The Engagement Shoot & Why You Should Have One!

Written by Emma Hla

This isn’t the first time we’ve written a feature on engagement shoots and why you should be factoring this in to your planning; in fact the e-shoot debate was one of the very first articles we published last year.

Some of my favourite photographs of me and the boy are actually from our engagement shoot; they are honest, real and were snapped in our favourite places in Brighton – where we live and hang out every single day. That’s actually quite special. I now can’t have a flat white in Marwood without thinking of that day we bundled into their corner table and posed (albeit feeling slightly silly at first!)


To me, this is quite an important topic of conversation to be had between you and your beau, so today we’re revisiting this wedding phenomenon with Julie Michaelsen – a fresh and talented photographer based in London with a reportage and fine art aesthetic that will have you swooning.

If you’re currently wondering whether or not to have an engagement shoot, let Julie tell you her thoughts on the matter…

Notes from Julie Michaelsen Photography


As a wedding photographer I’ve had the pleasure and honour of being witness at numerous special days and, more and more I’ve noticed that the weddings where the photography has turned out the best (in my eyes!) are the ones where the couple have had an engagement shoot with me beforehand…

So much so, that I’m considering making it a pre-requisite for my doing their photography on the wedding day itself!

This may sound like a bold statement but here are 6 reasons behind why I think you should be booking an engagement shoot with your Photographer!


Reason # 1

Couples who have carried out an engagement shoot are more relaxed in front of the camera on their wedding day and this means that instead of worrying about being photographed they get on with enjoying their day, which is surely what all couples want!

Reason # 2

Couples trust me more because I’ve already given them a preview of my services which means they can just relax in the knowledge that I have the photos covered. Once my couples have done an engagement shoot with me they know how I work and they know what to expect – it’s one less thing for them to worry about.


Reason # 3

It means that we have spent a further 1 – 2 hours in each others company meaning that I know them better as individuals and as a couple. This is so important to me as a photographer because it means that there is an established connection and in my mind, that is so integral to successful wedding photography.

It means that I know how they connect as a couple and they know that I’m not going to make them feel awkward on their big day, which really is the one day in their lives where all they want to feel is comfort, familiarity and confidence.

Once we have this connection it also means that I can spend more of my energy on the actual wedding day, creating beautiful imagery.


Reason # 4

I really do believe that in life generally (but also during the wedding planning process) that taking time out to appreciate the one you love is so important… Life can be so short and what better way to spend an hour or two than taking some time out from to-do lists and just being together.

Looking into each others eyes, kissing and embracing, living in the moment and celebrating that you have found each other… So many of my couples come away from their engagement shoot saying they feel even more loved up and appreciating each other. Life these days moves so fast so being asked by an external party to stop, close your eyes and hold on to each other is an excellent excuse to be present in the moment together.

Reason # 5

From a practical perspective I encourage my Brides-to-be to arrive at the engagement shoot after having had a hair & make-up trial as it means that you’ll be able to see how it looks on camera which may be helpful in making some decisions for the big day. A Bride recently decided on an ‘up do’ after a loose blow dry felt unmanageable and went everywhere during our engagement shoot!


Reason # 6

They really are fun!

Not one of my numerous engagement shoot couples have come away saying it was a bad experience!

Also it’s so unlikely that you’ve done this together as a couple, I really think documenting your everyday lives together is just as important as the milestones of your relationship. Couples these days so rarely have more than the odd selfie together which seems such a shame, that’s why an engagement shoot is such a lovely thing to do. It also means you can use the images on your wedding day itself.

A few of my recent couples have used framed prints as the table names at their wedding which is such a lovely personal touch! They also make really great gifts for family members who have perhaps gone the extra mile for you on your wedding day…


So there you have it, 6 reasons to probably be booking in that e-shoot pronto!

My tips…?

Don’t overthink anything. Especially your outfits! Just be you and nothing can go wrong. Also, if you’re wondering about where to have your shoot, how about your wedding venue…? Perfect practice before the big day.

Thank you so much to Julie Michaelsen Photography for her thoughts, you can see more of Julie’s photography on the blog in our Tour of Emmy London!

Lots of love…

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