| CONNECTION SHOOTS | Advice from Daniel Hughes

As part of their wedding packages, wedding photographers often include a pre-wedding shoot. Many of us feel nervous about the thought of being front & centre and the pressure of wanting to come away from your wedding with perfect pictures can be a worry. Engagement (or connection) shoots are great opportunity to get used to being comfortable in front of the camera and get to know your snapper before the big day. We caught up with photographer, Daniel Hughes, who gives us the lowdown on what to expect and how to make the most of YOUR pre-wedding shoot.

"Connection shoots are commonly known as engagement shoots or pre-wedding shoots. They are designed to help engaged couples get used to the camera. They have always been a big part of how I tell the story of my couples and their wedding.
The brilliant thing, at the moment, about them is that they are often outdoors and it’s very easy to social distance. They are safe and, for me at least, a little bit of normality during these uncertain times.

Having your photograph taken by wedding photographer isn’t an everyday occurrence. When it’s time for couples to have photographs of themselves, it can be really daunting. This is completely normal but it helps to be prepared.
This is where my connection shoots come in. I’ve designed them to be fun, relaxed and all about you as a couple. The recent connection shoots I’ve done have been so much fun. They’ve reminded me why I love my job so much!"

Why are connection shoots a good idea?

I’m going to be honest, when I first heard about engagement shoots I wasn’t all that fussed. It didn’t really make sense to me and how I worked. However, I began to realise that I was missing a trick, let me tell you why.

I am, at heart, a documentary wedding photographer. Sometimes that lends itself to situations where guidance is needed and yet, forced posing is just not what my couples want. If I walked into a room and I had zero connection with a couple, getting the natural photos that we both want will take some time. That time just isn’t always there on a wedding day.

With a connection shoot I have more freedom to convey what I want from my couples and what I’m trying to achieve. This lends itself really well to a wedding day.

What do you expect the couple to do?

I’m not after much really. I just know that if you start talking about the washing up, or anything that makes your shoulders slump, then I will intervene. However, for the most part, I don’t want to shape how you are with each other, I want to *bring it out*. There are staple shots that I love to take, but I will use the environment around us and, ultimately, how you are within that scene is what I am looking to capture.

Any top tips?

I really don’t want you to look at the camera! We’re here to get a documentary account of you as a couple, and we’re going to have fun but unless the shot makes sense to what’s going on, I don’t want you just looking at the camera. The shoot is aimed at making you more relaxed about your wedding photography. One of the ways I do that is to make it less about having your pictures taken and more about just being you!


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