E-shoot tips: Why couples argue 48hrs prior to shooting

Ok so I’ve been ‘umming and err-ing” about this post. Not sure if it’s the smartest thing to do and I may seriously regret it later! But knowing that it’s uncomfortable for me to share it … pretty much means … I should.

OK … so. Really not sure how to say this. – without shooting myself in the foot.

Laying it all out in the open
So here goes … about 80% of my couples have a mini domestic within the 24-48 hours leading up to the photo shoot. There I said it! Not all of them do but there is a definite majority and it’s definitely common.

Why am I sharing this? Because I think if you’re doing an engagement shoot I think you should know this in advance – and if it does happen (ie. a moment of tension) … it’s ok and nothing is wrong with you.

The psychology that goes on just before an engagement shoot
I must warn you in advance that I’m totally making this up LOL. It’s really just my observations but I’m sharing it anyway. There is a very different psychology that goes on between couples who have a vested interest in their shoot and couples that don’t.

What do I mean by this? Couples who are doing engagement shoots for the sake of doing them or doing them because they are ‘free’ part of their wedding package usually (but not always) have ‘less on the line’ than couples who consciously invest the time and money into an engagement shoot that tell a photographic love story.

Falling in love with your own love story
With my couples, I really sit down with them and construct an idea, concept and story specifically tailored for them. What they love about each other and what they love about their relationship. In this creative phase both them and I get really excited about the possibilities and ideas. And in some ways we get really attached to the outcome.

So what does that mean emotionally? The story and the essence of the photo shoot takes on a life of its own. It develops and matures and with that development (ie. vested interest) … one of the couple (usually, but not always, the bride-to-be) feels the pressure to deliver the essence and vision of the story.

Ok at this point I’m going to side step for a moment and tell you why I think this energy / pressure is significant and important and why it means so much to me … And then I promise at the end I will take it full circle and give you a simple 3 step solution if you’re feeling the pressure.

A slight detour

If you have read my About page you will understand what drives me when it comes to engagement shoots – it’s my deep fascination and appreciation for this transition phase that takes place before marriage. It’s both challenging and beautiful to love someone you need to compromise with – especially when it comes to organising a wedding.

And the tension that gets built before an engagement shoot is simply the transition phase in motion – in real life – it’s authentic and it also shows me they deeply care about the engagement shoot. So in a strange weird way … me knowing, hearing or being a witness to that moment of tension is really a beautiful thing and I’m grateful that my couples share these moments with me. Sometimes they call me a couple days prior or the night before, on the day of etc. And I can appreciate that moment for what it is without judgment.

Those moments of tension are what make you stronger as a couple so that when you are finally married on your wedding day … the up and down journey is what makes it worthwhile and memorable.

Now coming back full circle
…. (I promised you I would : ))
If you are feeling the tension before an engagement shoot and you’re frustrated your partner isn’t doing enough, doesn’t care, should have done xyz like you told him to etc, etc, etc …. I want you to remember 3 things:

  1. It’s not that he or she does not care …
    If your partner isn’t ‘stepping up and doing his / her bit’ … appreciate it’s probably because he / she does not know what to do because they are out of their comfort zone. You’re probably nervous as well but your partner is probably more nervous and is hoping you’ll lead the way cos he / she doesn’t know what to do. And with that in mind … be nice and gentle and loving to both yourself and them.
  2. Be open to telling your art director / photographer what’s going on.
    I’m quite lucky that my couples talk to me very openly. This really helps me because I need to know where they are at at the start of the shoot so I know where to take them. Whatever dynamic or energy is going on, I will channel it and use it to add depth to the photo. eg. If a couple is feeling tense and silent, I will start with some very still moments. If they are anxious and nervous, I’ll start them off with props to relax them. If there is live tension I definitely want to know about it and use it.
  3. Trust and Let Go.
    I can’t say this enough. This is really important. You have picked your art director / stylist / photographer for a reason. You had faith in them when you booked them so have faith in them on the day of the shoot. No matter what the weather is, no matter what props you forgot, or if your Jimmy Choos break or the wind has messed up your hair … it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is that you think is not perfect, let it go. The art director and photographer know the vision and outcome of the shoot, and you have to trust they have the talent, know how and expertise to work it and make it happen. The moment you let go and be present with your partner – the heavens will move and change to tell your love story. I truly believe that. And if you let go, you will be blown away by the magic that happens.

So I’m going to end my post here by saying … really allow yourself to play and enjoy your engagement shoot. If a moment of tension comes up, have it and then let it go. If nothing comes up, have that moment and let it go too. If you have a deep desire to do something different and creative, expect different and creative challenges. I promise you it will be what makes it so rewarding!

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