Written by Bethany, PA to Luke Granger

You know when you meet someone and you just click? This is how the 4 of us felt when we first met, so Luke & I were over the moon when Claudia and Steven got in touch to book the photography for their September 2021 wedding.

When we first spoke at The South East Wedding Show, we soon worked out that we all had loads in common and in general got a really good vibe from each other, something that is actually very rare in such a short amount of time.

Creating a solid bond with your wedding photographer is really important, we always want our clients to feel comfortable around us and enjoy the experience as a whole. Hiring a wedding photographer isn't a typical business transaction, its welcoming someone to be a huge part of one of the biggest days of your life and trusting them to capture memories you haven't even made yet; an important factor that is often overlooked when couples are making the decision of which wedding photographer to book.

We always build on this with our couples, especially as we grow closer to their wedding day, but we are so pleased to have established a great connection with Claudia & Steven already. We have had their engagement shoot at Great Fosters Hotel in the diary for a few months and were thankful that despite being in the midst of a global pandemic, we could still go ahead as planned for a beautiful August shoot at their wedding venue.

Although Luke Granger Photography is based in Kent, It's great for us to be able to explore new locations across the country as part of our work. Claudia & Steven's venue choice of Great Fosters in Egham, Surrey was a new wedding venue for us to visit and it didn't take long to understand how it had reached the top of their wedding venue list.

As you can see, Great Fosters is a stunning Grade I country house in Surrey with extensive landscaped lawns, a heated outdoor pool and opulent interiors throughout; not only is it a fantastic hotel to enjoy a luxury night away, its clear to see why it has also become such a popular wedding venue. We are certainly looking forward to photographing weddings at Great Fosters over the coming years.

We began Claudia & Steven's engagement shoot by enjoying a gentle stroll of the beautiful grounds at Great Fosters whilst discussing the plans ahead for their big day. With just over a year to go before the wedding, it was great to hear that with the help of friends and relatives they have nearly everything organised already for their Pink Gin themed day.

Luke soon found a collection of spots he wanted to use so it wasn't long before Claudia & Steve were in position and the camera was clicking away. We began with a couple of poses using the benches, followed by a walk along the tree lined pathway and then a wander over to the small lake. Building trust with your wedding photographer is key and it was great we had already established such a bond with them both.

Engagement shoots are one of the best ways for clients to feel at ease around the camera, especially if they have never had any form of photoshoot before. We always do our best to make our couples feel comfortable and try to make it a fun experience for everyone. As you can see, Claudia & Steven were so relaxed around each other that they settled right in and took our directions really well. There is a few nifty little tips and prompts we use and 'kiss with your teeth' is my all-time favourite. If you don't believe me, give it a try.

The Surrey sunlight over Great Fosters was quite strong so we stopped by a little barn area which resulted in some great shots and then we moved onto see the lovely topiary and rose gardens.

I love how Steve looks at Claudia in so many of their photographs; there is so much love and admiration shown in his eyes, such a sense of pride and appreciation for his future wife. Proof that a picture really does tell a thousand words; its so important to capture beautiful moments like these and we are so pleased that both Claudia & Steven love the photographs from their engagement shoot and are even more excited to see the results of their wedding photography.

With 55 acres of grounds it was impossible for us to see all Great Fosters has to offer. Everywhere we turned, another great photo spot appeared so we stopped to get some shots on the beautiful bridge.

We then stopped to take a little look at Tithe Barn (the room where Claudia & Steven have chosen to host their wedding reception), once again, it was clear to see why Great Fosters was a perfect Surrey wedding venue. Through the ornate barn doors a private courtyard sits, a perfect spot for wedding guests to mingle with a drink of something fizzy. Even undressed, the room looked beautiful; the opulent velvet curtains suit Claudia & Steve's Pink and Grey theme perfectly, the high ceilings boasted beautiful beams, a fantastic balance of traditional and modern; every wedding photographers dream.

We stopped in the courtyard for a few more photos before taking a break away from the heat of the summer sun. Steve and Claudia very kindly bought us all a drink so we took a socially distanced seat overlooking the gardens. We spent sometime discussing our lives in general and learnt more about the all important wedding plans.

Luke & I found it hilarious that Claudia keeps throwing Steve off the scent in regards to her wedding dress; he has no idea what colour or style it is but let's face it, with a figure like hers she is going to look gorgeous. I was honoured to be shown a sneaky peek of the wedding dress, alongside photographs of the bridesmaids dresses and suits too but I won't share those secrets with you all just yet. You can wait until you see the amazing wedding photography next year!

Once we had finished our drinks, we walked back to the main lawn to complete our pre wedding photoshoot with a couple of little extras. With such beautiful landscaped gardens, we knew Great Fosters would look great from the sky. Steve has a keen interest in drones so we were delighted to be able to get a few aerial shots of the wedding venue whilst we were there. Using a drone to capture aerial footage on a wedding day is something that sets as apart from many other wedding photographers, if we have good weather, we always try to get the drone in the air for some extra shots.

We then had a little experiment that Claudia & Steve were keen to help us with... we had smoke grenades!

Steve's face lit up when Luke suggested it, we weren't sure how much of an impact they would make but the photos have come out fantastically. These photos are not only proof that they are such a fun couple but also how much trust they have in Luke as their wedding photographer. We will be certain to have some on hand for the big day.

This is where Claudia & Steven's engagement shoot comes to an end, and it was time for us all to say goodbye. We plan to meet up again around 6 weeks ahead of their wedding at Great Fosters to discuss the finalised plans for the day but until then we will of course keep in touch.

Having postponed all our weddings for 6 months due to Covid-19, this was the first wedding related shoot we had done in ages and it was fantastic to feel a sense of normality is returning to the world. Hopefully the rest of 2020 will be filled with lots of great meetings and shoots with our wonderful wedding couples.

A huge thank you to the lovely Claudia & Steven for such a wonderful afternoon, the countdown will be gone before you know it.

All socially distanced guidelines were followed throughout the shoot. Permission from the staff at Great Fosters to use the drone and smoke grenades was granted in advance. As a recommended wedding photographer for Great Fosters, It's been a pleasure.