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  • Writer's pictureSally Smart

Getting To Know You Shoot....

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

With all my wedding bookings I always try to organise an engagement shoot. To be honest I don’t call it that as my couples have often been engaged for a long time. I like to call it a “Getting to Know You” shoot. It lasts about 15 to 20 minutes and is absolutely not scary at all!

The whole idea is for us all to get to know each other better! In fact, I will go as far to say that I do it for personally selfish reasons – I like to have a little practice with my couples! Sounds weird? It’s not :0) Let me explain….

On your big day I get much better images from couples who are happy – obviously! But stressing about photos is a real thing. Many couples do not feel comfortable or confident in front of the camera and nothing I can say will change their mind. Actions speak louder than words, so almost all couples feel a million times better after the shoot as they realise it is just not as scary as they think!

I do the shoots around Prestatyn, Dyserth or the local area. There are plenty of amazing places away from the public eye to go. I love Dyserth Waterfalls, around Barkby beach and in the sand dunes of Talacre. I have some organised for Abergele and St Asaph too but often don’t have time to travel an hour or so for such a short shoot and try to arrange a compromise and meet in the middle!

I look at body language the most and see how my couples interact. Some couples are very natural and have a closeness which is lovely to shoot, others need a little bit of direction, how to stand, where to place hands, that sort of thing. I also check out your kissing skills! Some guys do not close their eyes when they kiss and it’s pretty odd, so we have a giggle and get them to practice more ;0)

I love just chatting through their plans and this often gets them to open up a little. There is always a huge amount of laughter and this makes the time go much quicker. If I know what makes them laugh and smile, I can use it for more natural shots. I have been known to be a little silly myself and I see the funny side of most of what I get up to, and this often puts my couples at ease.

I am not a strict photographer, I try not to overly pose my couples, it’s just not my style. I have been complimented on some lovely natural shots which are “not posed” but little do they know that they absolutely were set up. There is a massive difference!

During the short 20-minute shoot I will be looking at their height difference, kissing skills, naturalness, and what makes them smile and laugh. In addition, we also have a frank discussion on “issues” such as scars, tattoos, moles or spots! Some people have a “good” side, a tattoo they do not want to show, are prone to breakouts, have a bald patch they are not happy with or have a scar which concerns them. If I know the issue, I can either not shoot it or digitally “fix it”. I’m not going to turn the bride into an unrecognisable model or a groom into Brad Pitt but…. I can tweak issues. I often find that once my couples know that the scar etc will not be a problem then again, they are more relaxed on the day!

Following the shoot, I edit the images in my usual style and then pass them over to the couple. If they have any concerns, again, we can address them before the wedding.

All these things make for a happy, relaxed couple!

It’s not always possible to coordinate diaries before the big day as we all have work and busy lives, so if we can’t, luckily I am a fast learner and queen of winging it!

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