Two people embrace and look into each other's eyes in a sunlit outdoor setting with trees and a bright sky in the background, capturing a magical moment during their engagement shoot.
Black and white close-up photo of a couple gazing at each other intimately, faces illuminated by soft lighting from the left side. This tender moment beautifully captures the essence of their pre-wedding shoot.

Why Have an Engagement Shoot or Pre-Wedding Session?

12 Reasons you Need to Capture the Essence of Your Love Story Before the Big Day

Ever wonder why so many couples have engagement photos done? Perhaps you are wondering whether to have a couple’s pre-wedding session or engagement shoot yourself? As a wedding photographer, I’m here to give you 12 reasons an engagement shoot is one of the most productive things you can do in relation to your wedding day. Furthermore, to emphasise how vital I think these couple portrait sessions are, I can tell you I encourage all of my wedding photography clients to have one.


An Engagement Is An Investment That Will Improve Your Final Wedding Imagery

As wedding photographers, we know how to squeeze the very best out of brief windows of time on a long wedding day. The question really, though, is, will you be ready? Wedding photography is not about luck or favourable light. Elegant wedding photography is about preparation, skill, and the relationship between those in front of the camera and those behind it. Indeed, I think it stands to reason that preparing for your big day by having an engagement shoot is a significant and worthwhile investment.

A couple embraces in a forested area with a mountainous background, capturing a tender moment during their engagement shoot.

Investing in your wedding photography is not just about capturing memories; it’s about ensuring those memories are beautifully preserved. This investment promises a tangible return – stunning wedding photographs that capture the essence of your big day. A pre-wedding shoot plays a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of these photographs. Consider it a rehearsal that prepares you and your photographer for the main event, ensuring that every moment is captured flawlessly.

Engaging in a pre-wedding session is more than just taking photos; it’s a mutual investment of time and effort that significantly benefits the outcome of your wedding photography. It’s our top recommendation for couples, designed to elevate the final collection of images you receive. Let’s make your wedding photography a beautiful return on your investment.


A pre-wedding shoot will help you Form a Strong Relationship with your Photographer

Discovering your wedding photographer online and initiating your journey through conversations or social media interactions is a common first step for many couples. However, establishing a genuine connection goes beyond digital interactions. A strong rapport and a comfortable relationship between you and your photographer are crucial for capturing stunning wedding photos. It not only enhances the experience of your special day but also significantly influences the quality of the memories captured. That’s where engagement sessions come into play, offering a perfect opportunity for both parties to break the ice, engage in meaningful conversations, and build a deeper understanding over the course of about 2 hours, setting the stage for incredible photography on your wedding day.

A pre-wedding shoot is invaluable; it lets your photographer and you, as a couple, get acquainted and experiment with styles, poses, and lighting, ensuring your wedding photos truly reflect your essence. Such sessions not only prepare you for the big day but allow your photographer to tailor their approach, capturing moments that are uniquely yours. You’ll discover what poses work best, how to address any height differences, and how your personalities and quirks translate into photographs. This understanding is crucial for creating a comfortable atmosphere and capturing the genuine connection between you two.

Moreover, considering you’ll spend a significant amount of your wedding day with your photographer, establishing a rapport during your engagement session can make a huge difference. It transforms a potentially awkward experience with a stranger into a smooth, enjoyable process with a familiar face. Getting to know your photographer beforehand and vice versa ensures that your wedding photography is not just a service but a personalised experience, making your special day even more memorable.


Your Wedding Day Will be Less Stressful if you’ve had a Pre-wedding Shoot

As a wedding professional, I’ve discovered that couples who have an engagement shoot are much more relaxed on their wedding day compared to those who haven’t. The last thing your photographer will want is for you to be worried about your photography during the time leading up to your marriage or worse yet, on the day itself. A pre-wedding session can help reduce anxiety and stress levels so you can enjoy your day as much as possible.

Many people feel nervous or awkward in front of the camera, especially if it’s their first time being professionally photographed with their partner. Engagement photo shoots are a great way to overcome this. They provide a relaxed setting where you can get used to the camera, ensuring that your wedding photos capture your true selves and the special connection you share. These sessions are more than just practice; they’re a key part of the photography experience. Photographers use these opportunities to help couples feel at ease for their big day, showing that anyone can look great in photos and challenging the idea that it’s natural to feel awkward when being photographed.

