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How to Prepare for your Engagement Shoot (& Get Awesome Photos!)

The ultimate guide to making the most of your engagment shoot…

How to prepare for your engagement shoot

So you’ve booked an engagement shoot… how exciting! I love Engagement shoots- they’re a great way to get some amazing photos of the two of you, whilst getting to know your photographer, and getting comfy in front of the camera! Read on for some top tips with you on how to prepare for your engagement shoot, and how to make the most of the day! From picking the best time and location, to choosing what to wear, this ultimate guide will get you Engagement shoot ready in no time!

 

1) Location, location, location

I think it’s super important that YOU have a big input on this one. Engagement shoots should be a reflection of the two of you- a way of telling a little but of your story, so have a think about locations that mean something to you.

It could be a location of one of your first, or most memorable dates. It might be somewhere that you visit often together and holds a lot of memories for you. It might be that you have a certain hobby or activity that you love doing together. Are you countryside people or city folks? It might even be that you love to snuggle under a blanket on your sofa and you fancy an ‘At Home’ shoot.

Whatever you choose, your photos are always that but more lovely if they have some meaning behind them, and a bit of a personal touch. That being said, if you’re stuck, give me a shout! I’m always happy to suggest a spot or do some location scouting for you.

2) Time it right! This one is entirely up to you! When to have your shoot depends on you two and what you’re looking for. If you’d like lovely photos to use on your wedding stationery, I’d recommend having your shoot around a year before the big day. However, if you want to use the shoot as a practice for the wedding, 1-3 months before is ideal, so that it’s all fresh in your head! We can chat about the right time for you. (Please bare in mind that shoots are trickier for me to fit into my diary during peak wedding season!)

Lots of my Engagement Shoots tend to take place in the Spring or Autumn, as these are lovely times of year, with all the blossom and spring flowers and colourful foliage appearing. Perhaps a particular season is your absolute fave… maybe you met in the autumn, or you really love snuggling up in woolly jumpers in winter. The different seasons give totally different looks to your photos and I’m up for anything!

P.S. A little note on times of day to have your shoot – and its a nerdy photographer one. As you might have noticed, I’m a bit obsessed with beautiful light. Generally, the light gets even more gorgeous in the early morning, or as you go later into the afternoon, so if the diary permits, try to schedule your shoot accordingly. I absolutely bloody love the ‘golden light’ you get as the sun starts to set, so if you’d like to do a sunset shoot, I’m definitely up for that!

 

3) What to Wear

This is probably one of the first things you think of when you’re planning how to prepare for your engagement shoot. One of the biggest thing to consider when choosing your outfits, is wearing things that make you feel great about yourself! Aim for something comfortable, that makes you feel your absolute best. You’re very welcome to plan an outfit change if you want to go for two looks, too!

When it’s cold, layers look ace- get cosy with hats and scarves and layers that you can take off/ mix and match to give you a bit of a varied look to the photos.

If it’s hot or the sun is really bright, grab your sunnies and fab summer outfits, and make sure to pop on some suncream! If it’s super bright, I’ll generally be looking for a mix of sunlight and shade, and ways to use the light in cool ways.

If (and this is the one we all worry about, right?) it’s wet… I’m totally happy to embrace the rain! Grab a brolley, stick on your wellies and let’s make like Gene Kelly and sing in the rain. We can find somewhere with inside space to dry off and enjoy a snuggly cup of coffee too.

When choosing your outfits, aim to co-ordinate… you want to look like a couple after all! But try not to be too matchy-matchy- it looks a bit odd in photos if you’re both in the same colour (think bad 90s boyband! Or Posh & Becks…) so aim for complimentary colours instead. 

 

4) What Not To Wear

Ok, so you know me… I’m not one for rules. I’m not going to tell you that you can’t wear something you love! What I would say, it try not to wear something uncomfortable, or too tight, or restrictive- you’ll only end up worrying about it, fiddling with it, and looking uncomfortable! It’s super important that you relax and feel like you.

The only other thing to note is that very fine checks and patterns can warp a bit on camera, so avoid those if you can. 

5) Travel Light!

