So, maybe you’re considering an Engagement Session, but you’re kind of “on the fence” about it. Or, maybe you think you don’t really need one and that being professionally photographed on your wedding day is more than enough for you. It’s totally normal to feel this way! Most people feel at least a little bit awkward about having their photo taken, so why in the world would you want to do it twice?!
As someone who has photographed hundreds of couples and educated them on how to look natural and relaxed in their photos, I have seen the benefits first hand, and I want to share my perspective on why I think you should absolutely go for it!!
1. To ease your nerves and get comfortable in front of the camera before your wedding day! There can be enough surprises on your wedding day without your photography being one of them. Let’s face it, most of use are not professional models, and we certainly don’t expect you to be. It’s one thing to be comfortable goofing around with your friends taking selfies all afternoon (hey, we’ve all done it) but it’s a whole other ball game to be on the other end of a professional camera. Having an engagement shoot will allow you to gain more confidence in front of the camera so that when wedding day finally rolls around you’ll be past the point of testing out your new poses and feeling things out. You’ll be calm, cool and collected, already knowing what angles work for you and what type of shots you may or may not care for. You’ll hardly notice the camera in the room because you will have gotten all of your camera phobias out of the way during your e-shoot! If possible, you can also schedule your hair and make-up trial run on the same day as your engagement shoot, so you’ll not only look flawless for the lens, but you’ll be able to see how your desired hair style/color and make-up look on film and will have plenty of time to talk with your stylist and make adjustments with anything you may not have been thrilled with.
2. To get to know your wedding photographer and let them get to know you! Even if you’ve already sat down with your photographer(s) face to face, it’s extremely beneficial to both parties to have some time with each other during a pre-wedding shoot. During this time you’ll be able to learn your photographers style of shooting so that you know exactly what to expect on your big day. And while you’re learning about their moves, they’re learning about yours! Your photographer(s) need to know how you and your fiance interact with each other, with and without the camera around, so that they can easily capture your personalities, quirks and emotions. It’s helpful to know all of these things before your wedding day so that it’s smooth sailing for everyone involved! It’s also nice to be able to really get to know your photographer(s) on a personal level – you’re going to be spending a LOT of time with them on wedding day. Possibly more time with them than with anyone else! Break the ice with your engagement shoot and cross the line of stranger to friend, which will make the big day so much for comfortable and fun for everyone!
3. To have beautiful photos of yourselves as a couple in non-wedding attire. Yes, your wedding photos are going to be gorgeous and you’re going to want to show them off to anyone and everyone who will look at them, but – do you really want to ONLY have beautiful photos of the two of you in your wedding day attire? Engagement sessions are a way to have amazing photos of the two of you looking like your usual selves. It’s a great way to remember this super special time in your lives (and if we’re being honest, how many wedding photos do you really want to hang on your walls!?). Because they’re more casual it makes them usable for many more things, especially decor around your house. Use them for Save the Dates, your wedding guest book, or your wedding website. Send them off to your local newspaper to announce your upcoming nuptials or create a keepsake album of memories to display on your coffee table at home.
4. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of wedding planning. Your engagement shoot should not be a dreaded event. In fact, an e-shoot can be a great reason for a much needed date night! It’s an excuse to pamper yourself a little (grab a quick mani/pedi and blowout or schedule your wedding beauty trial for the same day)! Get dressed up, relax, have fun, laugh and enjoy each other’s company! Pick a shoot location that’s meaningful to you as a couple; the location of your first date, your favorite picnic spot or coffee shop, the location where you got engaged. Be creative! Do you love cooking together? Farmer’s Markets are your absolute favorite thing to do with each other on the weekend? You’re both obsessed with board games? Make it your own and make it fun! It’s all about loosening up and just having a good time with the one you want to spend your forever with.
5. Because your engagement is a small slice of amazing bliss in your life and you should have it documented forever. These photos aren’t necessarily just for today. These photos are forever. They capture a brief time in your lives when you were on Cloud 9 for having just decided to spend the rest of your lives together. The feeling of commitment is fresh and new and exciting during this photo session. It’s so important to preserve these emotions for your children and your grandchildren to witness for themselves decades later, and for you both to relive together when you’re old and gray.
One of our couples who got married last year, Alex and Kurt, were initially against doing an Engagement Session, but I shared all of my reasons with them and they ultimately decided to do it. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:
“We are THRILLED [Jenn] convinced us to do an engagement shoot. It helped to show us how everything would go on the big day and made us believe that we (yes, even we) could look great in photos. If we hadn’t done the engagement shoot and gotten most of our awkwardness out that day, I would have been really anxious about taking photos on our wedding day. We were a lot more comfortable since we were able to get to know Jenn and the process better beforehand.”
It’s totally not mandatory to have engagement photos taken, but there are so many benefits to doing them that make it a great decision. Spending that two hours with my couples allows me to really get to know them, and if I don’t have to spend time getting to know them on their wedding day, it frees me up to tell their story straight from my heart without having to make guesses about who they are (because I already know!).
Did you have engagement photos taken before your wedding day? We would love to hear from you!! Do you feel like it was a helpful experience? Please share in the comments below!!