January 10, 2013 Why do an engagement session?
Long gone are the days of one engagement photograph for the announcement in the newspaper. Engagement sessions have gained popularity over the last several years, and more and more couples are only looking at photographers that offer engagement sessions as well as wedding photography. So what’s the deal? Everyone has their own reasons for wanting an engagement session, and I’m sure I won’t touch on them all, but this post will explain the reasons why I personally wanted an engagement session before our wedding, and why I offer them to all of my wedding clients.
Getting professional photos taken can be weird.
I realize this is a strange thing for a photographer to say, and it’s definitely not this way for everyone, but some people (like myself) tend to freeze in front of the camera. I can model my ass off in front of the mirror while singing Mariah Carey at the top of my lungs (with the cat meowing loudly trying to get me to stop) but as soon as someone gets a camera on me I freeze. I do my best to put my clients at ease and make it a fun experience for them during a photo session, but sometimes (especially in my personal experience) it’s REALLY hard to get past that. Poor Jen has experienced this awkwardness with me multiple times between our engagement session, wedding day, trash the dress session and my head shots. I got past the awkwardness of being in front of the camera and learned to be natural with Steve in front of Jen and it paid off on the wedding day. We didn’t have to experience that awkwardness all over again, and we were able to just jump in and make the best use of our time and the light.
Relationship building with your photographer.
I tell this to every couple that I meet with about wedding photography: There is no one on your wedding day that you will spend more time with than your wedding photographer–not even your new spouse! Obviously, above all things when choosing a photographer you want to make sure you find someone who does good work and creates beautiful images, but the next important in my opinion, is finding someone that you click with. The engagement session is another chance to interact with your photographer and work on building that relationship.
Your photographer gets to see your relationship.
There are some photographers who approach every wedding as a cookie cutter kind of thing with a shot list and a list of go-to poses and every wedding in their portfolio looks identical to the last. Then there are others, like myself, where we craft our approach to fit your relationship and tell your story. Getting more time with you to get to know you as a couple, see how you interact, and get to know what makes you tick allows us to tell your love story in a way that only someone who knows you can. The engagement session is a perfect time to feel you out and see how you interact, every couple is different!
It’s a chance to tell your story.
My parents have been married for almost 27 years. Their love story is ingrained in my head and I just LOVE looking at the photos from their courtship and relationship pre-me. Your engagement session is an opportunity to pick a location that means a lot to you and tell the story of your relationship. Jackie and Andrew are getting married this March in Cancun (2 months from yesterday!!!) and chose to start their engagement session in Hampden at Grano, the restaurant where Andrew proposed. They love their town and are very much so “Baltimore people” so they wanted to do their engagement session there since it’s so special to them. Brianna and Paul chose to do their engagement session at the Howard County Conservancy, a place that they had considered for their wedding. Chelsea and Josh chose to do their photos at Chelsea’s family’s farm since their wedding was at Josh’s family’s farm.The options are endless and I always encourage my couples to choose a place that has special meaning for them.
Your facebook friends will thank you.
For over a year, my facebook profile picture was one of our wedding pictures. I changed it at least weekly because I had so many favorites! But let’s face it, as you reach and pass your first anniversary, people are going to start side-eyeing you for having a wedding photo still up as your profile picture. Engagement sessions are a great time to get beautiful, professional images of you and your honey looking like YOU, out of your wedding attire.
Screenshot evidence: (Full disclosure: I could have easily scrolled down and had another full page of MORE wedding pictures. Since our first anniversary I’ve tried to use either our engagement pictures, my head shot, or photos from vacation as my profile picture. As you can see from the icon, my current profile picture is an engagement picture!)
It’s an exciting time.
Being engaged is an exciting time, and it goes by quickly. Having an engagement session allows you to capture some of the excitement of these short months between saying “yes” and saying “I do” to look back on for years to come.
Engagement sessions can be a lot of fun, and they’re at the top of my list of favorite things to photograph. I love getting to know my couples, working with them without the time crunch and pressure of the wedding day, and helping to craft beautiful images that capture who they are. If you are engaged and want to get engagement photos done, I highly recommend waiting until you find a wedding photographer that you want to hire and having that same person do your engagement photos. You still get some of the benefits of the session if you use someone else, but it really, truly pays off when it’s the same person who will be with you on your wedding day.