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Reasons for an Engagement Shoot

Reasons for an engagement shoot:

By offering both engagement and pre-wedding shoots, as a  West Sussex wedding photographer, I like to ensure that couples have a comprehensive and personalised photography experience leading up to their big day. From building connections and creating memories to exploring venues and perfecting the bridal look, these shoots add value and excitement to the wedding journey.

I often hear people suggesting that they don’t need this aspect of the service, and I totally understand the reluctance. However, once people have experienced it, they always feedback that they were so so glad they did.

For those sitting on the fence, I thought I’d prepare a little dive into some reasons for an engagement shoot:

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Connection Building: An engagement shoot provides an opportunity for the couple to bond with each other and with the photographer. This helps in building a comfortable rapport before the wedding day, resulting in more natural and intimate photographs. Believe it or not, our work is very relational… we want to know more about you and what makes you tick as a couple. This will help us capture your true vibe on your wedding day! It also helps us to discuss in a relaxed space any tricky or awkward dynamics that may come up on your wedding day and how we can help you navigate them.

reasons for an engagement shoot

Practice Session: It serves as a practice session for both the couple and the photographer. Couples can get accustomed to being in front of the camera, while the photographer can experiment with different poses, angles, and lighting setups. We will be a mine of information on how to pose, what to do with your arms and legs and how to make you look more natural in front of the camera. It also help to break the ice so you’re accustomed to PDA’s and being photographed without awkwardness and feeling self conscious! It’s better to get this done in a relaxed environment so we’re not wasting precious time on your wedding day covering the foundations to make you comfortable. Honestly, we’d rather you were having more fun with your guests on your wedding day, then endless shoots!

reasons for an engagement shoot

Personalised Experience: The engagement shoot can be tailored to reflect the unique personality and style of the couple. Whether it’s a romantic stroll on the beach, a playful session in a park, or a cozy indoor shoot, it allows for personalisation. This sessions is about you! Taking you to your favourite place, or a significant spot in your relationship journey just adds to making this a service for you. Just this time for you both as a couple is enough reason for an engagement shoot!

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Save-the-Date Cards: The photographs from the engagement shoot can be used for creating stylish and personalised save-the-date cards or wedding invitations, adding a personal touch to the wedding preparations. Some people have used the images to decorate their wedding venue as part of their visual journey together. I guess what I’m trying to say here, is use them!!! Get your faces out there! Its you we’re all celebrating after all!

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Memorable Moments: Capturing the love and excitement of the engagement period through photographs creates lasting memories that can be cherished for a lifetime. These images serve as a beautiful reminder of the journey leading up to the wedding day. So often the focus goal is your wedding date, but don’t forget, this journey is important too! Let’s capture it!

Venue Exploration: A pre-wedding shoot provides an opportunity to explore and capture stunning photographs at the wedding venue or other meaningful locations. This allows the couple to envision their wedding day and discover the best spots for photography. We are well versed in shooting in both the familiar and the unfamiliar, but if an opportunity arrises to shoot in your venue, then this is a real bonus!!

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Trial Run for Hair and Makeup: If timings and diaries align, it can be a chance for the bride to do a trial run for her hair and makeup, ensuring everything looks perfect for the wedding day. Seeing how the makeup translates on camera helps in making any necessary adjustments. What better way to be picture perfect than have a professional tending to those details too! This doesn’t have to be a chore, let’s turn it into a treat for you.

Relaxed Atmosphere: Unlike the wedding day, which can be hectic and fast-paced, the pre-wedding shoot offers a relaxed atmosphere for capturing beautiful moments without any time constraints. It allows the couple to focus solely on each other and enjoy the experience.

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Guest Book or Wedding Album: The photographs from the pre-wedding shoot can be compiled into a guest book or used to create a stunning wedding album. This provides a unique keepsake for the couple and their guests to look back on and reminisce about the special day.

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Capture the Proposal: Some of you may even be thinking way ahead! This is great… having a photographer actually capture your live proposal will make for beautiful memories to look back on! We love getting involved from the very beginning and sharing this journey with you! An incase you worry about being ousted by a hovering photographer, don’t worry… we’re great at hiding in bushes!! Here’s a blog about a “family shoot” that was a secret proposal… Matt & Jen | The Live Proposal 

Best engagement photographer west sussex

I hope these reasons for an engagement shoot have convinced you! It’s worth doing, you definitely won’t regret it! I’m so on board with this myself which is why I include a complementary engagement shoot with every wedding collection. 

If you’re neck deep and overwhelmed in your wedding planning journey, do check out my other helpful blogs: How To Plan a WeddingHow to Choose Your Wedding VenueHow to Choose Your Wedding Dress

Good luck! I hope to see you on your wedding quest!
xX Fiona Xx
Reasons for an Engagement Shoot
Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding | Emma & Lee

Southend Barns Wedding | Emma & Lee

An April 1st wedding??? No! This is not a joke! (I admit, I did wonder when the enquiry first came through, but thankfully Emma and Lee, and their Southend Barns wedding was very real!)