Engagement photoshoots help couples learn the best ways to look good together in photos. They help you and your photographer figure out what works so you will look your best. This experience is more than just posing; it helps you feel more relaxed and confident in front of the camera. Instead of relying solely on traditional posed photography, which has its place especially in organised group shots, I embrace a more dynamic approach by using prompts that encourage natural interaction and connection. This method not only makes the experience more enjoyable but also aims to boost your confidence in following the photographer’s direction on your big day.


An Enagement Shoot will Enhance Your Confidence for Your Wedding Gallery

Choosing a wedding photographer is a significant decision for couples, representing one of the most substantial investments of their special day. This investment is unique because the outcome remains unseen until after the festivities have concluded, a prospect that naturally stirs anxiety and uncertainty among many. Despite having access to a portfolio of the photographer’s past work, the question of how you will appear in your own wedding photos can be a source of concern, leading to apprehension about the final result.

One effective strategy to mitigate these worries is to arrange a pre-wedding photo session. This opportunity not only allows for the creation of gorgeous couple portraits but also acts as a crucial step in building trust between you and your photographer. Engaging in this session offers a sneak peek into the style and quality of the images you can expect on your wedding day. It’s an experience that reassures you of your photographer’s capabilities and helps align your expectations, significantly easing any concerns about the end product.

Moreover, seeing yourselves through the lens of your chosen professional before the big day provides a tangible sense of relief and security. It’s a firsthand demonstration of how you’ll be portrayed in your wedding album, fostering a deeper trust in your photographer’s vision and expertise. This prelude not only prepares you for what’s to come but also enhances your comfort and confidence in front of the camera, ensuring that you can fully relax and be present during your wedding, confident in the knowledge of the beautiful images that will follow.


During a Pre-Wedding Photoshoot Time is On Your Side

Weddings are famously whirlwind events where moments blend into each other, creating a beautiful but fleeting experience. Often, couples find themselves reminiscing about the day, surprised by how quickly it all passed. This rapid pace contrasts sharply with the more leisurely, unrushed atmosphere of a pre-wedding photography session. Unlike the wedding day, which is a beautiful cascade of events moving from one moment to the next, your engagement session is a breath of fresh air, offering ample time to capture your love without the pressure of a ticking clock.

The beauty of an engagement session lies in its flexibility and tranquility. Without the day-of wedding hustle, where every minute is accounted for, couples have the freedom to explore different settings, experiment with multiple outfits, and even chase the perfect light at sunset for those dreamy, golden hour photos. This relaxed environment not only ensures a diverse portfolio of images but also allows couples to become comfortable in front of the camera without feeling rushed. It’s a dedicated time for you and your partner to focus solely on each other, making it a uniquely intimate experience compared to the fast-paced wedding day.

Moreover, this unhurried approach to photography offers a valuable opportunity for couples to connect with their photographer, establishing a rapport that benefits the wedding day’s imagery. By removing time constraints, couples can express their preferences, experiment with poses, and discuss their vision in depth, ensuring that the wedding day portraits reflect their true selves. This level of personalisation and attention to detail is only possible in the calm, collected setting of a pre-wedding shoot, making it an essential component of the wedding photography experience.


You can Unleash Your Creativity Telling Your Love Story Your Way

Wedding days are definately all about love and celebration, yet they often follow a set rhythm and structure. With a fast-paced timeline they often leave little room for personal and creative flair when it comes to wedding photography. This is where the magic of an engagement session truly shines, breaking free from the time constraints of a wedding day and opening up a world of possibilities to tell your unique love story.

Imagine revisiting the place where the question was popped, floating in a hot air balloon at dawn, donning a ballgown atop a majestic mountain, or simply enjoying the comfort of your favorite coffee shop—all these scenarios can bring to life the essence of your relationship in ways that a structured wedding day might not accommodate. Your engagement shoot is the canvas on which your creativity can run wild, free from the limitations of time, location, and conventional expectations. It’s an opportunity to craft a set of images that are as unique and boundless as your love for each other.

The true beauty of a pre-wedding shoot lies in its ability to capture your narrative authentically and creatively. Whether it’s recreating significant moments, exploring dream settings, or just being together in your element, these sessions are a testament to your journey as a couple. It’s not just about the photographs; it’s about the freedom to express your individuality and the depth of your bond. With imagination as your only boundary, an engagement session empowers you to tell your love story in the most personal and imaginative way possible, setting the stage for a wedding day that continues this celebration of your unique connection.


Being Engaged is a Milestone in your Life Worth Celebrating

Transitioning from being a couple to becoming engaged is a significant milestone that marks a new chapter in your relationship. It is a period filled with anticipation, love, and the promise of a shared future. A pre-wedding portrait session offers a unique opportunity to capture the essence of this special time, allowing you to preserve and cherish these moments before you embark on your journey as a married couple.

