What to expect from your engagement shoot / Part Two / The Shoot

Following on from part one in this series, I wanted to get straight into part two which is all about the actual shoot itself.

I explained previously that one of the main benefits of having an engagement shoot is to have the opportunity to work with your photographer before the big day.  Often my clients are booking me a year or more in advance, so it is vital that we have touch points throughout the build up to the wedding, in order to really get to know each other, so that everyone concerned is really comfortable on the day.  I always tell my clients that my aim is for me to feel like a friend with a camera on the day, rather than just that guy they've hired, so its super important that I make every effort in the run up to the wedding to create a memorable experience that always exceeds expectations.

Where possible, I will always intend to be accompanied to an engagement shoot with an assistant.  As well as the benefit of having someone work with me as we run the shoot, ensuring that we run to schedule and to help me out with reflectors and other gear, it is also sometimes the assistant that will be accompanying me on the actual wedding day.  Again this allows my couples to get to know my assistants in a really relaxed environment before the day.

All I ask from an engagement shoot is that we spend an hour or so hanging out at a cool location.  I try to make the session as relaxed and as informal as possible.  I really appreciate that often, before an engagement shoot, it may well have been a long time since the couple has been professionally photographed and that they may be feeling a little apprehensive.  So with this in mind, I often start off the session very simply and at a casual pace.  Often, when I start to photograph the couple and begin to show them some of the images off the back of the camera, they start to gain confidence and feel more comfortable.

I often get asked 'Do you pose people?, We don't want anything posed, we just want informal images'.  When I explore the conversation further with the couple, I often find that what they are in fact referring to is when a photographer puts his or her couple in a series of very stern, mannequin-like positions that are really uncomfortable and do not make them look like themselves when they look back at their photos.  What I actually do can I think be best described as informal direction in order to make you look like your best you.  With that I mean that I will direct you within a scene to ensure that we have both the best light and the most flattering arrangement to ensure that you both really shine.  The thing is though, is that it's all done within relaxed conversation and so will never seem like anything over directed or uncomfortable.  Its funny, often the client that was most apprehensive before the shoot, is always the most into it when we finally wrap up and its great to see that confidence really come through.

I hope this post has given you a sense of what an engagement shoot with myself is like.  It truly is a fun experience where we achieve some really great photographs of you as we celebrate your engagement.  In the next blog post in this series, we’ll go through what happens after the shoot, again taking you step by step through what to expect.  As always, if you have any questions about engagement shoots, please leave me a comment below.  I do review and reply  to all the comments myself, so I look forward to hearing from you.