There are many reasons not to do an engagement session. Lack of time, energy and a busy world flying around us are some of the most common that I hear, and I get that. You may feel that an engagement session with your wedding photographer may be superfluous. I mean, you booked them for the wedding, right? Well, I'm hoping that I can change your mind. An engagement session is where your style as a couple and that of your wedding photographer's is going to meet and mesh for the first time and out of that tangled mess of style and personality are going to come photos that are once in a lifetime. You deserve to see what that mix will look like. I'm not telling you that you must have an engagement session. Many couples forego them and that's a personal choice, but below are some pretty darn good reasons that you should do an engagement session with your wedding photographer.
1. Total Control
For an engagement session, you are in total control. If it's raining on your wedding day, you just have to deal with it (I know this from experience!), but for an engagement session, you are in total control. If it's raining, it's no problem to say 'hey let's wait and do it another time!' or bust out some umbrellas and have fun without the pressure of ruining a dress or hair-do. You are in total control of where you can go and where you can be without having to worry about all the questions that plague wedding day planning: "But will 200 chairs fit here?” "Will my Grandmother be able to climb this many stairs?", “Do we have time to take pictures here before we have to be at the reception?”
Go out of town to a remote lake, explore an abandoned factory, revisit the first date spot. You choose. It's your day, before THE day.
2. You have the freedom to do whatever. No, really!
This may seem obvious, but trust me, it's not. We live in a high-pressure world where it's all about looking a certain way and doing certain things. We want to have a beautiful, hip wedding and we'd like our engagement photos to foreshadow that. To be honest, it's easy to give in to peer and family pressure as soon as you're engaged. But I'm here to tell you that whatever you two want, it's okay. You can wear, do and be something that reflects who you and your beloved are day in and day out, not just how amazing you will look and feel on your big day. You can wear a flannel shirt with jeans. You can wear a gorgeous dress with jewels. We can go to where you met. We can go to where he popped THE question. We can bake bread in your kitchen, we can walk your dogs in the park, whatever allows your life together to shine through. The creative, romantic ideas are endless and making time for them can be easier than on your wedding day when friends, family, dances and speeches take priority.
3. You can get adventurous
You can be and do what you want and that's awesome, but what about when that thing you want to do is a little out of the ordinary? It's easy to look at other people's photos (hello, Pinterest) and think, "Wow, I want that" but we rarely allow time and space to make those magic, unique images happen. The good news is, your engagement session can be a time to let loose and be as adventurous as you've always dreamed. Maybe it's something you've never done before as a couple like boating on the river, flying a kite, painting a room or making a sandcastle. Doing something new together will energize you, cause you to be both mentally and physically involved while letting your fake smile guard down and putting posing on the back burner where it belongs.
4. You can relax
Let's be real: we all want to believe that intimate and romantic photos will be easy--for 'us'. I mean, you guys are romantic all the time. You've been together forever. You can nail this. But the reality is, it's not easy to get killer authentic, romantic images every second of every session. Holding each other all the time is kind of draining and a little sweaty. Kissing every 2 minutes isn't as fun as you'd thought it would be and when the photographer directs you to "gaze deeply into one another's eyes", it's hard to know whether to laugh or cry, it can be so uncomfortable. But that's the magic of making time for an engagement session: let your photographer help you get comfortable. You and your fiancé need this, in so many more ways than you realize. As humans, we're not naturally comfortable cuddling, laughing and exchanging intimacies with our beloved--while someone is hovering all over us. But an hour with your photographer, months or weeks before your wedding allows you to warm up for your big day. There will be no cheesy smiles or cringing allowed then, right? Let's get the nerves sorted out. Engagement sessions help you get out of your head when it comes to taking romantic photos and allow you to work through your photo-fright and personal inhibitions.
5. You preserve images of your pre-marriage love
I tell my brides this so often, I'm sort of like a broken record: your photos are the only thing from your wedding day that will only increase in value over time. The same is true of any professional photos you and your beloved will take, including before your wedding! Doesn't your goofy, care-free , real love deserve to be documented on more than just your wedding day? Isn't this crazy ride of a relationship what got you to put a ring on it in the first place? Let's talk about, celebrate and commemorate that early part of your relationship too. Having engagement photos may not make or break your happiness but having beautiful images of young love will certainly increase it. Memories and beauty fade but well-taken images never do.
6. We'll get to know one another
Most of all, it helps me, your trusted Photographer to get to know you two as one. I want to know how you met, how the first date I went, how he asked, was she surprised, and what's the most embarrassing story you can ever remember about each other. I want to show the world your personality, your love. After an engagement session, your trust in me will be bolstered and your expectation for your wedding day will be aligned with reality because you won't have to wonder what photos on the day will feel like. I want to boost your confidence once you see how amazing you can look when I take your photo, I want to banish these fears that you're 'not photogenic enough'. That's absolute nonsense and I can prove it to you.
After all, all of my wedding packages come with a free engagement session, so why not take advantage of it? Have questions or comments? An upcoming wedding? I'd love to hear from you!