Emma and Lee, despite living in a different county, chose Southend Barns as their wedding venue. They had family and friends in the area and just fell in love with it! We planned their engagement shoot for a day when they could visit Lee’s mum, ensuring she has some quality time with her grandchildren while we went for a stroll on West Wittering beach. The weather gods decided to give us everything they had that day! Wind, sunshine rain and even hailstorms! I love the final image in the set below, where they’re cloaked in sunshine and you can just see the dark clouds rolling in behind them. Thankfully the cafe was a lovely haven for us to dry off and warm up after (and we really did need drying off) while working through the timeline of their day.

I had, rather foolishly, assured Emma and Lee that a repeat of the “every weather system” was very unlikely to occur on their wedding day. Ha!! How wrong was I!!! Thankfully, when planning for a Southend Barns wedding, the venue is very well equipped with stunning indoor and outdoor spaces. As the rain wasn’t due until later, Emma and Lee still chose to have their wedding outside as originally planned. Baskets of blankets and soft sheepskin rugs came out before the guests arrived to ensure warm bottoms and shoulders for those who needed it! The weather is a pretty important factor to consider when choosing your venue, if you need more help with that, do check out my blog with tips on how to choose your venue.

We started in the bridal suite with Emma, her children, sister and both mums for the preparations. A spacious apartment suite, there’s always plenty of space and light for the hustle and bustle that goes on during the preparations.

I loved how the children also got involved, with Emma & Lee’s daughter almost getting away with wearing Emma’s bridal shoes! While this was happening, Lee and his groom squad arrived from their B&B (or maybe the pub 😉 ) to start greeting the guests. I found it quite ironic that while their son was being helped into his outfit by all the ladies in the bridal suit, Lee also needed help too! Check out the detailing on Lee’s outfit to honour their dog who had passed away, what a lovely touch

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

With the time arriving for the ceremony, and the weather still dry (albeit pretty windy) it was action stations! Lee was waiting with his guests at the foot of the aisle and a pianist providing the background music, all that was for Emma, her dad and bridal party to make their way through to join them.

A civil ceremony at a Southends Barn wedding is usually pretty swift, a blessing for everyone I think on this occasion as the winds, and the chill that came with it, only increased as the time went on. Seeing Lee’s face as both his children, then his beautiful bride came down the aisle towards him. It was clear for all to see and feel the love that is shared between them all.

With a flurry of confetti, everyone made their way back to the covered drinks reception area to enjoy some drinks and a catch up! Thankfully the sun had come back out, so we made the most of the dry space for some family portraits.

During the planning session, Emma and Lee had expressed that they erred on the preference for candid documentary with some family portraits and some newlywed portraits. Enjoying their party was high on their list, and they wanted to see their day back from a documentary style. We made sure that although some structure for the formal portraits needed to be made, we kept those moments efficient and fun!

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

As per our plan, we whisked Emma and Lee around the grounds for some very quick portraits. We kept it light and easy while ensuring they also had time to catch up with each other too for those precious moments alone. One item that was on their hit list, was the alpacas… and very cute they are too! What a wonderful addition at the venue! Everytime I return I’m sure Southend Barns have restored/renovated and added to their repertoire of being a very highly sought after wedding venue.

The other item on the agenda was to create a portrait with them and their children, and a balloon that Emma had brought with her! Timing it right around naps, and garden games distraction was key, but thankfully, all our well measured plans came together!

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

With a full on night of partying planned, it was definitely time for a meal break! With Emma and Lee making a grand entrance into the barn, the finely cooked food and flowing wine was clearly appreciated by all. To top it off, an array of speeches, including ones by Emma’s daughter and sister!

There were not many dry eyes in the house by this point… but it was ok, as Lee’s best men soon ensured the hilarity was reinstated, regaling embarrassing tales of their best mate in true style!

Instead of a traditional cutting of the cake, Emma and Lee opted for a cocktail tower. Starting with their first drinks together as newlyweds, using glasses that Emma’s dad had hand painted. Then it was a free for all as everybody else joined in. Such a great idea!!

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

When Emma and Lee broached the idea of staying later, I was initially reluctant (not because of later nights, but I don’t want to increase someone’s spend if it’s not needed) but they convinced me a party is what they would be having, and boy were they right!

With mid-evening fireworks thrown in and a pounding dance floor all night, it was definitely worth the extra time!

To start, Emma’s dad and sister had secured a surprise band for her. It was Emma’s favourite, and the surprise and joy on her face was evident. That and the fact she was first on the dancefloor and pretty much stayed on it! There was a brief interlude for the fireworks and the first dance, but after that the party cracked on!

It was an incredible night and a most energetic, fun and love filled wedding! We made our exit just as ties were coming off and turned into headbands, but the party was still going full pelt!

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Back home, our job isn’t over! Files need to be uploaded, backed up and stored. Then it’s the process of culling and editing…. Caffeine is a photographers friend during this process!

