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{Wedding Advice} Getting The Most Out Of Your Engagement Shoot

Engagement shoots (also known as pre-wedding shoots or couple portrait sessions) are an excellent opportunity for us to catch up before your wedding and take some pictures in an informal setting. They are a really great way of having a bit of fun and getting to know each other a bit better as well as giving you the opportunity to become familiar with the way I work. There are no time pressures or fears of anybody watching and best of all, you get a lovely set of images that you can use before (and on) your wedding day.

1. Where will our engagement session take place?

This really is up to you and can be anywhere you like (within reason!). Some people like to have photos taken at their wedding venue, whilst others choose a location that has sentimental value to them or even a brand new exciting place where they can create new memories. Have a think about how you would like to overall images to look, and consider the scenery (for example - are there a few different backdrops to give variety in your images?), would you rather a woodland feel or perhaps a beach or even a funfair! The choice is yours!

Some examples of lovely local locations include (but are certainly not limited to):

- Pontypool Park

- Blaen Bran Mountain, Cwmbran

- Cardiff Bay

- Llandegfeth Resevoir

Please be aware that some places will require special permission to use for photography purposes, so it's always best to check first. Additional charges will apply for locations over 30 minutes from Cwmbran.

2. When should we have our Engagement Session?

Your shoot can take place at any time between your booking being confirmed until just before your wedding, so it's up to you to think of a time that suits you best (as long as I'm available). As most people tend to book me at least a year before the wedding, I would encourage you to think about the seasons as this will affect the look and feel of your photos more than anything else. Would you like a bright, sunny summer's day, or be all wrapped up nice and cosy in coats and wooly hats in the middle of winter? Do you absolutely love the cherry blossom in April, or would you prefer the crisp, crunchy leaves on the ground in October? Some people like to have a contrast to the season in which they will be married, while others like to make the best use of 'Golden Hour' (the hour just before sunset when the light is at it's most flattering). It's entirely your choice.

Best of all, I'm happy to offer a weather 'guarantee' in that if it is raining on the day of our shoot (and you'd rather it wasn't), then we can reschedule until we get a dry day at no extra charge. Alternatively you can don your wellies and we can embrace the puddles.

3. What should we wear?

By far the most commonly asked question is about clothing, which is a tough one as it is such a personal choice. I would primarily suggest that you are both comfortable with what you are wearing in clothing that fits well. Secondly, make sure you still feel like yourself, wearing clothes that suit your usual style, so that when you look back at your photos in years to come you are happy that the photos are a true reflection of who you are. The confidence in what you are wearing can make a big difference to the photos so don't forget to accessorise with necklaces, scarves, hats, belts etc if you want to. Try to avoid big patterns or logos as well as anything neon and make sure that you are in suitable footwear for your location - be prepared to explore the surrounding areas. Also, make sure that keys, phones etc are all taken out of your pockets as you don't want any odd lumps and bumps (I can look after them for you if you need me to).

You don't need to co-ordinate with each other (though you can if you wish), but try to complement each other as well as making sure you suit the location you've chosen.

Some brides like to arrange their engagement session so that it ties in with their hair / make up trials but this is completely personal preference as other prefer to have a more casual feel to the shoot. Lastly, do a quick check for anything that will look unpolished - bobbles around wrists and old chipped nail varnish are things that often get forgotten about.

4. What can we expect to happen?

We will treat the session as a bit of a practice run of how I will photograph your wedding day, exploring the kinds of poses that I think will look good. As hard as it sounds, try to forget I'm there. At times, I will help guide you into positions and give you little prompts but ultimately, it's the in-between moments and interactions that I aim to capture, such as the romance, giggles and happiness of being in each other's company. Please feel free to completely ignore me - immerse yourself in each other and chat, fool around and just generally be yourselves. Don't panic if I don't give you instructions (there's no wrong way to behave), but I will if you need me to.

We will explore our location and have photos taken with various different backdrops. I will take a number of photos - both wide angle as well as close ups, giving you a variety of different types of images. If there are any particular styles or poses that you would like to try out then let me know - I'm more than happy to give new things a go.

If you'd like to make your session even more unique then consider bringing along some quirky props to add to your images. You could include balloons, frames, save the date messages or even bring along your dog. Let me know in advance though as it may affect the equipment I choose to bring.

5. What will happen after?

Once I have finished editing your images, I will upload your gallery and send you the link within around 3 weeks. You should receive around 20-30 images, which you will be able to download straight to your computer. Once you have received these, you can choose to use them in the same way you would your wedding photos - print them, frame them, share them on Facebook etc. If you are happy for me to use them on my own social media page then please let me know.

Some couples like to use their photos as part of their wedding in some way (I can't tell you how awesome it feels when I see a photograph I've taken being used on the order of service, or framed and given as a thank you gift to the parents).

6. Can I have some Inspiration?

For some examples of Engagement Shoots, have a look at the following links:

There are plenty of others though if you search on my blog and filter 'Engagements'en

Get in touch for more information or to get your shoot booked in!


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