I’ve recently had a few inquiries from potential clients about discounted pricing if they opt to not take advantage of the engagement session included in my wedding packages. I’m a huge believer in engagement sessions for many reasons, which brings me to this blog post. I’m hoping that I can help potential brides (and grooms) to understand why these sessions are so important and potentially even help some other photographers explain this to their clients as well.
Here are my top 3 reasons why I believe you should take advantage of an engagement session:
1. Engagement sessions give the client and the photographer an opportunity to get to know each other. Have you ever been on a blind date? They can be super awkward because you have never met each other before. You don’t know if you are compatible, if you have anything in common, if you share the same sense of humor, etc. If you don’t take advantage of an engagement session your wedding could turn out something like a bad blind date. If you have never worked with your photographer until the day of the wedding how can you possibly know if you are compatible or not? Often times photographers have different techniques for “getting the shot” and sometimes these can work great for individuals and sometimes not. For example if a photographer relies on humor to get the clients to laugh and produce genuine happiness in photos but yet the client does not find the photographer’s sense of humor funny then it’s probably not going to translate into a very good photograph. There could also be a situation where the couple’s personalities simply clash with the photographer’s. It’s better that you realize you are not compatible BEFORE your wedding day on not on it. Remember that there are no second chances when it comes to the photos on your wedding day, so don’t take it lightly! Personally, I like to talk to my clients a lot throughout the engagement session to find out things like where they are from, what they like to do together, what makes them tick, what makes them laugh and so on. Bonding with your couples before the wedding is invaluable because it creates a level of trust before the wedding day which always translates into better photos.
2. An engagement sessions lets your photographer have an opportunity to see how you photograph. Often, the first time I meet my clients is on the day of their engagement session. So many people are too busy these days to schedule face to face meetings and simply book a wedding without ever having met me in person. From a photographer’s perspective (no matter how much Facebook stalking you do), you have no idea of the client’s best angles, if they are self conscious about themselves or certain parts of their body or even how they interact with their fiancé. There are so many factors that go into making a good photo and it’s very important to see how your clients photograph before their wedding day. If they are self conscious about their weight they may or may not have said something to you before the photography session but if they don’t mention it, it’s pretty easy to pick up on. If I know this before the wedding day its easier for me to plan out poses that we can do instead of thinking on my feet in a time crunch. The same situation applies if they are super shy in front of the camera. Part of being a photographer is reading people and figuring out what is going to work to make them both look and feel their best in front of the camera. A comfortable model goes a long way towards creating a good image! Lastly, knowing how the bride and groom interact is very important. If I notice during the engagement session that for example, the bride is slightly shy and feels more comfortable when she is always holding her fiancee’s hand then I know that she is going to feel more comfortable (and therefore look more relaxed in photos) if we do poses where she is in contact with her man. Great! Now I can plan for a lot more intimate shots for the wedding day. Because we never have much time for photos during the wedding day it’s a HUGE advantage having all of this figured out beforehand instead of the day of.
3. An engagement session doubles as a great way for the bride to test drive her makeup. I am a huge believer in having professional makeup done for a photo shoot. Seriously, it makes SUCH a difference in the way one not only photographs but feels in a photo. I know for myself, if my makeup is done I feel so much more confident in front of the camera and it always makes me feel like a better, more polished version of myself. If brides take advantage of the trial makeup run for the engagement shoot she will get to see how her makeup will look as well as how it photographs. If there are any adjustments she wants made then she can discuss this with the makeup artist so it’s picture perfect on the wedding day.
Not only do couples develop a relationship with their photographer and get comfortable in front of the camera during an engagement session, but obviously they get to see a taste of how the photographer photographs them before getting their wedding photos back. Think of your engagement session as a test run for your wedding. If there are any pictures that you absolutely loved then let your photographer know! By the same token if you see something you weren’t crazy about let them know as well! We as photographers are striving to make clients look and feel their best and (speaking for myself of course) always want an open and honest relationship with my clients.
I hope this helps someone out there in cyberspace understand a little bit more about why engagement sessions are such a vital step in creating beautiful, lasting wedding photos. After all, it is one of the most important days of your life. Happy Tuesday!