You know for sure that you definitely want to have amazing wedding photos (it's the number one thing on your priority list), but you may be unsure if you need to do an engagement session as well. You're might be hesitant because your fiancé is already nervous about being in front of the camera on your wedding day and you're afraid that adding another session just might be too much for him. Maybe you don't know what you'll do with the images from the session. Perhaps wedding planning has taken so much of your time already you're not sure how you would fit in one more thing into your cramped schedule.
These are all very common concerns. In spite of all of them, we still highly recommend engagement sessions to all of our couples. Here are five reasons we think they are a good investment.
1) A Chance to Reconnect
In the midst of all wedding planning, it's easy to lose track of one another while picking out floral arrangements and narrowing down your guest list. An engagement session gives you a great excuse to turn that all off for an afternoon. Pick a setting that's important to the two of you - maybe a place you love or the city where you met - and just enjoy spending time with one another. It will make for the best pictures and create a nice memory you can look back on.
2) Getting Comfortable
Probably about 60 percent of the couples we meet say they are not “photogenic.” This is probably because most of the formal pictures they have had done up until this point have been awkward high school portraits or forced family photos - completely different than our approach to photography. Our main goal is to bring out the connection between the two of you as a couple. The best way to do that is to make sure you are comfortable, something we focus on throughout the session. An engagement session is a great way for you both to relieve some of those nerves, to know how it feels to be photographed and learn our approach even better. That way when your wedding day rolls around getting your picture taken won't be nerve wracking, it'll actually be enjoyable.
3) You Need Nice Pictures Anyway
Leading up to your wedding day you'll probably find that you will need to have some pictures of the two of you for a variety of reasons - newspaper announcements, Save the Date, your wedding webpage, etc. Instead of just filling those in with the random snapshot you happened to grab at your last vacation, why not make it a gorgeous image that you can really show off? You'll be sending your Save the Date or website link to all of your guests, give them something really great to look at. Also, framed photos make great gifts for your parents, a nice way to thank them if they're helping contribute to the wedding costs. Even better, you can use images from your engagement session to make a custom guest book or enlargement prints that you can have on display at your wedding.
4) A Chance to Mix it Up
Let's say you dreamed of having a fall wedding since you were a little girl but your venue didn't happen to have any October dates available, all is not lost. Engagement sessions give you the opportunity to have the best of both worlds. You can still have those photos in the foliage by having your engagement session in the fall and your wedding in the spring. Love the city but ended up planning your wedding in the suburbs? That's okay. You can still have shots of the two of you in your favorite city without the stress of planning a whole wedding there. Plus, engagement sessions give you the chance to play up your personalities even more, incorporating the things you love to do - your hobbies, etc. - something you might not get to do as much on your wedding day. If you're musicians, bring along your instruments. Love hiking? Do your engagement session along one of your favorite trails. We have found that the best engagement sessions are the ones where the couple incorporate something personal. That leads to pictures that really show who the two of you are as a couple.
5) Capture this Time in Your Lives
Think back to a picture of your own parents before they were married. You can probably only think of a handful of shots that exist. (I know of only two images of my own parents that we have from before their wedding and I love looking at them.) Back then, couples didn't do things like engagement sessions and the majority of shots of the two of them were probably snapshots from a party. Years from now, your children can look back at your engagement session images and, different than your wedding photos, get an idea of what you were like when you were dating. It'll be something you will be very glad to have in the future.