Your engagement is more than just a lead-up to the wedding day; it’s a distinct and meaningful phase of your relationship that deserves its own celebration. It’s a time to reflect on your journey together and the steps you’re taking towards a lifelong partnership. Documenting this stage with a pre-wedding shoot not only celebrates your commitment to each other but also creates lasting memories of these precious moments. It’s a chance to step away from the hustle and bustle of wedding planning and simply enjoy being together, capturing the excitement and emotion that comes with this special milestone.

Moreover, an engagement shoot is about more than just photographs; it’s an experience that brings couples closer together. It allows you to express your love story in a more relaxed and intimate setting, away from the formalities and expectations of your wedding day. This celebration of your engagement serves as a reminder of your love and commitment to each other, setting a beautiful precedent for the chapters of your life that are yet to unfold. By taking the time to document this stage, you’re not just capturing moments; you’re celebrating a key milestone in your relationship and the foundation of your future together.


A Couple’s Pre-Wedding Shoot is Time to reconnect and appreciate each other

In the whirlwind of daily life where commitments and responsibilities often take center stage, carving out moments to appreciate and be present with your partner can become a rare treasure. A pre-wedding photoshoot offers an exceptional chance to pause, reflect, and truly savor the company of the person you are about to marry. It’s not merely a session to capture beautiful images but a dedicated time to celebrate and reinforce your bond, away from the noise and demands of everyday life.

Imagine setting aside an entire day where the sole focus is on you and your partner—dressing up for each other, sharing laughs, and creating new memories. This experience is not just about the pictures that come out of it; it’s about the process itself. The act of preparing for the shoot, choosing locations that are meaningful to you, and connecting with each other in front of the camera, all contribute to a deeper appreciation of your relationship. Following this unique experience with a romantic dinner or a special date night further extends this quality time together, making the entire day an unforgettable celebration of your love.

Engagement shoots thus serve a dual purpose: they are a celebration of your commitment and a precious opportunity to focus solely on each other. In the midst of wedding planning stress and the fast pace of modern life, these shoots remind couples of the reasons they chose each other. They allow for intimacy, vulnerability, and joy to be captured and remembered, not just through the lens of a camera but in the hearts of the couple. It’s a chance to step back from the daily grind and truly appreciate the unique connection you share, setting a strong foundation for the journey you’re about to embark on together.


You’re Getting more than a selfie with Professional Couple Portraits

While your photo albums and social media feeds may be brimming with selfies and candid shots, a pre-wedding photoshoot offers something uniquely special: the chance to have your love story beautifully captured by a professional photographer. Unlike the formal attire and specific setting of wedding photographs, engagement photos provide a more versatile portrayal of your relationship, in everyday attire, showcasing the genuine essence of your bond in a relaxed and natural setting.

Engagement sessions are not just about the locations or backdrops; they’re an opportunity to have high-quality, professional portraits taken that reflect your personalities and the dynamic of your relationship outside the context of your wedding day. These images can serve a multitude of purposes, from updating your home decor to professional uses on LinkedIn, or even as cherished gifts for family and friends. It’s an investment in memories that extends beyond the wedding, capturing the here and now of your journey together.

Beyond serving as a practical update to your personal and professional image collections, these portraits are a testament to your relationship at a specific moment in time. They capture the nuances of your connection in a way that selfies simply cannot achieve, providing a depth and quality that only a skilled photographer can deliver. The experience itself—working with a professional to create these images—can also be incredibly fun and rewarding, offering a break from the hustle of wedding planning to simply enjoy being together. This session is not just about the photos; it’s about creating lasting memories together as you embark on this exciting chapter of your lives.


Maximising your Engagement Photographs – From Invitations to Keepsakes

Your engagement photos aren’t just keepsakes; they’re versatile assets that can enhance your wedding experience and offer a personal touch to various elements of your big day and beyond. From the moment you say “yes” to long after you say “I do,” these images can serve multiple purposes, acting as a bridge between your engagement and your wedding, and even playing a role in your post-wedding life. Whether it’s incorporating them into your wedding stationery or transforming them into cherished gifts for loved ones, the possibilities are virtually endless.

Consider using your engagement photos to personalise your wedding journey, starting with save-the-date cards and invitations that give your guests a glimpse into your love story. These photos can also add a personal touch to your wedding website, helping to tell your story in a visual and engaging way. Beyond the wedding, think about turning these images into thoughtful gifts for family and friends, or even using them to create a unique guest book at your wedding, inviting guests to leave their messages alongside your beautiful portraits. The versatility of engagement photos allows them to be a recurring theme in your wedding narrative, from the engagement party to the reception, making your celebration uniquely yours.

