There is no doubt that Ireland has some of the most stunning and dramatic scenery for engagement photoshoots and elopements. Just choose between breathtaking cliffs, Atlantic Ocean beaches with sand dunes, one of numerous castle ruins scattered across the country or cobbled lanes beside the Guinness brewery in Dublin. Cliffs of Moher, Glendalough and Wicklow Mountains, Temple Bar or Stephen’s Green Park are some of the most popular locations for engagement photos with engaged couples travelling from all over the world.
However, sometimes you don’t need to hike a mountain to get great pre-wedding images. Michelle and Rob, who are one of my couples getting married in Virginia Park Lodge in Cavan in 2019, chose to have their engagement shoot on the grounds of their wedding venue. Virginia Park Lodge is located on the shores of Lough Ramor lake and is surrounded by beautiful Deer Park, providing so many amazing backdrops for the images. Natural engagement photos often require an intimate setting and location, away from crowds of tourists if you truly want to be able to feel relaxed. This country location in the heart of Ireland, with only birds, squirrels and and odd dog walker for witnesses can help couples relax in front of the camera whilst taking a stroll and enjoying the peaceful countryside.
An engagement shoot can help couples who are feeling nervous about being photographed on their wedding day, get used to the way a photographer works and know what to expect during the portrait session on the wedding day itself. It’s also nice to have some casual photos of yourself, other than those in the wedding dress and suit! Couples can also use their engagement images for their wedding stationery like save the date cards, their wedding website with all the info for the guests, a signing frame you can place at the reception for the wedding guests to write their well wishes on etc.
The best times for an engagement shoot are at sunrise or early in the morning and just before the sunset. I met Michelle and Rob early in the morning after they traveled from Dublin and shortly after the morning fog lifted and we were rewarded with the most beautiful sunny day. The water on the lake was so still and quiet, the dew on the grass was sparkling reflecting the light and it created such a great atmosphere for us!
We took a stroll towards the lake and back to the venue to check out the grounds and discuss the couples’ wedding plans, locations for their wedding day photos and just talked about life (mostly travel and food!). They wanted natural photos, but weren’t quite sure what the experience would feel like for them. A few days after the photoshoot I got the following feedback from my lovely bride, which I’m over the moon about:
“Hi Dasha, we viewed them all, thank you so much, more than we expected! I am very glad we did it, as I feel more prepared now for the BIG day, so hopefully I will be more relaxed. Your techniques and the results you get from them are very clever. Showed some of the pictures to one or two family members and they were very impressed. Now to print one or two out and frame, I shall add to the list! Thank you again so much!”