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So you’ve taken the plunge and decided to book an engagement session – hurray! You won’t regret it, I promise 😉

But as you’re required to confirm the details – when, where, what ‘look’ to go for, even what to wear or how to do your hair or makeup – it can all start to feel a little daunting.  

However, I’ve got my finest tips at the ready – consider it an early Christmas present! Ready? Let’s talk engagement shoots…

WHEN

As far as ‘when’ is concerned, you may have to look to your photographer for their availability. Obviously, most photographers are booked up at the weekends for weddings well in advance, and so it might be that a weekday is your best option. Plan ahead and get the time booked off work. In terms of the bigger ‘when’, i.e. which time of year or seasonal, it’s entirely your decision. Perhaps consider a contrast with your wedding photos – if you’re having a winter wedding and hoping for snow, it might be an idea to go for some contrasting engagement pictures in the height of summer. Alternatively, if Autumn is your favourite season (and hasn’t it been spectacular this year?), consider getting booked in for October as the leaves are turning golden and nature is putting on its best show. If you opt for summer, you’ve got the benefit of a long, golden evening, and so you can make the most of the glorious light and even a sunset (and possibly squeeze everything in after work without booking extra time off – bonus!)

And a tip from a seasoned pro? Arrange your makeup trial for the day of your engagement shoot for effortless glamour and some seriously low-stress prep. Treat yourself to a manicure, too, and give that ring a polish till it sparkles – it’s going to be the star of the show!

 

WHERE

You might decide to head to your wedding venue – after all, it’s another opportunity to check it out and for you to get an idea of the shots you could achieve on the wedding day itself. And if you’re at all nervous about your wedding pictures (psst! Don’t be – take a look at my blog post Why I Don’t Want You To Think About Your Wedding Photography), going to the venue could be a way of allaying your fears – you could even make a day or of it and book in for lunch, dinner or a cheeky overnight stay (complete with spa treatments, of course).

However, you could choose to have your pictures taken somewhere else entirely – it really it up to you. Is there a place that’s important to you as a couple – a particular beach, coastline, woodland walk or scenic path? Did you get engaged somewhere beautiful, or is there a place that’s special to one of your families? In my experience, a much-loved setting imbues your photographs with real significance and I love capturing couples in these special places!

 

WHAT TO WEAR?

Colour-wise, it’s a good idea to wear colours that complement rather than match – so, for example, think a mix of mustard, navy and berry tones as a complementary Autumnal palette, rather than dressing head to foot in the same shade or matching his ‘n’ hers woollen jumpers.

Consider the environment, too – if you’ve decided to go on a stroll through gorgeous local woodland, wear boots rather than stilettos and bring a cosy coat or jacket. Don’t bother with a handbag – you won’t need it, and you’ll only spend the shoot putting it down and picking it up. You can pop your lipstick in your pocket instead 🙂

That said about sensible footwear, it’s a great idea to bring a pair of heels with you and slip into them for a couple of shots. A few of my brides have done this and it’s worked really well, creating a moment of sophisticated glamour with just a hint of drama. One or two have even brought a full outfit change, switching from comfy casual to jaw-dropping full-length elegance for a truly astonishing look. If that feels a bit too daring, you could always bring a couple of accessories – changing your jacket, scarf or even your earrings can create a surprisingly different look in a matter of minutes.

 

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

Remember, ‘engagement’ shoots don’t actually have to take place before the wedding. If you missed out first time around you could always book a couple’s shoot for an anniversary or to celebrate a milestone birthday. Or even as a special Christmas present…