So why not dip your toes in the water and experience what it’s like having them around? Think of this more as a trial run, sort of camera practice for your wedding day. This will greatly help you feel like you have more of a friend at your wedding rather than just a photographer.
Have A Fun Day/Days Out –
First things first – yes it can be multiple days. Wedding planning can start to feel a little overwhelming, so spending some quality you time together will help blow away any of that tension you’re feeling. So let’s take a minute to take a deep breath, relax and celebrate you two. But, before you jump into your Pinterest boards, and start to get engagement shoot ideas overload. Take time to work out what you both want to get out of an engagement shoot, maybe go down to your local cafe, take a walk and let your ideas unwind. So you’re ready to have a fun day out having your photo taken. But have you thought about glamming it up and making it real fancy. You could go for something more editorial style – the style that makes you look like you’ve stepped right out of Vogue. You don’t often get a chance to be photographer wearing your number one designer outfit. So why not make it into a weekend adventure? Why not choose a destination engagement shoot? Consider going to a place that means something to you. Perhaps the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean or rugged mountainous landscape of Norway. Or a location that is extra special to just you two like where you were proposed to or the country where you first traveled together as a couple.
The Best Time To Have An Engagement Shoot
Is there actually a best time to have an engagement shoot? No not really. But different times of day and seasons do effect the way your photos will turn out. For instance spring you’ll be able see n an abundance of colour from all the blossoming flowers where as during autumn you’ll have this beautiful vibrant orange hue filling the landscape. As for time of day to get the dreamy engagement photos your best bet would be to aim to be there an hour before sunset or for those early risers get there 30 minutes before sunrise. The light at this time is just gorgeous.
However don’t let this hod you back when you want to have the engagement shoot. You can choose to have your engagement photos taken as soon as you get engaged to mark the occasion. Or you can leave it until a few weeks before your wedding so you can have your last photos together as an unmarried couple. It really depends on the reason why you’re having your engagement photos taken.
Would you like to see the photos of previous engagement photos? Click the link below to see just how stunning they can be!
A Gorgeous Engagement At The Dramatic Kynance Cove
The Do’s And Do Not’s
Do: Choose Your Photographer Wisely –
Go with a photographer who understands who understands you, a photographer who shares your vision and most of all a photographer that you feel comfortable to be around. My top tip here is to set up a video call or go out for a coffee with your potential photographer so you get a feel for who they really are and how you get along. You can have the most perfect hair and make-up and the fanciest dress put together by the best stylist. But if you don’t feel comfortable around the person holding the camera it will result in the photos potentially looking awkward and at the end of the day not getting the engagement photos you had dreamed of having.
Do: Check In With Your Photographer –
Location, Location, Location. Firstly who else use to love that show. I digress. Choose a locations that has meaning to you two, but check in with your photographer as your photographer might know something different about this location that you didn’t. Like to get amazing photos here you might need to have the engagement shoot at sunrise rather than sunset due to where the light will be. Also they will be able to suggest a few locations that you had never thought of. Your photographer is in the best position to tell you whether a certain location will work for you. Your photographer has potentially already done a photoshoot in the same location so could also advise on the best time to have your shoot. This is important especially if you’re hoping to have it in a touristy place, a coastal location (those tide times can sometimes catch you out) or a location with unpredictable lighting.
Do: Arrive Ahead Of Schedule –
Arriving just ahead of schedule will help reduce all of that unwanted stress and nerves. You’ll have time to take a second to relax and prepare yourself before the engagement shoot starts. This will also give you extra time to with your photographer, the perfect moment to start chatting away so you can feel more at ease around them. Photographers generally will schedule photoshoots at a time when lighting is at its best. So if you end up running behind you might miss out on that all so perfect dreamy light and some amazing photo opportunities.
Don’t: Forget The Permit –
There are so many beautiful gardens and photography spots, particularly here in Cornwall. We are spoilt for choice. A little thing to bear in mind is that some locations are privately-owned and can charge fees. To give an example in Cornwall most footpaths and areas surrounding beautiful scenic vistas are public. However, there are some areas that are private but allow public access. Some of the most popular locations require permits for filming and commercial photography activities. So it is best to check in with your photographer in advance to see whether your location requires a permit. This could be a hidden cost as it isn’t always included in the fee.
Don’t: Go Overboard –
Style heavy engagement shoots can be fun but don’t forget to be yourself. If you decide to be more adventurous, stick to something that still expresses your character and has meaning to you. You’ll want engagement photos that aren’t just fancy but photos that tell your unique engagement love story.
