I love engagement shoots, and always offer one as part of my wedding photography packages. However I know it can be a nervous experience for couples; it’s different from your wedding day because the two of you will be the sole focus of the photos, without the additional cast that comes with a busy wedding. But don’t let that worry you – remember that there are two of you, you’re not alone – and I’ll make sure it’s fun!

If you’re planning your engagement shoot then here are a few tips and things to consider:

Location: Where should we have our engagement shoot?

I always think that it’s great if your choice of location means something to the two of you. It could be the venue for your first date, or somewhere that you like to hang out at the weekend. I’m always excited to try new spaces, and have done shoots at ice rinks, bars, parks, woodland, stately homes, city streets and Christmas markets! If you’re really stuck for somewhere, then there are some easy options:

Derby/Derbyshire: Elvaston Castle, Darley Park, Allestree Park, City Centre, Calke Abbey

Nottingham: Wollaton Park, City Centre

Bear in mind that engagement shoots should be held in Derby or Nottingham, so if you live outside the area then you’ll need to travel for your shoot.

What time of day should we have our engagement shoot?

If we’re going for an outside shoot, then sunrise or sunset are the ideal times. Most people opt for sunset for obvious reasons! In the winter the mid-to-late afternoon sun can be a lovely golden colour, whilst the morning light can have some beautiful red tones. During the summer the early evening tends to work best.

What should I wear?

Wear something that makes you feel good, and that you feel comfortable in. Bold colours often work well, but make sure they don’t clash! And if you’re not a bold colours kind of person, then don’t worry! You could dress it up a bit, or go a bit more casual – it’s completely up to you. Bear in mind the venue you’ve chosen though – traipsing through fields in six inch heels probably isn’t the look you want to go for.

If you can get away without wearing a big bulky coat, then please do! They don’t look great in photos. The same goes for big bags too. I’m happy to carry a smaller bag around, but I’ll have a fair amount of camera equipment with me too.

What will we do?

We’ll start off with something really simple, such as walking together holding hands (you two holding hands, I’ll be holding a camera). If you can crack walking and smiling then we’ll move on to something more challenging!

I might ask you to chat with each other about your wedding plans, or about the first time you met. I’ll be far enough away not to hear what you’re saying, but I’ll capture the reactions and interactions between the two of you. I might ask you to cuddle and maybe even kiss(!), and I’ll give you some very general and simple posing tips. Don’t worry if this sounds a bit too much like a public-display-of-affection for you two, the whole shoot is about the two of you! It should be a reflection of you as a couple – so I’m not going to force you to do anything that isn’t you.

We’ll move around your location and explore a little bit, and then afterwards we’ll go and grab a drink or something to eat and talk a bit more about your wedding plans and generally get to know each other a bit more. That’s the key point about the engagement shoot, it’s a chance for me to get to know you so that on your wedding day I’m not arriving as a total stranger.

That’s it – as simple as that. If you’d like to know any more about my engagement shoots or wedding photography in general, then feel free to get in touch.

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