You HAVE to have an engagement session!”…. Then I quickly realize that this is my LIFE… I shoot weddings and engagements for a LIVING… so of COURSE I would feel that way. I think it’s so important for photographers to put themselves in their client’s shoes… we HAVE to educate them on EVERYTHING we do and WHY we do it… because if we don’t, they will get all of their knowledge from wedding magazines and Martha Stewart’s 50 step guide to Planning Your Wedding (that doesn’t really exist… but it probably will one day!). There is nothing wrong with wedding magazines, but I think every photographer would agree that they would rather be the ones teaching their client what to expect during their photographic experience, rather than a client having expectations from a magazine article that wasn’t even written by a photographer!! So if we’re going to help our couples understand this whole process, we have to start at the beginning. I’ve been very blessed to have couples that LOVE engagement sessions and REALLY desire to have one done before their big day! However, I do occasionally get asked “What’s the big deal about engagements?”. Some couples are super busy and carving out time for an engagement shoot is hard to do…. but there are SO many more perks to an eshoot than just beautiful portraits! Here is why and engagement shoot is SO HELPFUL and NECESSARY! :
1. Your engagement session is like your trial run… this is your no-pressure practice time in front of my camera! I have NEVER worked with a professional model…. all of my clients are normal, everyday couples with no experience whatsoever being in front of a camera. The “model” face is always a foreign concept and posing doesn’t always come naturally…. this is why an engagement session is AWESOME. Without the pressure of the wedding day timeline AND the nerves that come along with a wedding day… and engagement session allows my couples to get super comfortable in front of the camera! By the time the wedding rolls around, they have MASTERED their poses and they feel confident in front of the camera instead of timid and shy. It takes about 20 minutes for a couple to warm up to the camera 100%….. and so at a wedding day, we don’t have 20 minutes to spare, I need my bride and groom to be ready to rock and roll… and luckily, because my couples have an engagement session included in their package, they are always ready to show off their modeling skills on the wedding day!!
2. Confidence is key! When you’re confident, it shows in your images. After my couples have completed their engagement session and have seen their money shots on the blog, they have sense of confidence moving forward to their wedding day. I’ll be the first to admit that when it was MY turn to be the bride, I felt 100x more confident in my wedding portraits because I had already seen my engagement images! Confidence is not something you can just MAKE someone feel instantly, you have to instill confidence BEFORE the wedding day! …. And that is what an engagement shoot is for!
3. Who doesn’t want some extra decor?! SOOOOO many of my couples mention that their engagement portraits are the ONLY quality images that they have of the two of them. The reason engagement portraits are so great for decorating is because they are CASUAL. You’re not in your wedding attire and so these images serve as just some nice, casual images of the two of you that can fill your entire home without looking like you’re OBSESSED with your wedding! (I mean, I have a WHOLE wedding WALL in my living room so I guess I fall into the “obsessed” category!) Not only do engagement portraits allow you to have images to decorate your house, you can also use these images to display at the reception as well!
4. Last but not least, your engagement sessions is your time to GET TO KNOW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER! Some of my favorite memories with clients are during their engagement shoot. It’s so incredibly relaxed and I have 2 hours to just get to know my couple! I can’t imagine showing up to a wedding day and NEVER meeting the bride or knowing their story beforehand. An engagement sessions allows everyone to just get COMFORTABLE with one another. In my opinion, this is the BIGGEST point of this whole post because I run my business relationally! When I KNOW my clients…. then I can accurately capture their true personalities!! It’s REALLY hard to capture amazing portraits when you have no connection to the subject. Being emotionally involved with your subjects creates emotional, powerful images! If I CARE about my clients… that should show in my work!! …. And I think it does. However, I wouldn’t be able to get to this place unless I have time to get to know my couples! Again, another reason the engagement shoot is a MUST!!!
So for those of you out there are contemplating getting your engagements done but don’t REALLY think it’s necessary….. it is. Any photographer that runs their business semi-close to the way I do will WANT you to do a session and I highly recommend it!!!!