Planning Guides: Your pre-wedding engagment shoot

Pre-wedding engagement shoot photo by Philip Dignum Photography

You may already know that we include a pre-wedding engagement shoot with all our wedding coverage packages. Not only are they a big free bonus to you guys, but they are advantageous to us as photographers too.

This big post is to help you understand what they are all about and what to expect.

I’m pretty confident that 95% is an accurate proportion for the amount of our couples who say that they aren’t big fans of having their photos taken. So for most pre-wedding engagement shoots it will be me, Phil, joining you. You’ll be getting two photographers on your wedding day, but sometimes it’s a little easier to start practicing with just me. We wouldn’t want you to feel that you’re getting the paparazzi treatment; unless that’s your thing, in which case let’s go for it!

I tend to feel a little spoilt on a pre-wedding engagement shoot, as most of the time we’re not in a rush. The shoot moves forward at a relaxing leisurely pace. It’s a nice point of difference to a busy wedding day. Another way they are different to wedding shoots is that the sole focus is you, rather than the excitement and distractions of a wedding day going on all around you. Don’t worry if that sounds a little full-on, as I’m there to talk you through everything, and offer advice and coaching as needed. As you can probably tell from the little compilation below, the relaxed pace lets you warm up slowly, and by the end of almost every shoot couples have forgotten the camera is there as they’re more distracted by having fun with each other.


The biggest advantages of a pre-wedding engagement shoot is the chance for us to get to know each other better before your wedding day, the opportunity for you to become accustomed to being in front of the camera. It’s a good time to figure out what suits you best as a couple, what works well for you both and what may not be the right fit. Last but in no way least, you’ll receive some awesome relaxed photos of you both.

Pre-wedding engagement shoot photo by Philip Dignum Photography


We don’t just jump straight in to taking photos. On the average pre-wedding engagement shoot we’ll find somewhere to sit and chat for a while first. We run through the plans for your day, and discuss how Toby and I will best capture everything for you.

Once we’ve got to know each other a little better, then it’s time for me to get my camera ready. Depending on the location you’ve chosen for your shoot will dictate slightly as to how we go about things.

For the most part we’ll start strolling around your location, looking out for interesting backdrops for your photos. I’ll help you work out where to stand, and we can try various different ways of how you interact together to start to get an idea of what works well.

The photos will always look better with some form of physical interaction; holding hands, having a cuddle, leaning on each other. We’ll work out what suits you. As we progress we might try a few different creative ideas.

That pretty much sums up a pre-wedding engagement shoot. At its simplest, we go for a stroll and take some photos!

Pre-wedding engagement shoot photo by Philip Dignum Photography


There’s a few options depending on how you feel and how you’d like to plan ahead. It can be advantageous to have your shoot at your chosen wedding venue. This let us see your ceremony room, discuss the space available, and how you’d like us to cover that part of the day. Physically being in the ceremony room really helps this process.

It also means that you get to try out actual locations at your venue to see how they look as a backdrop before the big day itself. That way on your wedding day you know ahead of time where you’d like to head to for photos. However, wedding venues can be busy places and it’s worth being mindful that if other events are taking place, access may be limited for engagement shoots. Don’t panic if this is the case: chances are we’ve shot at your venue before, and even if we haven’t, experience is on our side.

If you’re on the nervous side about when it comes to being photographed, you most likely will want to avoid a busy location. If not at your wedding venue, think about whether you like a rural or urban locations. Which would suit you and reflect your relationship best?

If you decide on a rural / parkland shoot, it’s a great idea to opt for an interesting location with varying features and backdrop option. Somewhere that can incorporate open areas, as well as woods, and possible lakes or fountains.

Pre-wedding engagement shoot photo by Philip Dignum Photography


Due to the busy nature of the summer ceremony season, pre-wedding engagement shoots are best booked in for late autumn or springtime. We want to ensure we have plenty of lovely natural light, so taking sunset times in to consideration is important.

Pre-wedding engagement shoot photo by Philip Dignum Photography


I tend to suggest to wear something comfortable, that you feel flatters you. Not only will it make our walk easier, but it will give you a little confidence boost if you feel your outfits suits you well. Go with what suits you as a couple. If you like to dress up a little more then go for it! Try to leave bags at home so you don’t have to carry anything around. It’s a good idea to avoid busily patterned clothing, but there’s no hard and fast rule. To stand out on varying backdrops bold colours can work well, but don’t worry if that’s not really your thing. If it’s chilly, remember a coat. Coats can work well as a mini costume change option too. Sensible outdoor footwear is obviously also ideal!

More of our pre-wedding engagement shoots can be found on our site here, and you can see all out pre-shoot blog posts here.

Pre-wedding engagement shoot photo by Philip Dignum Photography

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