Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Jo & Ash's Real Life Engagement in Hyde Park, London: Capturing the Moment

You may well be familiar with the concept of an "engagement shoot" by now - little photo sessions where the photographer gets together with the couple before a wedding to get to know each other, make some fun images wearing some nice clothes in the couple's favourite spots. But what does "engagement shoot" really mean? I mean... they're already engaged right? They're already planning their wedding and most likely announced it. I sometimes prefer to call them "couple shoots" or "love documentaries..." <-- okay, maybe that sounds a bit soppy, maybe not that one. Let's go with couple shoot. They're more of a fun and exciting session, day out and excuse to make some truly great images and I enjoy them immensly. BUT, what if you got to photograph the ACTUAL moment at which the couple got engaged? You got to capture the sweet moments when one asked the other to be theirs forever and ever, the expression, tears and emotion that followed and give them the gift of immortalising those moments and being able to look at them forever more. That's a real engagement shoot. 
Here's the very real and authentic engagement shoot of the incredible Jo & Ash in Hyde Park gardens, London. It has to be hands down my most favourite engagement shoot, for many many reasons, and I'm about to show you why. 

Back in the summer, Ash got into contact with me to ask me to be a part of his secret mission. I had never met Ash before but I knew of him as his (at that point) girlfriend Jo was my former violin teacher & friend from university - my instagram feed was filled with all their adventures over the past few months and I had enjoyed watching their relationship blossom. When he told me that he was going to ask her to marry him I admit, I did that girly squeal... and when he asked me to be there to capture it live... I was utterly made over. 
The plan was, that he was to treat her to a beautiful day of recreating their first dates and doing extremely special things with the proposal planned for the afternoon where I would be hidden in the park waiting to capture the moment. He told me he was going to be doing it in front of the Italian fountains so I arrived an hour early and tried my best to hide in the park. 
Only there were two problems: It was pouring with rain and there was nowhere discrete to hide. I was so worried that Jo would spot me, no matter how hard I tried my best to look like just another tourist sat in the park fiddling with their DSLR camera and photographing pigeons. 

I'm not going to let you believe otherwise, I had never done this before (the capturing the real moment thing). My heart was in my throat, I was so worried that Jo would recognise me and I'd spoil the moment or not get the best angle. I'm not going to include the genuine "on bended knee" moment because that is their precious memory to enjoy privately. Instead I'll share with you the mock up proposal shot we did afterwards. I tried to give them a bit more privacy during the proposal by hiding behind the statues so I didn't get a "classic" view - getting this shot would have meant utterly invading their privacy and trashing their moment. Of course, Jo did spot me but she was beaming with joy and waving excitedly at that moment - I can't even communicate to you what an honour it was to witness their real life engagement... I felt like an onlooker to such a secret and sacred moment. 

Afterwards, we spent the next hour dancing around the park, playing with the gorgeous setting and capturing their amazing relationship. Remember I said it was pouring with rain all morning? The best part was, the sun came out especially for Ash's proposal, and the light was magical... it was almost as if somebody up above wanted their moment to be absolutely perfect for them... 

These two were so natural and such a treat to photograph. They danced around the park together like a delicate whirlwind as if I wasn't there, I barely gave them direction at all... I just chased after them clicking my camera like a madwoman.

The gardens were the perfect spot for a city proposal... So romantic and idyllic. I still couldn't get over the fact that it had been miserable and raining throughout the day and the moment Ash and Jo entered the park, the rays of sunshine were shining brightly down on them from between the rain clouds.

I'm probably vastly oversharing from this shoot... but how can I not? I love how natural the shots are and just how darn beautiful the love is between these two souls.

The setting was so autumnal and dreamy... it was incredible how there was this perfect, romantic and fairytale spot right in the heart of the city. I think it's safe to say that Ash totally nailed the proposal thing.

These two were so playful and fun to chase around. I was so delighted to be a part of their story, these photographs are special to me because not only are they so real and natural but Jo is someone I really admire and I'm so excited to witness the start of the journey between her and Ash.

Then it did start to rain again... but it didn't stop the park looking beautiful, in fact... it had the opposite effect. I love how the droplets of rain reflected against the light and off my lens.

 Forgive oversharing but...

Thankyou so so so much Ash for inviting me to be a part of this. I can't wait to witness your journey together and see what life has in store for you both! 


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