When I am meeting with clients, either over drinks or while talking via phone or Skype, we’ll be discussing what they are wanting for their wedding photography. Often times there is a question that arrises wondering if they should do an engagement session. Sometimes they are asking because they are looking to shave down some of the cost, other times they are out of state and don’t know if it’s worth trying to schedule such an event. Without hesitation I always say, “yes, engagement sessions are SO worth it.” Here are three reason why it is so important and beneficial to schedule an engagement session with your wedding photographer.
1. The 15 Minute Awkward Experience
There is a large chance that your wedding photographer is going to be a new person in your life. You maybe feel like you know them from following them on social media, through their website and as you’ve talked with them as you booked your wedding day. But, realistically, they are new and there is a lot to learn about each other still. Now let’s throw in this huge black metal thing that will be in front of your face called a camera. Unless you are a professional model or an actor/actress, the camera is also a new thing in your world. Learning to become comfortable and to act genuinely yourself in front of “new” often takes a bit of time. I call it the 15 Minute Awkward Experience. It may last 5 minutes or maybe 20… but there is typically a small amount of time when you have someone point a camera at you, you question everything about yourself and how your body looks. Where do my hands go? Does my smile look like Chandler Bings? How do I stand? And the nerves caused by this awkward moment takes a bit of time to go away. But soon enough you will begin to let go, calm yourself down, and become comfortable. The photos taken during this awkward period of time are rarely keepers, but think of them as being warm ups as you reach the point where the camera doesn’t seem scary and you can focus on your fiancé that you are head over heals in love with – allowing your photographs to purely reflect the two of you and all the joy you both share. Every moment from that point forward is amazing – and thus your photographs will be also.
When you choose to not have an engagement session with your wedding photographer, there is a high chance that the 15 Minute Awkward Experience will happen on your wedding day. Is that worth it? Another huge benefit to reaching this comfort level prior to the wedding day is it sets the tone for your friends and family. The moment your photographer starts photographing you on your wedding day, and you are completely comfortable with it, it will help ease everyone else in the room; hoping to eliminated their duration of their awkwardness with the “new” in front of them.
2. Learning Each Other
Another large benefit to having an engagement session with your wedding photographer is it allows you to learn each other. You as the couple learn how the photographer communicates, directs and photographs. As your photographer, I get to learn how you guys interact as a couple. We get to learn each other’s patterns, quarks, personality traits and just how we act in a couple different situations during the photo session. This period of learning allows us to mesh in a way that creates more beautiful photographs. Doing this before your wedding day… just means your wedding photos will be that much better.
3. These Photos Are Just As Meaningful
I’ve given you two really practical reasons on why an engagement session is so worth it, but I also want you to know these photos are just as meaningful as the photos from your wedding day. This period of your life is a time you will always look back and reminisce on. It is a time that is more carefree, full of love and full of so many dreams and hopes. It is also a very short period of time in your life that will pass so very quickly. These photos aren’t about a married couple, on their wedding day, surrounded by all their close friends and family; it marks a time period that is just the two of you and the love you have for each other. It’s more simplified, more casual, more comfortable, and reflects the two of you in a way that your wedding photos wont. Not that one is better than the other, but they are equally just as meaningful. It is a time period worth celebrating and being able to look back on forever.
Engagement sessions are some of my favorite moments with couples. I love them. And choosing to schedule an engagement session is something you won’t ever regret. I promise.