Some of you Sussex brides and grooms-to-be may be surprised to find yourself booked in for an engagement shoot (or pre-wedding shoot as they are sometimes called) when you book your wedding photography.
Many wedding photographers see these shoots as such an important part of your wedding photography that they integrate them into their photography packages.
They are essentially a chance to get some gorgeous relaxed photos of you both away from the time constraints of your wedding day and an opportunity for you to gain more confidence in front of the camera whilst getting to know your photographer ready for your big day.
But it’s not every day that you and your other half are professionally photographed as a couple. So you may be left racking your brains trying to think about: where you are going to have your shoot, what you are going to wear, whether to use props or have a theme and how to overcome your camera-shyness or embarrassment about being affectionate in public (the British in particular!).
So to give you some inspiration for your own Sussex engagement shoot, Love Sussex Weddings is running this series of Sussex engagement shoot ideas. Featuring location ideas and general insider hints and tips from other engaged Sussex couples and their photographers.
We are starting off with Miriam and Sam’s gorgeous nautical themed engagement shoot in Littlehampton, photographed beautifully by their appropriately named wedding photographers, Navyblur. This shoot was first featured on the brilliant Rock My Wedding and Miriam has actually appeared on Love Sussex Weddings previously too as a model in the Alice In Wonderland Inspiration Shoot.
We asked Miriam and Sam and their fantastic wedding photographers Navyblur to share their engagement shoot tips and experiences with you. Here is what they had to say:
Love Sussex Weddings: Hi Miriam! We are loving the nautical inspired theme of your Sussex engagement shoot, where did you get inspiration for your shoot (where to have it, what to wear)?
Miriam: We wanted our engagement shoot to set the scene for our ‘Great British Seaside’ themed wedding so decided to go out on our boat to begin the photo shoot. We then wanted to use the location of our local beach and amusement park where we both spent many days growing up.
I knew I wanted to find a nautical inspired dress and then found a blue and white striped one in H&M! We found the perfect t-shirt for Sam to wear with an anchor on it too and he already owned the ‘Blue Peter’ style jumper!
LSW: What a lovely place to grow up. Your outfits look great too. So tell us about your shoot?
Miriam: WE LOVED IT! We had the joy of going on a photo shoot with our lovely friends, the dynamic duo that are Navyblur! We had a typical British summer day that seemed to contain every season. It began bright and sunny, clouded over, the wind picked up and we were rained on! Perfect for the theme! We had so much fun and would do it all over again in an instant!
LSW: Typical British weather then! And what advice would you give a friend who was thinking about having an engagement shoot?
Mirium: Do it! It is so much fun and is a wonderful way to mark a special time in your relationship. We’ll treasure these photos forever and are so grateful to Xander and Christine for capturing our characters and personality.
LSW: Any camera shyness?
Miriam: Not for me, but I am known for ‘loving the camera’! Sam is slightly more shy than me, but Navyblur are so gifted at putting people at ease that it took no time at all for us to feel comfortable in front of the camera.
LSW: And finally can you tell us a little about your Sussex wedding plans?
Miriam: Our ‘Great British Seaside’ themed wedding is going to be held in Arundel, West Sussex, marking the start of the next chapter of this wonderful adventure. We can’t wait!
LSW: Sounds amazing! Thanks Miriam and Sam. Now over to their photographers, the lovely Xander and Christine from Navyblur for their handy tips for engagement shoots… Hi guys, love these photos. Can you tell us what the benefits of having an engagement shoot are for your couples?
Navyblur: Where do we begin! For us, being wedding photographers is all about building up a relationship with each of our couples so that by the time it comes to their big day, we’re simply just another set of friends who happen to be capturing all the elements of their wedding. By meeting up with our couples and then doing an engagement shoot, we get excited with them about their wedding as we hear all the plans slowly but surely fall into place. It goes without saying as well that being in front of a camera before your wedding, really helps you to relax. Nearly every single one of our couples starts off the engagement shoot by saying ‘I hate getting my photo taken’ or ‘I’m really not photogenic’ or simply ‘I’m so nervous about being in front of a camera’ but by 10 minutes in, they say, ‘…this really isn’t that bad!’ and sometimes even, ‘…ohh I’m quite enjoying this!’ Basically, we know everyone can look great in a photo if they’re put at ease (hopefully by us!), being simply directed into natural poses and ultimately having a laugh with their husband/wife-to-be (even if it’s nervous giggles at first!) Then as soon as they see how awesome they look in our photos, they’re going to be so much more confident on their wedding day and let us do what we do best… taking photos of them and the fun of their wedding all day long!
