Everything you need to know about engagement shoots
So, what is an engagement shoot and why should you do one? Well, firstly besides the obvious being that you get the end result of keeping some epic portrait photos of you and your lover, you also learn how to get used to being in front of the camera. It’s basically a practice run for your wedding day and a chance to get out all of those nervous camera jitters. Not only that, it gives you an opportunity to get to know your wedding photographer and how they work. The shoot is a whole lot of fun and I can’t think of a single shoot where we all haven’t been in hysterics.
In my experience, I always find that couples really benefit from having an engagement shoot, as they then feel a lot more relaxed, comfortable and confident about the photography on their wedding day. So, while you may feel a bit unsure about doing an engagement shoot, it actually will be a really worthwhile investment of your time, and you will definitely enjoy it once you get into it!
But just to help you out even more, here are some tips to help you feel photo ready!
First, pick your location
I always recommend that it should ideally be somewhere that means something to the two of you, and suits your style – maybe somewhere that you like to visit together, a stroll you took on a first date, the picnic place you loved, the location of your proposal or the beach where you leapt off the sand dunes that time. Of course, if you are stuck for ideas I know quite a few epic locations in Victoria along the Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, Geelong and throughout country Victoria that make for stunning backdrops. But it’s always great if it’s somewhere that means something to you though, as it will make your pictures even more memorable.
Next, what should you wear?
My first bit of advice for deciding on what to wear is to choose something you are comfortable in. If you’re not a hair up, high heels kind of girl then wearing that because you think you are supposed to means you won’t feel like you! Choose an outfit that you feel good in, it’ll boost your confidence and that will make a big difference in photos. Go for clothes that suit you and your style, so that you feel like you are being true to yourselves when you look back at your photos.
I always appreciate when my couples talk to me about what they planning to wear because it’ll help with choosing a location that best suits your style. For example, along the coastline, you’re better off going for a flowing dress and hair down whilst a shoot in a Melbourne laneway could suit a more tailored and sleek outfit. Whatever you do choose, make sure that you both complement each other’s look. If you want to really make your photos special, after all it’s not every day you get a professional photoshoot, then go all out with your outfits! – girls wear that gorgeous skirt you love and boys...suit up! If you make an effort it will make so much difference.
People often ask me what colours they should wear or avoid. I generally recommend choosing colours that go well together and won’t clash, so for example, if your other half is wearing a red shirt, don’t wear orange yourself. Choosing different, but complementary, colours is the best idea. You don’t want to match each other, but you do want to coordinate. I also find that really bright, vivid colours can sometimes reflect a colour cast up onto your face, so I generally advise against strong pinks etc. I always tend to prefer more neutral and pastel shades, as I think these colours look lovely in photographs, but that’s just me, and everyone is different. Think about the textures too, and how they go together. At the end of the day your outfit choice is entirely up to you and how you want the styling of your shoot to look, so wear whatever you fancy. You will look fabulous!
Lastly, have fun!
It’s super easy for a photographer to tell someone “Oh, just forget I’m here!” But when you give it a go, you’ll actually be surprised and will forget. I’m all about capturing the natural interaction between the two of you. I would much rather capture a picture that looks real, than one which is posed and fake. Of course I’ll step in and give you guidance if you don’t know how to stand or what to do with your hands. I’ll make sure the light is perfect, the background is to die for and you’re both feeling comfortable to move, chat, laugh, spin, tap dance, whatever you feel like! Sometimes I’ll ask you to look at the camera, but you can still just keep it relaxed and natural. I know it will be weird at first, but it really will get easier as our session goes on!
Most people hate having their photograph taken, but don’t worry about it – it’s my job to make sure you are enjoying the session and to help you feel comfortable. If you do have anything that you are particularly concerned about, please do let your photographer know beforehand, such as if you have a preferred ‘side’ or if there is anything about yourself that you don’t like in photos. Most people have something that they don’t like about themselves in photos but if you let your photographer know this in advance, they can bear this in mind and shoot accordingly. Often people have not had professional photos taken before, so hopefully when you see the pictures from your photoshoot, you will be really pleased with the results and love all of them!