Despite this being the age of the selfie, it is normal for couples to feel an initial sense of awkwardness when it comes to their engagement photoshoot. Not only is the process of having professional photos taken something they may not have done since they at school, but there is the added pressure of creating an image of themselves as a couple that they feel is a genuine representation of them. No matter how majestic the backdrop, how beautiful the clothing and how skillfully the photos are shot and edited, if the resulting photos do not reflect how the subjects see themselves, then they are not successful engagement photos.
Most of my couple’s photoshoot consultations begin with me asking the couple lots of questions to help them decide on the perfect setting/s for their engagement photos. Not so with Funda and Serhan! The drama teacher and her fiance had very clear ideas about how they wanted their photos to look, and I was very excited to get on board and help them create the engagement photo album of their dreams. After discussing a variety of ideas, we settled on four concepts: a Star Wars lightsaber fight; a romantic backdrop inspired by Old Hollywood glamour; and romantic outdoor shoot; and a relaxed collection showing their fun and energetic personalities.
Much preparation went into sourcing the costumes and props for these photos, and we scouted several locations in London before we settled on the theatre where the shoot took place. Part of my role as an engagement photographer is to use my experience to advise and guide clients about what will work well concerning setting and clothing. The best photos are a true collaboration between subject and photographer, where all of us have a shared vision and work together to turn it into a reality. Serhan and Funda are one of the most creative and enthusiastic people we have had the pleasure to work with, and I think the results of these engagement photos show that.
Funda was responsible for most of the props, and we worked hard to create a story rather than something that looked staged. For example, the shot of her in the dressing room features a personalised “Hollywood Walk of Fame” star. The clapperboard was another clever film prop, as was the sign with “The Hassans” – because you should certainly feel like a star in your own photoshoot! I also loved the Star Wars sword-fight scene, while the giant heart with traditional bulb lights really stood out on the dark stage.
The last set of indoor photos are sophisticated and glamorous, allowing Serhan and Funda to reveal another facet of their relationship. The theatre may be Funda’s world, but Serhan completely embraced the concept and, I think, enjoyed it more than he expected he would at the start of the day!
As well as dark, theatrically lit photos, we also wanted to show off the couple’s fresh, energetic side, and outdoors was the ideal setting. Again, this fun-loving couple showed how in sync they were in their choice of matching outfits and mirroring poses. The sports-inspired tops and custom-made “Team Hassan” caps encouraged the couple to relax and mess around a little.
The second set out outdoor photos were taken with Serhan and Funda wearing the same suit and dress as in the theatre. This choice of outfits has the effect of subtly linking the entire portfolio so the photos can be displayed on their own, or as part of a unified group. These engagement photos served two purposes. The first was to get some lovely shots the couple could use as part of their wedding announcement and preparations, while the second was a dress-rehearsal for the big day.
I cannot emphasise enough how beneficial an engagement photo shoot is for the wedding photos. By the time it came to do the wedding photography for Funda and Serhan, which you can see here, we were all used to working together. The newlyweds were able to relax and enjoy the process, and I think their wedding photos were even better because of that working relationship we had established.
You can also watch the video Highlights of Serhan and Funda’s wedding day in London here.