Berkhamsted engagement shoot in Hertfordshire with a black labrador

Berkhamsted Common Engagement Photo

I’m photographing Nicki and Nick’s wedding this summer and as part of their engagement shoot they wanted a shot of them with their black Labrador, Rossi, for their invitations. They had an idea in mind of them looking out over Berkhamsted common with Rossi and asked if I could help. I said I’d love to. Here’s the finished image…


An engaged couple hold hands while their black labrador dog looks at their engagement ring



This was my first time working on a professional shoot with a dog, and despite what people say about never working with animals Rossi was a perfect model. OK so not every shot we took was perfect, but with a few treats we got the shots we were looking for. Nicki & Nick chose this image for their invites and I agree with them. I think the crop adds a degree of intimacy and shows the relationship between the three of them. The fact you can’t see their whole bodies I think actually works better than if you could and is a much more interesting image.

My initial idea was to get up just after dawn and catch a sunrise. However, England in February was exactly as you’d expect so it was a fairly cold and slightly drizzly morning under a mostly flat grey sky. Not to worry, I’ve got quite a bit of experience of using off camera lighting so set up my octabox with an orange gel to warm it up a bit. Why use an octagon? Well mainly to diffuse the flash so I had a lovely warm soft light. As you can see from the set up photo below I also had a second flash behind them and to the right just to lift the shadow side a little (it didn’t fire in the set up shot).


Here’s the setup:

A set up shot showing a large octabox flash and a bare flash lighting a couple posing with their dog for an engagement photo

Once I’d finished the edit and sent them the photo Nicki messaged me to say “Thanks again, we are over the moon. It’s so rare you have a picture in your head of what you would like and the reality surpasses it!” Awesome! I love getting feedback like that. I’m taking their proper engagement shoot photos next week, it’ll be a little more natural and less styled but I hope they like them just as much.

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