As time marches on, so does the price of weddings. I have a very lucrative Yosemite Elopement business because so many couples are concerned about the cost of a full wedding. Some couples skip the engagement session because of cost or because they can’t find the time. Others let a friend or family member do their engagement session for free. There are so many benefits to working with a professional photographer, you should fit an engagement session into your budget by taking something out that isn’t as important. Is anyone going to remember the monograms on the napkins? Will you cherish that detail forever and show it to your grandchildren? No. But you’ll enjoy your engagement photos forever, and so will your future generations.
It’s a fantastic way to work with your photographer before your big day.
The wedding day is going to be hectic and crazy. You may think you know what it will be like, but you don’t. You’ll find out, it’ll be more nuts than you ever imagined. I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings, and believe me, I’ve seen it all. You will be rushing around preparing for the ceremony, taking bridal party and family photos, and taking part in the traditions of the day like toasts and cake cutting. Throughout all this, your photographer will be following you around to document it all.
Sometimes, when I shoot a full wedding, I get no more than fifteen minutes to do bride and groom portraits. This time is much more maximized and beneficial when I already know the couple because I’ve photographed them together before. When I shoot an engagement session, the first fifteen minutes is me trying different poses to see how your bodies work together. I’m learning what makes you laugh, how your bodies fit together, and what your natural mannerisms are. Essentially, it’s a practice run for your wedding day.
They’ll get to know your personalities.
On your wedding day, your photographers will be your allies. We’ve done everything from removing drunk guests to keeping unwanted family away to sewing a hem back in a wedding dress when it fell out. Trust me, you want to get to know them. You’re going to be spending the entire day with them at your wedding.
On a wedding day, I have a short window of time to take bride and groom portraits. The better I know the couple, the better those photos turn out. My specialty is infusing my subjects’ personalities into their photos. I want their loved ones to see the final product and say, “Wow, she really captured your personalities.” When I’ve photographed weddings without knowing the couple beforehand, the photos didn’t have enough soul. There was no connection with my lens, because there was no connection with me, who was behind the lens. This is why I ask every couple to friend me on Facebook. It’s a great way to get to know each other.
Some grooms are not so excited about being in front of the camera. Unless you’re very used to being in front of a camera, it can be intimating, even for the bride. I’ve had brides email be beforehand to tell me that their groom is extremely shy and she’s not sure how wedding photos are going to go. If we do an engagement session, he warms up to me and sees that taking photos isn’t so bad after all. When I get to know a shy groom before the wedding day, he always lets me in on the wedding day, and is willing to be vulnerable with me.
You’ll have a beautiful guest book and prints to display at your reception.
Guests, especially family, LOVE seeing engagement photos at the wedding. They feel special when they get to write a message in a book filled with your photos. It’s a great way to welcome your guests into the space. The guest book is also a fantastic keepsake for you. Instead of using a plain book that will get shoved in the back of a closet, you can proudly display a photo book in your home.
You can use the photos for Save the Date cards or invitations.
Occasionally, we do engagement sessions for couples who are having destination weddings with plans to work with a local photographer in the destination area. Usually, it’s because they want photos for Save the Date cards or invitations. Customizing these cards with photos gives them a personal, inviting vibe.
You can decorate your home with a variety of wall art.
Once you get your finished wedding photos, you’ll be super excited to have them printed and hang them in your first home as a married couple. If you have a selection of prints from your engagement session, you can decorate your home with a variety of photos instead of just formal wedding portraits.
You definitely want to choose a different type of location for your engagement session. For instance, if your wedding is in an urban setting, do your engagement session at the beach or in the woods. You’ll also be in a different season; if your wedding is in the spring, you can do engagement photos in the fall, etc.
Our engagement sessions include two outfits, and we work hard to photograph a lot of variety. I like to provide scenic shots with close-up shots, and everything in between. That way, you can truly have differences in your wall art.