Engagement Shoots – What Are They Really Like?

Written by Emma Hla
Writing about engagement shoots was one of the very first things I ever did on this blog and it was in collaboration with Dale Weeks Photography, you can read it here. We also covered this topic again with Julie Michaelsen Photography and her lovely feature includes six simple reasons why you should be having one!

But it wasn’t until my recent experience of this type of shoot again that I realised just how daunting it all really is!

Our own engagement shoot was back in May 2013 (you can read our story here on Rock My Wedding!) and whilst it was a really lovely day and the photos captured that moment of our journey, at the time is was all a little stressful.

Let me explain…

Our First Time

Firstly I didn’t even realise engagement shoots were a thing until I actually got engaged, secondly I’m the type of person who definitely overthinks things so you know, that kicked in. When our lovely photographer sat us down and explained that an Engagement Shoot was part of the photography package I listened with interest… and something else I can’t quite put my finger on.

Whilst the engagement shoot was definitely something I wanted to do, I can’t say my husband-to-be was thrilled with the idea. He really didn’t want to be in the centre of our busy city having his mush papped for all to see.

However, after much animated discussion, outfit experiments and prop fails, we did it, actually quite enjoyed it and subsequently had some fab images from our photographer prior to the big day.

But the camera fear? Oh it’s real and I felt it all over again when I managed to pin my husband down for a quick session at home when Hannah Duff Photography came to visit. But once again, the fear was just us overthinking, Hannah was actually bloody brilliant and the photos, well we simply adore them.

After this session, I scribbled down some of my own tips and I thought I’d share just in case you have your own engagement session looming…

Top Tips

Have your photos taken somewhere you feel comfortable or that reflects you and your life… Whether it’s at home or in your fave cafe, you don’t want too many surprises or unknowns to add to the pressure. It’s also a nice opportunity to explore your wedding venue, especially if there’s surrounding fields, meadows and woodlands! Just get in touch and let them know you’d like to visit with your photographer in tow.

Trust your photographer and let them direct you… Hannah was absolutely amazing at directing us and telling us what to do and when to do it. Even our pup Gatsby listened! Whilst some of the poses might feel a little unnatural I promise they know what they’re doing.

Don’t go too out of your comfort zone with your outfits… You definitely want to look and feel like you in your engagement photos. I never really wear dresses, so it would just be silly of me to pop a frock on to have my photo taken. But do think about colours and accessories.

You could be tonal with your partner, we opted for a palette of greys and khakis, or you could add a pop of something vibrant to be different or for interest. If you think you’ll be using these photographs on a wedding website or as part of your stationery, then think about the colours you’ve chosen for your wedding.

It’s the perfect time for a hair & makeup trial… If you wear (a lot) of makeup (like me) then believe me when I say it will never look too much in photos! So don’t be afraid to slick on that eyeliner or rosey up with some blush. Having said that, I definitely had a little professional help in these photos thanks to the super amazing Jo Adams from The Hair & Makeup Atelier.

The engagement photos could be a really perfect time to book in your makeup trial, if all of the logistics and stars line up that is. Alternatively book yourself in for a blow dry at your salon, swooshy hair will always make you feel like a prancing pony and that confidence will shine through in the photos!

Include your family… No I don’t mean your Mum’s, Dad’s and cousins twice-removed! I do mean your fur babies but the human variety would be pretty great too. This shoot kind of turned into the Gatsby-show but to be honest, we love this little sausage so very much and are so thankful we have these precious photographs with him.

These are some of my favourite photographs of us – they are honest, real and truly capture our little family at home. That’s actually quite special. What’s even more special is that even the husband recognises the importance of photography now and he was properly over-the-moon when he saw Hannah’s beautiful shots.

So friends, whilst I know some of you will be doing all the usual panicking prior to the engagement shoot, I can promise you that once it’s done you definitely won’t look back on it thinking ‘well that was terrible experience!’. You’ll be pleased, happy, comfortable ahead of the big day and will have a gorgeous memory of being engaged.


Photography Hannah Duffy Photography

Hair & Makeup The Hair & Makeup Atelier

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