Sian and Tom's Engagement shoot at Wilverley Inclosure, The New Forest
Before I chat about this gorgeous engagement session at my absolute favourite place to shoot, I would like to share about two (I know, two!) revelations I had this week. Or rather more accurately, two things that happened this week that led to revelations.
This first was when I was chatting to a lovely prospective couple and we were arranging when to have a chat via Zoom. I realised that I already had something booked in for their wedding date, and so by way of apology for not saying so straight away, I said that I would put some feelers out in the various wedding photographer groups that I am in, to see the following; who was available that date, who was in the right price range for the right number of hours, who offered an engagement shoot as part of the package and who had a similar editing style to me.
There were over 30 responses from photographers. I looked at every single website to try to find the perfect fit for the lovely couple and what I discovered was that there was no one who offered exactly the same as me. The photographers were all excellent, but some were way more expensive, or offered a limited amount of photos, or didn't include an engagement shoot, or had a completely different editing style to me. These were all photographers who would offer the perfect package to different couples, but it made me realise that what I offer is unique.
That is quite a revelation when you are in what can feel like a very oversaturated market. It often seems like there are always photographers offering the same thing as you, but in reality, every photographer offers a completely different experience.
I always end my Zoom meetings with potential clients by saying that they need to go and have a good chat about whether I am the right photographer for them. You don't just have to like my work, but you have to like me too, since I'm the one you'll be spending a considerable amount of time with on your wedding day.
So, my first revelation of the week, that what I have to offer potential clients is unique, was quite a big one for me.
My second revelation came when I was finishing up a Zoom chat with a different potential couple. I was finishing up with my usual chat about making sure they were really certain about me and my editing style before deciding to book, and that is when they told me that they had looked at lots and lots of photographers websites and only chosen to have a meeting with me.
They said that the reason was that it comes across in my photographs that I am really invested in the couple and involved on the day. I am not just someone who observes from the outside. They said that I look like I am a guest at the wedding, rather than just some stranger standing in the corner taking photos.
I think this might be one of the nicest compliments I have ever received, and it made my heart sing, because this is exactly how I feel about my lovely Brides and Grooms. I work very hard to make the couple feel as relaxed as possible, make sure the guests don't feel like family photos are some form of torture and make sure the day runs smoothly. This was revelation number two; the fact that how much I adore my couples comes across in my photographs. I do genuinely feel like I'm photographing my friends...
... which is rather a coincidence, since this lovely engagement shoot is actually of my friends!!!
I honestly believe that the engagement shoot, or if we were to term it more accurately, the 'practice shoot' is a game changer for helping couples to feel relaxed being photographed, which helps them be more relaxed on the wedding day and helps the photo portion of the day to run smoother and quicker.
Most people feel a bit uncomfortable having a huge camera pointed at them and being told to look lovingly into their fiancee's eyes. I get it. I feel awkward with a camera pointed at me too!
But, practicing the poses, even if it is months in advance of the wedding, helps the couple to know what to expect on the wedding day. Knowing what to expect takes away some of the nerves. You don't have to remember the poses exactly on the wedding day, but knowing vaguely what to expect goes a long way to easing some of those jitters.
For this lovely shoot at Wilverley Inclosure a couple of weeks ago, I had a very nervous groom and a very chilled out bride. It does tend to be the men who get more nervous being in front of the camera. I don't know if being friends made him even more nervous, or if it helped a little bit!
I've known Tom for 13 years! (Wow, that makes me feel old). We went to the same University and my husband will be his best man at their wedding in April. It's going to be bizarre taking photos of my own husband making a speech at a wedding!
As soon as Tom introduced us to Sian, we knew that she was perfect for him. She is beautiful and full of life and has a wicked sense of humour. When you find a girl like that, you've just got to propose!
I'm really excited for their big day. I get to capture photos of their special day, and then (for once) when I put down the camera after their first dance, I get to stay and party!!!