Let’s chat engagement sessions! If you don’t know what an engagement session is, it’s basically a great opportunity to get to know your wedding photographer a little better as well as getting some lovely photos before the big day.
I’ve heard so many times over the years, my partner has a ‘Chandler Bing smile‘ (if you don’t have a clue what I’m on about here follow the link, it’s a must watch!) or ‘we are so awkward in front of the camera’ which is totally normal, I get a little shy in front of the camera too.
Getting in front of the camera before your wedding day gives you the confidence and reassurance that you don’t need to worry about the photos being taken because you’ve had a practice run and you aced it. Don’t just take my word for it, here are some quotes from couples who have stepped in front of my camera:
“It’s a really great way to spend time together, get used to having your photo taken and produces beautiful memories to cherish” – Vicki & Rob
“Not only does the experience help break the ice between you & Gemma, but you get fabulous photos that can be used on Save the Date cards or even your invitations. Our photos were beautiful!” – Zoe & James
“I feel so much more relaxed about the wedding day and having the photos done. Now I know what to expect and we can be ourselves, I’m very happy being in front of the camera. I’m so pleased we had the engagement session best thing we have done.” – Laurel & Jack
Below I answer your frequently asked questions about engagement sessions, scroll down and have a read, I hope you find it helpful.
Essex wedding photographer answers your questions about engagement sessions
WHEN SHOULD WE BOOK OUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION?
Your engagement session can be booked in at any time once your date is secured, I would suggest doing the session at least 2 months before your wedding.There is absolutely no reason why the session can’t be done earlier, in fact if you do it earlier you could use the photos on your save the date cards/invitations!
As I get into wedding session, (which is usually March-October) my weekend availability will be limited as I will be out photographing lovely weddings. Therefore engagement sessions take place on a weekdays.
At least 2 weeks notice is advisable for booking.
HOW LONG IS AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION?
Typically an engagement session usually lasts about 60-90 minutes.
WHAT TIME OF DAY IS BEST FOR PHOTOS?
A few hours before sunset or just after sunrise (this time is known as golden hour) is the best time in terms of lighting as this is when the light is at its softest and looks magical.
WHERE SHOULD WE HAVE OUR PHOTOS TAKEN?
When it comes to the location of your session, it is great if it has a personal meaning to you both as it will help to tell your story. Maybe the session could be where you got engaged (don’t worry guys I won’t ask you to re-enact getting down on one knee!).
If you are home birds you could have your engagement sessions at home, these sessions make for photos that are really laid back, cosy, and have a true to life feel to them.
For couples that are struggling with where they’d like to have their photos taken I am always happy to help find the perfect place that reflects your personalities.
*Please note engagement sessions are not undertaken in London and travel expenses will apply if more than a 30 mile radius from Braintree.
HAVE YOU GOT ANY LOCATION IDEAS?
There are lots of lovely locations in and around Essex for engagement sessions, here are some of my favourite locations:
+ Coggeshall Hamlet
+ Bocking Nature Walk
+ Bishop Stortford Southern Country Park
+ Hylands Park
+ Dedham Boating
+ Flatford Mill
+ Marks Hall Gardens*
+ Beth Chatto Gardens*
+ Thaxted Village
+ One Tree Hill (full of bluebells in April)
+ Paper Mill Lock
+ Heybridge Basin
+ Mersea (East or West, both are different and equally good for photos)
+ Cudmore Grove Country Park
+ Your home
+ Your wedding venue
+ Your favourite coffee shop
+ Your favourite walk
*Please note the starred locations have addmission fees.
WHAT SHOULD WE WEAR?
When is comes to what to wear for your session, I’d advise you both, be ‘you’ and dress like ‘you’. Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable as this will make you feel most confident.
Whether that be rocking up in your favourite pair of jeans (we all have that one pair we just love right!) or a floaty summer skirt, whatever makes you feel ‘you’.
One piece of advice I would give you is, as we live in England we see a fair bit of rain, if you are wearing a gorgeous pair of shoes that you don’t want to get dirty bring a change of shoes. In fact, if you did want to bring a change of outfit to the session feel free.
For those of you who need some inspiration with outfit ideas have a look at what previous couples have worn for their engagement sessions on my gallery.
CAN WE BRING OUR CHILDREN TO THE SESSION?
Yes, of course! What I have found works really well is that they join us for half the session and the other half of the session they are looked after by grandparents/friend. This allows us the opportunity to go through some natural posing.
WE ARE A SHY COUPLE, ANY TIPS YOU COULD GIVE US?
Just be you. Having worked with lots of different couples over the years I know how to adapt engagement sessions to the couple I am working with to get photos that best reflect your personalities. I find that couples are most comfortable when interacting with their partner so throughout all my sessions I find different ways to get you to interact with each other to get your personalities shining through into the photos.
Pretend I’m not there (I know that is super hard to do) but honestly, the best photos are often the ones when you don’t realise they are being taken.
Embrace the idea of having your photographs taken and trust that your photographer will capture you in your best light.
See the engagement session for all the perks, which are; getting to know your wedding photographer, spending time getting comfortable in front of the camera, realising that being photographed isn’t that bad (who knows you could take up a career change to modelling!), learning some tips for your wedding day, chatting all things weddings and of course getting some pro photos before the big day.
WHAT IF IT RAINS?
If it rains we can take umbrellas and go with it, or alternatively we can reschedule. Often when there is light rain you can’t see it in the photos.
IF WE CAN NO LONGER MAKE THE SESSION WHAT DO WE DO?
Please let me know as soon as possible, depending on the location of the session I can leave up to an hour before the shoot.
WHAT DO WE GET FROM AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION?
2 weeks after your engagement session you will receive an email with a link to your private online viewing gallery which you can share with your family and friends. From there you can download all the hi-resolution images (usually between 30-40 images).
DO WE HAVE TO HAVE AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION?
If it is included in your wedding package then it is complimentary, they have no cash value and cannot be swapped for anything else.
I strongly encourage engagement sessions with me so that the first time you step in front of my camera is not on your wedding day.This is also a great opportunity for us to get to know each other and for you both to gain some confidence to feel completely relaxed with me photographing you on your special day.
CAN WE BRING OUR DOG TO OUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION?
Yes, of course, as long as the location allows for dogs.
HOW TO GET THE BEST PHOTOS ON YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION?
Be open to the idea of having your photos taken, it might feel daunting at first but just be your true selves and that’ll reflect in the photos. I am all about capturing your personalities so let them shine.
READY TO BOOK IN?
Get in touch today and we can start planning!
I hope you’ve found this q&a blog post helpful. If there are any questions that you’d like me to answer that have not been mentioned in the post please drop me an email, I am always more than happy to help.