My Tips for an Enjoyable Engagement Shoot

April 7, 2020

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Hello and welcome to the first in my Wedding Planning Series.

My goal as your wedding photographer is to make the planning process simple. Photography is more than just images, it’s a real part of your day. Not only do you deserve beautiful images, you also deserve an amazing photographic experience.  The goal of these blog posts is to help you plan your wedding day in a way that will allow me to provide you with the BEST experience possible and therefore deliver the most amazing set of photographs.  I’m beyond excited to be working with you!!

Let’s start today by talking about ENGAGEMENT SHOOTS.  You may have one included in your package or not but I truly believe they are an amazing part of the process.

Do You Need an Engagement Shoot and What Does it Involve?

During your engagement session, you’ll have the chance to get to know me, experience how I shoot and how I handle posing and lighting. This session will make a HUGE impact on how the wedding day flows. I’ll arrive on your wedding day already knowing how you two interact, what your best poses are and how to photograph you in a genuine way! What I will learn about you during your engagement session is invaluable!  After the engagement shoot hopefully you’ll see me more as a friend than your wedding photographer, which will make your wedding day photography even more enjoyable and relaxing.

Engagement shoots usually last 1.5-2 hours.  I shoot engagements on weekday evenings and Sundays, normally from 5-7pm depending on the light and the time of the year. In the winter months, 3-5pm is generally the best time frame for an shoot, with gorgeous flattering light.  As you start to plan for your engagement shoot you will need to start brainstorming some location ideas.  I LOVE it when couples pick a location that is special or sentimental to them in some way.  If you can’t think of anywhere specific I can help you decide on a location.  As long as the light is great and you guys and up for it you’ll come away from the shoot with a stunning set of images and so much more confidence leading up to your big day.  During the shoot we’ll talk about you and your day whilst we walk and shoot.  I’ll direct you in a way that looks natural and makes you look your best.  They’ll be plenty of walking, interacting and laughing

THE OUTFITS – What should I wear?

It’s always a little intimidating to have your picture taken …. even if it’s just a photo on an iphone that is taken by a friend.  I realise that preparing for your engagement session can be a little overwhelming. Here are some tips for outfits and accessories that will make you feel your best and work well on camera.  The main takeaway should be to wear something you feel both comfortable and great in.

My Top Tips :

– Don’t try to MATCH…try to pick outfits and accessories that coordinate instead.

– Don’t be afraid to be BOLD!  Accessorise and make your outfits your own.  Scarves, bold necklaces and fun shoes and anything that makes you look like YOU.

– MOST PATTERNS are actually ok…. however, graphics are not favourable for portraits. If you’re wearing a pattern, make sure it’s not overwhelming and distracting.

– Be sure to check out my Pinterest boards for more outfit inspiration if you’re having trouble.

– Empty your pockets! Literally. You don’t want to have key chains or phones showing through your pockets. (This is for the guys.)

– Most often, couples like to have one casual, everyday outfit and one dressier outfit. This will give your shoot two totally different “looks”. I recommend beginning with the dressy outfit first.

– Make sure you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing.  The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and that you look like you.

– BE ON TIME!  The sun is only out for so long ! The later you arrive, the less time we have to shoot with that beautiful light.

– Relax! You don’t have to be a pro at this! I’m going to help you along the way and it’s going to amazing.  Enjoy this time together and make a date out of it – plan dinner afterwards and celebrate!!

– Ladies, you don’t necessarily need to have your hair and make up done professionally BUT it really does help to make your eyes pop and you feel a million dollars during the shoot.  A lot of my brides try to tie in their wedding make up and hair trials with the day of the shoot to see how it will look on camera, which I think is an amazing idea.  You don’t need to tell hubby to be that’s the look you’re going for on the wedding day just that you felt like treating yourself!

Should we bring anything?

If you want to and it would make you feel more comfortable then bring props.  Examples could be something as simple as a picnic basket, blanket and bottle of champers or perhaps you love wearing a hat, you might even want to talk to a local florist about a flower crown or mini bouquet (if that’s your style)!   The main thing is of course the two of you and a willingness to get all close and snuggly but props can also help to ease nerves and make it more of an occasion.

And finally…

The main thing to remember is that this shoot is all about the two of you.  I won’t do anything to make you feel awkward or posed, we’ll simply walk, talk, take a few photos and get to know each other.  Approach the shoot with an open mind and enjoy it!

If you haven’t yet booked an engagement shoot but I’ve now convinced you then please email me at to find out more.

Big love, Helen x

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Director & Photographer at Helen Cawte Photographer.  At home near the sea.  Ever-focused on beauty and the art of creation; found in the moments that leave me breathless and in awe. 

Over the past ten years I have been photographing beautiful weddings across the globe for the most wonderful couples. Your wedding photography is a family heirloom to be loved and cherished for generations so I spend a great deal of time on both getting to know you, your story and your requirements as well as producing a beautifully curated collection of images. 




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