Is that your phone in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me? Haha! Pardon the cheekiness, but if I can see your phone/ wallet/ keys in your pocket, so can my camera! Try to keep them out of sight (this is a good tip for your wedding day too!), or you’re more than welcome to pop them in my bag for safe keeping- just remember to grab them back off me at the end!

 

6) What to Do!

So you probably aren’t used to professional photoshoots, and you might not be too keen on having your photo taken. But fear not! You’re not alone! Pretty much all of my couples say the same thing to me, and they all head away feeling chilled and relaxed about it all! I hate having my photo taken too, so I know it feels mega awkward to pose and pretend… so I don’t make you do it!

They key thing to remember about your shoot is to enjoy it. Treat it like a date day, enjoy each other’s company and pretend I’m not there! Your engagement shoot is a great excuse to have fun, and be your wonderfully weird selves. Chat, hold hands, have a cuddle… you do you. And if in doubt, kiss! A lovely genuine kissing shot always looks cute, and your reactions afterwards are awesome too.

 I aim to capture the gorgeous interactions between the two of you – your personalities, the love, laughter, romance and silliness. I would much rather capture a picture that looks real, than one which is posed and fake. So don’t worry about me – I am just there to photograph the moments between the two of you. And fret not… I’ll always help you out if you don’t know how to stand or what to do with your hands, plus I’ll make sure you are always looking ace beautiful light and awesome backdrops behind you – so don’t worry about a thing.

Sometimes I’ll ask you to look at each other, or at the camera, but you can still just keep it chill! Relax, be you. I won’t lie, it will be weird at first, but it really will get easier as you settle in and as our session goes on… you might even enjoy it in the end! 

7) If you want to… bring props!

Ok, I know it sounds weird, but hear me out. Props can be a great way to make a fun picture, making it really unique to you – and it can make it easier to be in front of the camera if you have something to do with your hands! Feel free to bring along anything that is relevant to you both; favourite books, a blanket and pretty cakes for a bit of a picnic (although I’m not promising I won’t eat them), your dog, anything goes! If there is something specific you’d like – give me a shout and we’ll try to make it happen! Equally, if you’ve seen a shot or location you love, or there’s a particular activity you want to do, feel free to ping me a pic or a message, and we’ll see what we can do! Props are totally optional though, just bringing your bad selves if perfect.

8) Make a day of it!

You’re going to be at your most relaxed on the day, if you’ve already done something fun in the morning. Head out for brunch, or a wander by the river. Go on a bike ride, or just snuggle up and watch a movie. If you’re all loved up and happy before you arrive, it will show on your faces at the shoot! Similarly, give yourselves something fab to look forward to afterwards. Head out on a date somewhere you love. Plan a night out with friends. Book a spa evening… whatever you fancy! Making an occasion of it is a lovely way to relax and make happy memories.

9) And finally… enjoy it!

As much as you might be feeling a little bit nervous, an engagement shoot is a great opportunity for us to get to know each other, and for the two of you relax, laugh, and cuddle, while creating some AWESOME photographs that you will want to put all over your walls. Enjoy every little minute!

Bonus Tip:

Want to know what to do with all those lovely photos ? Well as well as prints (which you can order straight from your lovely digital gallery by the way 😉 ), why not:

-Use them on your wedding website? Gettin’ Hitched Rocks does fab wedding websites to make your wedding totally stress free!

-Thank you cards for any engagement gifts! (You can order these from me through the gallery too 😉 😉 )

– They are also fab for your stationery and Save The Dates – check out Hawthorne & Ivory’s gorgeous Photo Save The Dates.

 -Some framed engagement photos at the wedding or in your guest book look so cute! 

-If you want to go the whole hog, you could even order photo stamps for sending your wedding invites! Check them out here on the Royal Mail website 

Cute engagement shoot in Sefron Park

If you’re thinking of booking an engagement shoot, or you have any questions about how to prepare for your engagement shoot, feel free to give me a shout! I’m always happy to chat all things Engagement Shoot! You can also find more fab engagement photos on the blog. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Rachel Burt Photography

Hey! I'm Rach- a craft nerd, serial Netflix binging, tea-o-holic, peanut butter loving, music geek who loves to travel. I’m also a kick-ass documentary wedding photographer who loves quirky, relaxed couples who like to do things differently. I love colourful weddings and non-traditional couples planning their day, their way.
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