LSW: They do look awesome too. Any tips you give your couples before they have their engagement shoot (for locations, themes, props, what to wear)?
Navyblur: The what to wear one is super easy, wear what you’re totally comfortable in! For example, Xander loves a zippy hoody, and he looks pretty hot in one too, and we recently got married ourselves and just before our big day we got to have an engagement shoot ourselves. If I’d tried to dress him up in a shirt and fancy trousers, he wouldn’t have felt at ease or looked like himself one bit, so needless to say he wore a hoody and looked great! Whereas, if you’re the kind of person who rocks a shirt and it’s how you feel you look your best, then wear it and you’re going to look awesome! Our couples look awesome when they are being themselves. As far as locations/ themes/props go, we again just want it to be something that means something to the couple. Sam and Miriam are the perfect example of this, their great british seaside engagement shoot was a no brainer with Sam owning a boat and this pair loving everything sea-side related, they were always going to have fun being in their favourite places. Whereas if it had just been us as the photographers coming up with this theme and trying to get a random couple to fit into the scene, it just wouldn’t have worked the same. We always say to bring anything if it means something to the couple, if not, simply bring yourselves and the rest will fall into place. We definitely recommend places if the couple don’t mind where they go and we’re big fans of city locations, mainly for the colours and variety of backdrops. It doesn’t always have to be pretty looking places — the dingiest of areas can make for the coolest of photos!
LSW: Good advice, we will be featuring city engagement shoot ideas on Love Sussex Weddings soon too. So, now can you tell us what you think works well for an engagement shoot?
Navyblur: What works for us is a happy couple, ready to have a good time with their other half and just enjoying the time spent together. We want to capture the natural reactions between our couples when they’re being themselves, doing all the silly things they normally do when it’s just them two. We love nothing more than laughter in photos! Ultimately, if the couple trust their photographer and their photographer is easy to get on with, it’s going to produce some amazing photos!
LSW: And finally, what advice do you give your couples to help them relax in front of the camera and get through any camera shyness?
Navyblur: Most people are scared of their ‘Chandler Bing’ face coming out if they have to smile into a camera for too long, so our best advice is don’t! Our most simple direction is for the couple to look at each other, not at us. It works a treat! Then as the shoot goes on we can work on photos where they might have to look at the camera, but by this time they’re smizing away loving the experience! If couples have seen our photos and chosen us because they like what we do, then we hope they’ll trust us to make them look awesome no matter how shy or nervous they are at first.
A big thanks to Miriam and Sam for sharing their great ideas and beautiful Sussex engagement shoot with us today. Thanks very much to Navyblur too for their stunning photos and for giving us their handy tips, and most importantly for telling us how to prevent our ‘Chandler Bing’ face being caught on camera!
Loads of ideas and inspiration there if you are pondering your own Sussex engagement shoot. And what a great county we live in for a nautical theme or backdrop for your engagement shoot too, with locations like Brighton Marina, Shoreham Harbour, Littlehampton, the possibilities are endless! Feel free to add more nautical Sussex location ideas in the comments section below too.
And for those of you who like Miriam and Sam are planning a seaside inspired engagement shoot or wedding you might want to check out our directory for some fabulous local wedding suppliers who offer all sorts of beautiful seaside themed wedding bits and pieces, including nautical themed DIY stationery packs and general seaside themed stationery and favours. One of our fab new listers even has a beach-hut for hire in Hove! How cute for an engagement shoot, mini hen-party or wedding day photo-shoot? We’ve also created a new ‘Seaside Inspiration’ category here on the blogazine too, so that you can check out all our real weddings that include seaside themed inspiration and ideas. Shiver me timbers!