Exclusive Engagements

  • Wedding Wednesday | Why I Shoot Them

it’s not Wednesday. I debated whether or not this would be frowned upon by all of my type “A” blog readers who cringe at the thought of a “Wedding Wednesday” post on TUESDAY!!! It’s strange… but let me explain. I’m blogging from the passenger seat on my way home from a Maryland engagement and a quick sibling reunion in PA (thank GOODNESS for iPhones and personal hotspots!). I have three beautiful engagement shoots to share and I’m so excited that the blog is going to be all lovey dovey and colorful for the rest of the week! However, I REALLY wanted to share this post because I’ve answered a lot of emails regarding this

question recently and it’s definitely catered towards brides. So Naturally, this needs to be a Wedding Wednesday post!!  As I continue to shoot and grow as a photographer AND business woman, I have realized more and more that the process of creating GREAT wedding images doesn’t start with the bride and the bridesmaids in the bridal suite the morning of the wedding… it starts with the FIRST email the bride sends me.  This “Wedding Experience” is a process and the wedding day is just one part of the journey.  In order to have GENUINE, natural images of my couples on their wedding day, I NEED for them to have a GREAT experience and that’s where  an engagement session comes into play. Sure, there are some cases where we meet on the wedding day because it was a destination wedding and we just couldn’t make an eshoot work before the big day but those are rare. I’ve already done a post about the importance of an engagement session… you can read that HERE!   Today I just simply want to emphasize that engagements should be done with your WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. Except for VERY FEW exceptions, I don’t take engagements outside of a wedding package and there are several reasons for this:


1.  My free dates for engagement sessions need to be saved for MY wedding clients.  KJ brides take priority when it comes to the calendar and when I’m shooting 30+ weddings a year, that means I have to find time to shoot 30+ engagements. I want to make sure I balance LIFE and WORK and also save my availability for my clients who have invested in having me be a part of their big day.


2. By shooting JUST engagement sessions for couples, I’m actually taking away a VERY valuable session from another photographer.  I think every couple needs that time with their actual wedding photographer.  The engagement session is their trial run! It’s their time to really get to know the artist that will be capturing their wedding day and that’s a vital part of the process! When I show up to weddings, I feel like I’m meeting a FRIEND….. and if a photographer misses out on that feeling because I took their client’s engagement portraits, it’s just not fair. So I ALWAYS encourage brides to connect with THEIR wedding photographer for their engagement portraits if at all possible!


3. STYLE! I think photographers all have a different “look” to their images. I personally LOVE having engagement portraits to display in my house that are the same style as my wedding portraits. There’s a neat consistency in all of our images from Jstar and I love that!!



So basically, I’m a jealous photog…. and I think most photographers are too.  I want my wedding couples to be exclusively mine… and that’s not because I’m a jerk!…. It’s because I KNOW that will make for a much smoother experience overall and I want the BEST for my couples! Here are a few examples of my 2013 couples getting comfortable in front of the camera and practicing for their big day!!!


xoxo, Katelyn
13 Comments Wedding Wednesday
  1. Kristin reply

    This is so true, the main purpose of our e sessions if for us to get to know our clients and for them to get comfortable in front of our cameras…great images just naturally flow out of that.

  2. JasmineStar reply

    Oh, KK, you’re on it…I couldn’t agree more!! :)

  3. Sabrina reply

    Ah… I so agree. I had a few couples from this year (and at least one for next year) who didn’t use me for their engagement pictures. And I don’t know that any of us were as connected on their wedding day as I was with the couples that I’d already spent time with! Hoping to improve on that this coming year :-)

  4. Rebekah Hoyt reply

    Yes, yes yes! Thank you for writing this, Katelyn. A few months ago I adopted this policy for myself and I completely agree with all of the reasons you posted above! It makes a difference on both ends of the equation!

  5. Laura reply

    Love this blog post and agree 100%!

  6. Erika Wevodau reply

    Jealous or not, I am sure your brides would agree with the inverse – they want you all to themselves as well! Your work is an inspiration. I hope to be one of those KJ brides that you want all to yourself one day :)

  7. jamie reply

    such an important part of the wedding experience before the actual wedding and you articulated it clearly! thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  8. ali w reply

    YEA!! Right on, girl!

  9. Christa reply

    I think the same could be true for portrait sessions, I find some wedding photogs have “cheaper” portrait sessions just to make some quick cash during their slower months which I feel hurts the photographer who specializes in portraits. I would gladly refer an engagement session to a wedding photog if it meant getting an ideal portrait client :)

  10. Patricia Carlisle reply

    Katelyn I am so excited for you to take our engagement and wedding pictures! I am so lucky to be a part of this wedding experience!

  11. jamie reply

    Such a great point Katelyn! I love that you are committed to a COMPLETE experience for all of your brides.

  12. Abby Grace reply

    Love this!! A lightbulb went off after you discussed this at last year’s workshop and I adopted the same policy.

  13. Tatyana reply

    Haha love the bluntness of this!

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