An London engagement shoot at Kew Gardens
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A wintery pre-wedding shoot at The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, for Emily and Hamish.

Almost every initial conversation I have with potential couples goes the same way, which is, they really dislike having their photo taken! Confession from an engagement photographer (that’s me!), nor do I, so I totally empathise. It’s what led me down the path of being a documentary-style engagement and wedding photographer. Real, relaxed and informal shots is what I love and what I do, and how do we get the best of this on your wedding day? By practicing!

Pre-wedding shoots are gradually becoming more popular in the UK, and it makes my heart sing! These informal days are the chance for you as a couple to get used to having your photos taken, and help you better understand how I work, so when it comes to the big day we’re singing from the same hymn-sheet, so to speak!

Plus, it’s a chance to hang out in some pretty stunning locations like Kew Gardens….

I met with Emily and Hamish on possibly the coldest day of the century (no exaggeration!), which is a far cry from our first meeting. Emily and I had briefly met when I was shooting her lovely friend’s wedding in France in the summer of 2022. Pop over here to have a quick look because it really was a dream to shoot and is fantastic inspiration if you’re planning a destination wedding, plus will help you dream of warmer days if like me you’re over these frosty February days.

Kew Gardens is utterly stunning, picturesque and is easy to get to. It’s another of London’s UNESCO World heritage sites, which gives you an idea as to why it’s such a popular choice for couples and photographers alike. There are stunning backdrops around every corner, whether it’s Grecian Temples, Japanese gardens, and whimsical English gardens. And standing proud in its grounds is the striking Temperate House, the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse, and home to over 1,500 species of exotic plants. It was the Temperate House that we headed to first, on the aforementioned coldest day of the year!

Emily and Hamish were laidback and fun to work with which allowed me to easily capture some images of them looking natural, comfortable and utterly loved-up. The Temperature House provided a lush green backdrop, and helped us warm up before our wander around the rest of the Gardens.

By the end of our session the light was simply glorious and we got some fantastic shots, both inside and outside. I really enjoyed meeting up with them both (they’re the sweetest couple ) and I can’t wait for their up-and-coming wedding at Dulwich College later in the year.

A Kew Garden engagement shoot
A couple on the spiral staircase at Kew Garden
An engagement shoot at Kew Garden
Engagement shoots at Kew Garden
Couple walking arm in arm by the Palm house at Kew garden
Engagement shoot at Kew Garden in the Palm house

A bit of (Kew Garden) house keeping.

Kew Gardens provides the perfect setting for a relaxed engagement shoot because not only is it breathtakingly beautiful, it’s also easily accessible. Train links in and out of London are a doddle as it’s serviced by two train stations (Kew Bridge and Richmond stations) and by tube (Kew Garden station). It has it’s own car park (TW9 3AF) though spaces are limited and are available on a first come, first served basis.

The other bit to be aware of is all pre-wedding / engagement shoots require a permit that allows you access to the Garden during opening hours on a pre-arranged date. It costs £75 +VAT on top of the entrance fee. It’s totally worth it because (have I mentioned before?!) Kew offers an exceptional backdrop to any shoot.

And finally…

It can be daunting as well as time consuming embarking on wedding admin (and I like you lot a lot!) so I’ve made a list of my top 39 favourite London engagement shoot locations. Pop over and check them out, and don’t forget to get in touch as I really would love to hear your plans!