Many clients come to me already understanding the value of the engagement session. Either their wedding planner has explained to them the many benefits of doing an engagement session, or they have seen how much their friends have loved the process and know that they want to experience that for themselves. However, some clients come to me not really understanding the benefits of an engagement session other than getting pretty photos. And while you will definitely get some beautiful photos of you and your love in attire other than your wedding day clothes, there are many other reasons to do an engagement session with your wedding photographer.
First, one quick note on my engagement session philosophy: Some wedding photographers will tell you that doing an engagement session with your photographer prior to the wedding day will result in better wedding day photos. I’m here to tell you that I don’t necessarily feel that way. In the past 17 years of my career as a wedding photographer, I have photographed countless weddings, for some of those I photographed an engagement session, and for some of those I didn’t. I have never felt that my ability to deliver great wedding day photos is dependent upon an engagement session. I’m a firm believer that the right photographer for you will be able to capture your wedding day beautifully whether or not they photographed your engagement session. However, keep reading to learn why an engagement session might be helpful to enhance the photo-taking experience on the wedding day for you as the clients.
Below are three main considerations for couples when deciding whether to do an engagement session with their photographer prior to their wedding:
An engagement session will provide you pretty
photos that celebrate your story.
Let’s state the obvious first: An engagement session provides you an opportunity to get beautiful portraits done together in something other than your wedding attire at any location you like. These images can be used in fun ways for your wedding including on a wedding website, save-the-dates, and even for a guest signing book, or can simply be a memento of this time to cherish for decades to come.
Plus, the session is fun and is a wonderful way to celebrate this exciting time in your life. You can make it represent you as a couple in whatever way you like! For some, that’s making the session a fun fashion moment- an excuse to get dressed up, have your hair and makeup trial for your wedding, and have it all documented in a beautiful way. For others, it’s a chance to help tell the story of who you are as couple – more relaxed and just loving time together at one of your favorite places. Sometimes, the session becomes a celebration of a location or something you love to do together. I have photographed engagement sessions in beautiful locations like beaches and parks, landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Griffith Observatory, simple locations like a coffee shop the couple visits often, and even inside the couples’ own home. Making the session feel authentic to you is important to me so that it doesn’t just feel like a portrait session but a true celebration of you, captured in images.
An engagement session helps your
photographer get to know you!
I love what I do because I LOVE working with people and getting to know many different kinds of people. It’s honestly the best part of what I do and you want a wedding photographer who feels that way. I have been able to work with doctors, lawyers, politicians, celebrities, philanthropists, teachers, psychologists, stylists, big-time Hollywood studio executives and talent agents, world-travelers, artists, the list goes on… I have been able to get to know so many wonderful, talented, intelligent, and interesting people. If I only got to spend time with them on their wedding day, I would feel like I was missing out on getting to know more about them which always helps me as a storyteller.
From the planning of the location and getting to learn about what locations are most meaningful to them, to helping them plan out what they want to wear and how they want their session to feel, I just love getting to know my couples through this creative process. While it’s not necessary for me to get great images on the wedding day as I noted above, it really is fun to go into a wedding day already feeling like I know the couple better and I know that feeling is shared with all great wedding photographers.
An engagement session can help reduce anxiety
about getting your photo taken and ensures that
taking photos on the wedding day is a great experience!
The most common thing I hear from clients during our first chat before they even book their session is this: “We are usually so awkward in front of the camera!”
It’s totally normal to have a little bit of anxiety or hesitation about getting your photo taken- so many people feel that way and I know the feeling myself! However, as I tell all of my clients, doing a portrait session with me is not what they might imagine in their head. It’s relaxed and fun! I don’t make you pose in awkward positions or make you feel uncomfortable–your comfort and enjoyment of the session are priorities for me always.
As the shoot unfolds, clients are witnessing how I shoot, how I interact, how I offer guidance into poses and how I’m always paying attention to details so that they look and feel their best. They are learning how I find lighting that’s beautiful and flattering, and how I’m shooting as we chat and laugh so that nothing feels stiff. When clients see their engagement session images, they will quickly see how I was able to translate the moments into images in a way they couldn’t have predicted. With all this, they will leave their engagement session experience feeling totally confident going into their wedding day.
The basic goal of an engagement session is always to get beautiful images of you and your love together prior to your wedding day. But, I wholeheartedly believe that the main goal of an engagement session is to make the clients 100 percent confident in the experience of having their photo taken. An engagement session should leave clients feeling that they have chosen the right photographer who makes them comfortable and can deliver images that make them feel and look their best.