The finished result is sooooo worth it.

As part of their collection, Emma and Lee had chosen the Duet album. This is a 2 part collection, handmade in Italy, of a 30 page A4 album and a 100 page A3, nestled together in a bespoke box. This was a perfect way to display both the highlights and portraits in the 30 page album, plus the candid flow of the whole day spread across the larger, coffee table style book. The colours designed to compliment the colours of their day.

Thank you Emma and Lee for having us on such a beautiful and lively day! Wishing you all the happiness in the world!

xX Fiona Xx

Southend Barns Wedding

 

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer | India & Russell

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer | India & Russell

I met India & Russell earlier this year when they were on the search for a wedding photographer. After being a couple for many years and well settled into family life with their three children, they felt it about time to tie the knot!

As with all of my couples, the first thing we embarked upon was the pre-wedding test shoot. Here’s a snap below, but the full link to that blog is here, where they frolicked in the Bluebells and Fields of Gold. It was a great morning to get to know one another better and teach India & Russ the finer art of being natural and comfortable in front of the camera

Sussex Photographer

India and Russell had chosen the Chichester Harbour Hotel in West Sussex as their wedding venue. India was getting ready in The Cottage, the cosy 1 bedroom apartment that is adjoined to the hotel, yet independently accessed. While India was busy having her make-up done by Kiri, her daughter and niece kindly offered to help me with the dress photography! This gorgeous, figure hugging gown was from Proposals, a bridal boutique in the heart of Chichester (where I also got mine from over 10 years ago!)

chichester harbour hotel wedding photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Taking a few moments to see how the men were getting along with their task of getting ready, it seemed they had decided to get ahead of the game and make a start on having a pre-wedding drink or two while going over their speeches… And why not, with the bar perfectly placed between the bedrooms and the ceremony hall, it would have been rude not to!

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

A lovely day at the beginning of June, the wedding was timed perfectly as the ceremony room had just undergone a major refurb. It looked crisp, fresh and bright! With the chair covers and sashes complementing the peach, sage and fresh green colour palate if the bridal party. A stunning summer blend.

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Popping back to see how the girls were getting on, it was incredible seeing India getting into her dress. It was if that gown were made for her. Stunning and slinky, India was every bit the gorgeous bride. While Mum was helping her into those last squeezes of the corset, the girls kept me busy again with some cheeky portraits!


Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

One of the great things about getting ready and married in the same location is that as a Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer I can flit back and forth, to and fro between all members of the bridal party. India and Russell’s two sons joined us this time looking superb in their matching suits.


Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

The ceremony was a delight, every chair was filled, family and friends abundant. The happiness and love was clear to see as India and Russell married in front of their nearest and dearest. With a personal poem read out by Indie’s mum that was a real tear jerker…. As a wedding photographer, I’m over 10 years in and I still haven’t yet got immune to the emotional response in me when I attend people’s weddings! It’s a good job I’m hidden behind the camera!!

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

We took a quick detour with the family to Priory Park, just next door to the Chichester Harbour Hotel. The kids leapt and whooped their way across, thankful for the open space! All the cousins together created a fizzing ball of energy! At times, it could be described as herding cats, but we all got there in one piece for a few family portraits before spending some moments with India and Russell.

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

While guests enjoyed the bar and caught up with each other, the room at the hotel was swiftly turned around ready for the wedding breakfast. A delicious three course meal that consisted of beautifully presented carpaccio starters, chicken and fish courses and puddings that looked like they stepped out of a culinary magazine. The speeches were delivered before the meal to a room of laughter and smiles.

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Making the most of the long summer evening, the guests enjoyed the deck and the outdoor space after the wedding breakfast. India and Russell were keen to take some pictures with their friends who had travelled from near and far to join them on their wedding day. We also caught India’s sisters and their kids playing up to the camera!!


Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

The party soon kicked off in the evening with sounds spinning from the decks by Nick, one of Toast Functions brilliant DJ’s… With a magic mirror photo-booth and jars of sweets available for your own pick-a-mix there was much to do. The first dance was a special moment before they were joined by their daughter and the rest of the guests. Before we left the party to carry on enjoying themselves, we took a short break with India and Russell to capture some final portraits using the original Georgian staircase that dominates the front of this historic building. As a Wedding Photographer at Chichester Harbour Hotel it is impossible to not use their gorgeous features

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

To complete their wedding collection, India and Russell opted for an Original Wedding Album, by Graphistudio, personalised in white cloud leatherette set into a colour coordinated Design Box in sage grey maple and finished with a pink leatherette internal. A beautiful way to ensure they can look back and hold on to these memories for years to come.

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer

Many congratulations Mr & Mrs Dillingham, it has been a pleasure getting to know you both and capturing your precious memories. I’m sure we’ll see you again as your family grow and new portraits need capturing.

Big love,

Fiona xx

FionaMillsArt | Chichester Harbour Hotel Wedding Photographer | India & Russell