Don’t: Neglect Comfort Over Fashion –
Only wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. This is important if you want to have natural-looking photos and an enjoyable experience. Go for clothing that lets you move freely. If you’re thinking of wearing a new piece of clothing, do a trial run at least the day before so you’ll know if it won’t work. Here’s a tip: If you can’t sit comfortably in it, don’t wear it.
Choosing The Location Of Your Engagement Shoot
Your choice in engagement shoot location sets the scene for your story. It creates the atmosphere in your photos. It has the ability for your friends and family to stand back at those photos and go wow! My personal favourites are either dramatic coastal locations (like Kynance Cove – check out an engagement shoot I did here recently), or the rugged mountains. To be honest I love to be able to create meaningful photos anywhere within nature they were just a couple of my favourites. There are so many fantastic options to choose from it could be hard to nail it down to just one. So, to help you figure this out, here are some of my top tips.
Find An Engagement Shoot Location That Suits You –
Your scenery plays a vital part in not only making your photos have that wow factor but it also has the ability to help you feel comfortable if you choose a location that holds meaning and that you’ve been to before. If you’re too shy to be around many people, a quiet spot along the coast is a good place to start. This is quite easy to find here in Cornwall out of tourist season. Even during summer your photographer will know some hidden gems, If you both love traveling, a destination engagement shoot to your favourite country will be a great idea.
Choose A Meaningful Location –
Sometimes, the best locations are the ones that mean something to you and play a part in your story as a couple. Think about your favourite beach or a local place where you like to go often. When you look back on your photos, you won’t just see pretty photos but you’ll also remember the fun times you both had.
Think About The Look –
Locations with a clean look (minimal objects in the background and lots of natural light) can be the most “photogenic” locations. They create a timeless backdrop that will make your photos look classy and elegant. But this isn’t alway the case sometimes a bit of texture in the landscape will make your photos pop. Ask your photographer as they will be able to offer the best advice on a particular location and if you can achieve the style you there.
Consider Where It Is –
First off think how hard your location is to get to. Some photographers might not be able to get to the same places you can. Also maybe you’re thinking about having your photoshoot in more than one location. If you are think about time frame and how far they are from each other as it might not be feasible all in one shoot. If you’re thinking of multiple locations your photographer will be able to give you the best advice.
Consider The Season –
So you’ve planned the engagement shoot from head to toe just to realise all the photos you like were taken in autumn but your engagement photoshoot is in spring. The season can help portray the feel of your photos for instance if you want photos showing you two wrapped up nice and warm walking through woodland autumn would be the best season for you to have your engagement shoot in. Or if you’d rather be surrounded by vibrant blossoming flowers spring time will be the best season for you.
To help find some epic locations for your engagement shoot here in Cornwall check out this blog post – Best Locations for an Engagement Photoshoot in Cornwall
What To Wear For Your Engagement Shoot
So, have you ever wondered what to wear for an engagement photoshoot? This is a hard one as you want to look your best but also feel comfortable and natural. After all these are photos you will treasure and could even be the centre piece at your wedding. Here are the only top tips you need to know when it comes to deciding on what to wear for your engagement shoot.
Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in, that makes you feel you –
If you’re a t-shirt kind of couple don’t go out spending hundreds of pounds on stylish dress and dazzling suit, you won’t feel you. Wear clothes that show off your personality as a couple. If it was me deciding on what to wear it would be a smart shirt and most probably chinos, with shoes dependent on where we were going.
Wear clothes that compliment each other but not matching –
Don’t go for matching outfits, it just doesn’t work. Especially an all denim affair (this is coming back into fashion, but it doesn’t look good on camera – trust me if it would work i’d do it). Go for colours that complement each other like pale blue and pink.
Choose pastel, cool colours and neutral tones –
Nothing vibrant, trust me on this. Unless your main point is to look like a neon sign, this could be your thing. You’ll leap off the page that’s for sure. You don’t want your clothes to do all the work and be the main focus, but to compliment you.
Think of your location and the season –
Plan for your location and season. For instance if you are going off the beaten track take the appropriate footwear. Also think about the weather, it can be unpredictable. Especially here in Cornwall (even on a summers day). I’m now daydreaming off to a nice exotic location where it’s always sunny and warm (you might of guessed but I’m writing this in winter, feeling like I need a little warming up).
Opt for the classic – there’s nothing better than a tailored suit –
Go for outfits that will remain timeless. You don’t want to look back on these in years to come and think what was I thinking! But do remember to think of where the engagement photoshoot is.
