Here’s a little known fact about me. I was engaged when I was 22… and not to Chandler. (Insert audible gasps!!!) Yes, to someone else. And while I’m so grateful it didn’t work out, the thing I did want to mention about it was that my Grandpa took our engagement photos in his backyard. Let me repeat that. My Grandpa. In his backyard.
At the time I thought nothing of it. My grandpa had a nice camera, and was ALWAYS taking photos. Now, if you’re a photographer, you’re probably cringing. But if you’re a future bride, or groom you’re probably giving me the stink eye, and wondering why I’m up on such a high horse about grandpa’s camera and my engagement photos.
As a photographer who truly wants to serve my #dovelycouples, I feel like it’s my personal mission to educate my clients on everything I do, and WHY I do it. Because if I don’t teach them, Pinterest will. And as much as I LOVE Pinterest, most articles on Pinterest regarding wedding photographers, were not written by wedding photographers. And so, many couples do what 22 year old Morgan did. They have a “friend with a nice camera,” or Uncle Bob take their engagement photos.
Lots of times, couples just need to get their Save-the-Dates or invitations out the door, and I get it. And I get it, I do. Or maybe they’re worried about added costs of an “extra” portrait session, so they go with a free option. From a financial perspective, it’s totally understandable. But Wedding and Engagement photography is what I do for a living! This is my only job! And I’m not just a friend with a nice camera! My goal is to provide my #dovelycouples with my full wedding experience, not just a click-click-done wedding. When my clients are educated, it helps me to better serve them.
So, as a business owner, I’m going to tell you four reasons why it is so, SO, SO important to have an engagement session WITH the same photographer shooting your wedding.
1. Your engagement session is a trial run
Being in front of the camera is awkward. So awkward. Especially for me! So think of an Engagement Session as a no-presser time for you and your fiance to get used to being photographed. Real people don’t have “model faces,” and no matter how many episodes of America’s Next Top Model you’ve seen, you probably don’t know how to “smize.” The average person doesn’t know how to pose, or what to do with their hands… and this is why an engagement session is AWESOME!!!
Without the speed and pressure of the wedding day timeline, an engagement session allows my #dovelycouples to feel comfortable in front of the camera! By the time the wedding rolls around, they have mastered all of my basic poses, and are usually ready for my “advanced posing system.” It usually takes about 20 minutes for a couple just to warm up to having a camera in their face, and on a wedding day… we won’t have 20 extra minutes. Wedding days are so RUSHED, and a bit stressful for everyone. In order to create gorgeous images, my bride and groom need to be ready to hit the ground running (or posing), so we can capture amazing couple’s portraits… and when my couples have had an engagement session, the day goes so much more smoothly.
2. You Will Be Confident!
When you’re confident, it shows! Couples who feel comfortable in front of the camera stand up taller, are able to laugh without hesitation, their joints aren’t stiff and they smile effortlessly. Once my couples see their Engagement Session images, they gain a natural confidence for their wedding day. They know where to put their feet, arms, hands, heads and even eyelashhes! They know that the camera does not add ten pounds (the photographer does!), and they feel relaxed and ready for their 8+ hour photo session. Confidence is not something you can’t fake, but if you practice beforehand, you’ll have it when it really matters.
3. Make Your House a Home
One question potential brides ask me all of the time is “how many images will I get?” And while that’s a blog post for another day, the funny thing is, most people I know have only 1 or two wedding photos displayed in their homes. We have one in our dining room gallery wall, and one in our master bedroom. However, we have TONS of our engagement session photos! Do you know why? Because we aren’t wearing our wedding clothes! Isn’t that so sad?!?! I spent so much money on my dress, and I’d rather have photos of me in my dressy clothes than in my wedding clothes on my walls! Our clothes in our Engagement Session feel more like us, are less formal, and they match our home decor!
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE our wedding photos, and have a GIANT 12×12 Fine Art album, sitting on our coffee table, dedicated to them, but I don’t want my home to scream, “I’m obsessed with my wedding day!” (Even if I secretly am!) Not only does an Engagement Session allow you to have images to decorate your house, you can also use these images to display at the reception as well!
4. Your Engagement Session is Our Time
Lastly, your engagement session is your time to get to know me! Aside from our first meeting, this is probably the only time before your wedding where we will see each other in person. On your wedding day, the bride will spend more time with me than anyone else! Including her groom! I genuinely care about my #dovelycouples and want us to be friends! Some of my favorite memories with clients are during their Engagement Session. It’s relaxed and we have time to just play and become friends! (Plus I usually bring fruit snacks!).
I have booked one wedding where I showed up to the wedding venue NEVER having met my couple, not really seeing their love story beforehand, and let me tell you, it was awkward for everyone, and photos took twice as long. An Engagement Session allows everyone to just get comfortable with each other.
In my opinion, this is the most important reason for an engagement session because I run my business based on relationships. I don’t pay for advertising, because I only use word of mouth referrals! When I KNOW my clients I can capture their personalities and their love story! Their friends and families see that, and they want the same experience. It’s really hard to take amazing and genuine portraits when I have no connection to the subject. Being emotionally involved with my couples allows me to create fun, fresh and joyful images and I wouldn’t be able to get them unless I have time to get to know my couples!
So for those of you out there are contemplating getting your engagements done by someone other than your wedding photographer, Don’t do it!! You may not think it’s necessary….. but I assure you, it is.
May 10, 2019