You just booked your dream wedding photographer (if you haven't yet... inquire here) and one of the perks from your package is an engagement shoot... For some couples this can be nerve wrecking, but hopefully I can put you at ease and get you excited with a few helpful tips! From choosing a location to exactly what to expect, keep these tips in mind and enjoy the entire experience!
Why an engagement shoot?
An engagement shoot is a wonderful thing for multiple reasons.... First and foremost it is a great way to get to know your wedding photographer better! Every photographer has a different shooting style and every couple interacts differently with each other. Having an engagement shoot before your wedding gives you AND your photographer an opportunity to get to know each other better and to form a stronger and more personal bond!
Choosing a location
Your location and concept goes hand in hand. I always encourage couples to choose a unique location... if you decide on a location that I have already shot at, I try my utmost to use unique spots at that location. I suggest choosing a location based on one or all of the following criteria:
- Your favourite spot: Are you a nature couple? Where did you first meet? Your favourite café.
- Imagine hanging this on your wall, what setting will suit your decor? Would you like a darker look (forest or cafe) or lighter look (Beach or field) or perhaps something modern (architecture or flash photography)
- Make it an activity: Perhaps a home pizza making session, a bicycle ride along the coast, a picnic in a field or book a night at a vintage airbnb/guesthouse (Please make sure the owners are OK with a shoot)
- Already have a concept? Perhaps you already know you want to use a car or that you want a glamorous city look, then base your location on that!
Timing is everything
Photography is all about lighting! For outdoor photos on a sunny day the best time of day is golden hour (one hour before sunset) or early morning, this is honestly the softest your pictures will be. For overcast days, anytime of the day can work. I LOVE experimenting with light especially flash so don't be scared to explore new boundaries and get creative!
What to wear
Choosing outfits to compliment your session will REALLY makes a difference! Your final images will look curated and well thought through. It can be as easy as sticking to neutral colours or using a specific style to make a statement. Consider the following when planning your wardrobe:
- When in doubt wear neutrals. It is the easiest go to... It blends in with any environment and location, and wil give your final image a timeless colour palette.
- Consider your overall theme... Add colour for spring, Sequins for a glammed up city shoot or neutrals for a toned down earthy feel.
- Wear something comfortable. This goes for personality and physical movement... Uncomfortable clothes and a style that clashes with your personality will show in your photos. Most of my shoots are non-posed. Consider what your outfit will look like when you lift your arms, walk in a field, or dance in the faves.
- Forget the previous point if you daring and would like to push your comfort perimeters... Wear that glitter outfit for in a stunning field or city scape to break away from the norm and create something exciting.
- Bring accessories.... A jacket, textured cardigan or hat can create a completely different look!
- Don't match... Coordinate! Instead of matching with jeans and white T-shits, opt for complimenting colours. Pinterest is an incredible source of inspo and ides for your wardrobe.
- Avoid bright neons and bold patters. It will distract the viewer and might influence your skin tone with neon reflections.
Add extra elements
Dads got a sailboat? Know someone with a yacht? Your uncle has a cool vintage car? USE IT! Adding extra elements to your session creates unique and fun images. It will make your shoot stand out with the rest!
- Consider using a vintage car, sail boat/yacht (if you now someone) a row boat on a quiet dam/river...
- Perhaps you have an interesting hobby: Climbing, paragliding, horse riding etc... This, combine with your favourite spot could make very memorable pictures.
- Bring along champagne for celebratory pictures or a confetti bomb for a fun indoors shoot!
Have fun! It shows in your images. Rescheduling is not always an option. Learn to manage expectations. Especially when it comes to Cape Town Weather. Be open to moving your outdoor shoot indoors to avoid extreme wind. Reimagine your sunny flowy dress for your beach shoot and instead opt for winter outfits and clear umbrellas for a once in a moody beac shoot. Pinterest can be your best friend and biggest enemy. Be inspired, but don't be realistic with your location, poses and what you are capable of.