But the utility of these photos extends even further. Envision displaying large prints at your reception or showcasing a slideshow that chronicles your journey together, adding a deeply personal touch to your celebration. For a touch of tradition, you might even consider announcing your marriage in the local newspaper, accompanied by your favorite engagement shot. The beauty of engagement photography is not just in the moment it captures but in how these moments can be woven into the fabric of your wedding celebrations and serve as lasting reminders of the love that brought you together. By creatively utilising your engagement photos, you ensure that the memories of this special time continue to enrich your lives and the lives of those around you for years to come.


An Engagement is a Great Opportunity for A Pre-Wedding Beauty Trial

An engagement shoot isn’t just an opportunity for beautiful photos; it’s also the ideal time to test drive your wedding day look. Utilising this session for a hair and makeup trial serves a dual purpose: ensuring your chosen style translates flawlessly on camera and in your final photos, and giving you the chance to see how it feels to wear it for an extended period. This trial run can provide invaluable insights, allowing you to adjust any elements that don’t meet your expectations or comfort level before your big day arrives.

The benefits of professional hair and makeup extend beyond just the aesthetic appeal; they can significantly impact the quality and look of your engagement photos. While the idea of a trial might initially seem like an extra step, or cost it’s an investment in your confidence and satisfaction with both your engagement session and wedding day imagery. Even if you decide against a full bridal trial for your engagement shoot, considering professional styling can elevate your photos and add to the special experience of the day. Plus, it’s a wonderful excuse for a bit of pre-wedding pampering, ensuring you look and feel your best as you capture these once-in-a-lifetime moments.

Ultimately, this pre-wedding shoot serves as more than just a practice run for you and your photographer; it’s a chance to perfect every detail, from your poses to your makeup. By taking advantage of this opportunity, you can ensure that when your wedding day comes, you’re not just photo-ready, but you’re also completely in love with your bridal look, having already tested its endurance and appearance on camera. This peace of mind is invaluable, allowing you to focus on the joy and love that your wedding celebrates, knowing confidently that you’ll look exactly as you’ve always dreamed.


Engagement Sessions are Unexpectedly Fun

Engagement photo sessions might start with a bit of nervousness or hesitation—after all, it’s common to hear couples express concerns about feeling awkward in front of the camera. However, these shoots often unfold into experiences full of laughter, love, and genuine enjoyment, far surpassing initial expectations. It’s this transformative process, from apprehension to fun, that makes engagement shoots an unexpectedly delightful part of the journey to your wedding day.

The magic of an engagement shoot lies not just in the beautiful photos it produces, but in the experience itself. It’s a chance to break away from the stress of wedding planning and spend quality time with your partner, capturing moments of joy and intimacy. Most couples find that any initial discomfort quickly fades as they get swept up in the moment, guided by a skilled photographer who knows how to make the session enjoyable and relaxed. The result? Authentic, joyful images that couples cherish, accompanied by the realization that being in front of the camera can actually be a lot of fun.

Feedback from couples consistently highlights the value of the engagement session as an enjoyable and memorable experience. The fun of experimenting with different poses, locations, and expressions together often leads to genuine moments of happiness and connection that shine through in the final photos. By the end of the session, the common response is one of gratitude for having taken the leap, underscoring the fact that engagement shoots are not just about preparing for the wedding day—they’re about celebrating your relationship and creating joyful memories to look back on for years to come.

A couple stands by a lake, smiling and embracing in a grayscale image; the man in a suit jacket and the woman in a sweater, capturing the tender moment of their engagement shoot.


Many of the reasons listed as to why you should have an engagement shoot have similar themes, but the message I want to contray is the same… I believe engagement shoots and couples portrait sessions are paramount to getting great wedding images.

In fact I think engagement portraits are so vital that I advise all of my wedding photography clients to have one as standard. My engagement sessions last for approximately two hours and my couples receive access to an online gallery where they can download and share the images with family and friends.

So what’s stopping you?

the artist

Jono Symonds is a Lake District Wedding Photographer & Videographer who describes himself as a visual storyteller. His goal is to create wedding imagery and film that stands the test of time and that is full of raw emotion and intimacy. He documents engagements, weddings and elopements, within The Lake District, Cumbria, while also journeying across the UK and the globe for destination weddings.

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Last Updated on 4 June 2024