Aka bring a dog. Yes your dog is the perfect accessory and yes they can make for the perfect engagement photos, well in my point of view (check out my other blog about how to include a dog in your engagement photoshoot … if not I can loan out mine – haha). If accessories aren’t your thing, don’t force it. However, if you do love a little sparkle make sure to include it. Fun jewellery and scarves make great additions to your photos. Every accessory has the potential to tell more of your story.
Don’t feel you have to avoid patterns –
Often seen as an area to avoid but when done well it can work brilliantly. Go for larger patterns as these turn out better in photos. But don’t both of you be in patterns as this can clash and not make for the most flattering photos.
When in doubt dress it up –
You can never go wrong with going big and making it an unforgettable engagement session. But do take into account your location.
How Much Does It Cost?
That’s not quite as straight forward as it sounds. There isn’t simply a set figure to give you as there’s a lot of factors to consider. This is why I prefer to hop on a Zoom call so I can understand the engagement story you want told and prepare a tailored proposal just for your needs.
Here are a few things to think about. Is it going to be a simple and quick engagement shoot at a nearby location or is it going to be a multiple day editorial style shoot in Greece? Will you hire an inexperienced or a professional photographer? Would you need a hair and make-up artist to complete your look? Will the shoot require your engagement shoot team (photographer, hair, and make-up artist) to travel far to the shoot location?
Just like wedding photography, there’s also a big price range when it comes to engagement shoots depending on the combination of factors you choose. My advice is to figure out what the priority is and why this is so important to you before deciding what type of engagement shoot works and which photographer to go with. Set a budget you feel comfortable with but don’t base your decision entirely on price. Just bear in mind a general rule is the experience you have will relate to who is involved and the value they bring.
Top Tips For Your Engagement Shoot
Let It Sparkle –
Often included when you buy an engagement ring is an annual clean. My top tip here is to book in a clean just before your engagement shoot so you can really let it shine. There will be some photos taken of just the ring so you ant it looking its best.
Nail Time –
This is one of the hardest things I hard to convince my partner to do before proposing without hinting at what’s going on. Go and splash out have a manicure as you don’t want chipped, dirty, and unkempt nails distracting from your sparkly engagement ring. If you can choose a clear/neutral shade of nail polish as this will look nice and won’t distract from the ring.
What Wrinkle –
Choosing an outfit can be hard. But don’t let wrinkled or creased items of clothing will ruin your look. Steam or iron your outfits so you can look on top of the world. If you have any wrinkle remover spray bring it along with you to freshen up your clothes just before your engagement shoot.
There’s Nothing In My Pockets –
It’s best not to have anything in your pockets. Anything left in your pockets can lead to unflattering photos. You don’t want to be looking back at your photos and see the outline of your phone through your pocket.
Preparation Is Key –
Don’t try something new. Are you use to wearing heels? Yes they’re great for making your legs look longer but if you aren’t use to them it could lead to difficulty during the photoshoot and awkwardness in the photos. Maybe think about bringing two pairs of shoes – one pair of flats to walk around in and one pair to wear during the engagement shoot.
A Tan Isn’t Everything –
I can see everything you have on your to do list and applying fake tan is on there. But this may not be the best time to apply the fake tan. If it’s done incorrectly it could make your skin weird and leave your skin a bit too orange. If you feel like this is a must get it professionally (opting for a light and natural shade) done at least a week before.
It’s Time To Impress –
For women, long flowy dresses look best in photos. They’re also more comfortable and will allow you to move more freely so you can pose more naturally. For men, a dress shirt paired with trousers (or a suit, if you fancy it) will always look timeless and stylish.
Glam Up –
It’s time to bring in the professionals! Get your hair and make-up by an artist you love; maybe this could be a trial for your wedding day. Having this done before your engagement shoot will level up your photos. This can help you feel a little more glammed up and for many it can also help feel confident.
Devils In The Detail –
Accessories that show off who you are, when used in moderation, can help make your photos look dazzling and bring out your personality. The best props are the easiest to carry, like a beautiful bouquet of seasonal flowers, or to have by your side, like your furry four legged friend.
You’re so nearly there. It’s your time to go out enjoy this magical experience. HAVE AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!! Relax, trust your photographer and enjoy your engagement shoot!
Book Your Engagement Shoot
Thinking of having your own engagement shoot?
Drop Me A Message To See The Engagement Experience We Can Create. I can’t wait to hear of your engagement ideas!
Thank you for reading Engagement Shoot – The Ultimate Guide
You might also like:
Wedding Photographer: How To Choose The Right One For You?
How To Pick Your Perfect UK Wedding Venue – Your Ultimate Guide