Engagement sessions – I love them! I didn’t think that I would, and when I first started out as a wedding photographer, I didn’t even offer them. Then, after I got married, I realized the value of the engagement session, so I started to do them and instantly realized that engagement sessions rock for many reasons! I’ve grown to love them so much, in fact, that I now offer complimentary engagement sessions with all of my wedding packages!
So, why should you do an engagement session? There are a million reasons!
The biggest reason, in my opinion, is that we’ll get to know each other before the wedding day. I love meeting up with my couples and just hanging out for a couple hours. We chat, walk around, laugh, collaborate, and make some awesome photos together. It’s important to me, as a wedding photographer, to get to know my subjects. We’ll be old friends by the time the wedding day arrives, and super psyched to see each other! You’ll be much more comfortable with me hanging around you all day, and that will really show in the photos. It makes a huge difference in the photos when I’ve been able to spend time with couples before the crazy of the wedding day arrives.
I like to call the engagement session the “rehearsal” for the big day. You’ll get the opportunity to practice being photographed, which is awesome. It is, admittedly, weird to be followed around by a photographer. By the time your engagement session is over, you’ll be experienced at being photographed and it won’t seem so bizarre to you on your wedding day to have a photographer nearby. For me, it’s valuable to get to know if you have any insecurities in front of the camera, what those are, and how to make you more comfortable when being photographed. I’ll find out if you have a “good side,” if you tend to place tension in any part of your body, and you can warn me if your significant other has any strange habits when being photographed (you’d be surprised by how many emails I receive on this topic!)! You’ll gain the expertise and confidence after seeing your engagement photos to really rock your wedding photos. You’ll need less direction because you’ll be old pro’s at being photographed, you’ll be confident because you will have seen how awesome you looked in your engagement photos, and you’ll be relaxed, which translates into great photos!
There are lots of fun things you can do with photos from your engagement session. I can design a guest sign-in book incorporating tons of photos from your engagement session for your guests to sign! You can give prints as gifts around the holidays. You can use the images in Save the Date card designs. I had one couple give out decks of cards with engagement photos on them as wedding favors – how awesome is that? You can use them on your wedding website, as Facebook profile pics, and display them at the wedding. There are tons of things to do with them if you get creative!
It’s great to have photos of yourselves being your actual selves before getting married. That’s one thing I regret about my own wedding – we have tons of photos of us all dressed up on our wedding day, full of happy nerves and excitement, but we (still!) don’t have any great photos of us being our “normal” selves. My husband and I are silly people who rarely dress up (I only ever wear a dress when I’m shooting a wedding or attending a wedding) and love life. I wish we’d taken some photos of us before we got married and had kids – I’d love to have them now to look back on now! I’d love to have them on display in our house for our son to see. I’d love to look back at a photo of us hanging out at a location that was meaningful to us, way back when.
And plus, engagement sessions are just fun. They really are! That’s why I offer complimentary engagement sessions with all of my packages now. They’re so enjoyable for me to photograph, and my couples always have fun! I’ve had many a groom say, at the end of an engagement shoot, “That was actually pretty fun!” When else will you get to do a two hour photo shoot with the most important person in your life, just walking around being yourselves?
My advice, when the option is there, is to do an engagement session! Even if you don’t know what you’ll do with the photos, or if you’ll do anything with them at all, it will at the very least be a great way for us to get to know each other and for you to be more relaxed around the camera on your wedding day!
If you’d like more specific advice on engagement sessions (like where to have them, what to wear, etc.), click here!