Advice for Brides
So my last post about engagement sessions was all about making sure that everything goes smoothly and you get the kind of engagement photos you'll love forever. Well, I met with a couple recently to talk about shooting their wedding. One of the questions they asked me was WHY they should do an engagement session. They said they had a photo from right after the proposal that captured that moment of engagement and couldn't see how an engagement session would do it better. I completely agreed! An engagement session wouldn't capture that special moment. That would be impossible! But engagement sessions are about more than that, so I thought today I'd share a few reasons to have an engagement session.
1. Capture this time in your life.
This may seem obvious, but bare with me. I've been told by couples that they have never had professional photos together before. Some of these couples have been together for years and years! This pre-marriage time in your life is unique and from the wedding onward, every picture of you both will be a picture of your marriage. That's awesome and beautiful in itself, but how lovely to have pictures of you and your sweetheart that show the way you were when you fell in love in the first place.
2. Show your personality.
Couples are becoming amazing at showcasing their personalities at their weddings these days. It's becoming more acceptable to do unusual things and make your wedding day really your own. This is fantastic, but there's always a certain grandness and formality to a wedding that is different from your everyday lives. Engagement photos give you the opportunity to show who you really are as a couple on a day to day basis. Wear your JMU hoodies loud and proud, bring your puppies that you love walking together, or pack a picnic and get real romantic! Whatever it is, you have a lot of freedom to be creative with your engagement photos in a way that the wedding day doesn't allow.
3. Give your photos some variety.
I talked in my last post about engagement sessions about how I regretted taking my engagement photos at the same site where our wedding was. We have a few of our engagement photos around the house, but not many because it was just confusing to have the same backdrop as our wedding but us wearing casual clothes! What I'd love to have are our wedding photos, just as they are. And then engagement photos that really showed who we are as a young couple that are completely distinct from the wedding ones.
4. Creating "things" for your wedding.
I wasn't sure how to title this one. "Things" seemed to be the only all-encompassing word I could think of. What I mean is, you can use your engagement photos for so many popular wedding rituals. You could use them for cute save the date cards or wedding invitations. You can make an album of the photos for guests to sign as your wedding guestbook. You can have a great big canvas made to display at your reception. You can decorate your wedding website (do people still do wedding websites?) if your super awesome photographer doesn't already make one for you.
5. Get to know your wedding photographer.
Well obviously this is one of my favorite reasons! Oftentimes at wedding consultations, I meet with just the bride. Not always, but I'd say about half the time. We begin a relationship at those meetings, but what really makes that relationship is the engagement session! Especially since this is often the first time I get to meet with the groom! It is so nice for us to spend a couple hours together laughing and getting to know each other before the wedding day. Hopefully that puts you more at ease when I pop into the bridal suite to photograph you putting your dress and make up on :)
6. Practice posing.
I am certainly not the queen of posing, but it's one of the things I'm always working to improve on. There's a fine line between posey posed pictures (that's a very technical term that only a true professional would use) and pictures that are posed to look natural. It takes practice on both our parts! Not every client responds to the same type of posing, so I have to adjust for that. And when you step in front of the camera for that first time, it's going to feel kind of weird! But as the session goes on, it will feel less and less weird. By doing an engagement session with your wedding photographer, hopefully some of that weirdness will be dispelled and come time for the wedding, you will be a posing, smiling pro!
7. Have fun.
I am a lover of photos. Obviously. But there is something about the experience of walking around some place beautiful all dressed up with the guy or gal you're going to marry, snuggling and being all adorable that seems so fun and romantic. Once you get over the fact that you're being stalked by a voyeur with a camera (hi! don't mind me!), you can treat your engagement session like a date.
I really do believe engagement sessions are important. That's why I include a complimentary engagement session in my wedding package. It's something I don't want my couples to miss out on and really, I just have such a fun time doing them ;)