Engagement sessions – some people love them and some people hate them. I hope by the time you read this you will be someone who loves them because I do. They are my favorite thing to shoot for a number of reasons:
1) I get to spend time with my couples before their wedding to let them warm up to me and the camera. There isn’t anyone else to worry about and they can just be themselves.
2) It makes things flow smoother on the wedding day if we have done a session together before. You will be more comfortable in front of the camera and I will have already gone through some pointers on posing etc. So when I ask you to do something a little wierd you’ll know what I’m talking about and the result I’m looking for in the image. And I’ll know if you have any quarks about photos (blinking, every 5th picture your smile shifts to one side, you have the urge want to give bunny ears to someone in every image etc.).
3) You get great professional photos of the two of you that AREN’T in your wedding attire. Yes you want wedding photos, but it’s also nice to have some images in your house that are more representative of you as a couple on a normal day. Unless of course you usually spend your days in a white gown and a tux…. in which case disregard this statement.
4) You have time to explore locations that you may not be able to on the day of your wedding. Wedding days can be a tight on time and if you really want images somewhere that isn’t close to your venue or even in the same town it becomes virtually impossible. For an engagement session you can choose your location(s) without worrying about getting back to the reception or making guests wait or getting your wedding party of 48 to the location. So if you want to shoot at the college that the two of you met at, then we will head to campus! If you absolutely love the view from somewhere in the city, but your ceremony is in the burbs than we can shoot the engagement session in the city to give you the best of both worlds. If you want your dogs or cats involved in the session and they can’t be at the wedding, then bring on those furry friends!
5) They’re just fun!!!
Convinced yet? (say yes) …. if not stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow on the where, when and why of how to plan your engagement session
So I decided to just add part 2 to the same post so everyone didn’t have to go searching for it. Hopefully if you’ve read the first part I’ve convinced you as to why you should shoot an engagement session. So now let’s talk about the where, when and why of planning your session.
I get asked often from couples about when they should schedule their engagement session. I always ask this question ” Are you sending out save the dates?And do you want to use the engagement photos for them?”. If the answer is yes than you need to consider that most people send those out between 6-8 months prior to the date. Generally if you are doing a destination or getting married on a holiday weekend they get sent out around 8 months ahead to allow people to plan for travel etc.
So work backward from that timeline. If you are getting married in June 2013 you should send your save the dates out in November or December. If you want fall photos than you need to shoot them in the Fall of 2012. But make sure you plan enough time to do the session and get the photos back and design/order the save the dates. My general turnaround time for an engagement session is 2 weeks.
If you aren’t sending out save the dates the timeline becomes much more flexible. You can basically schedule the session whenever time allows in your schedule or during a certain season if you are wanting a certain look for your session.
The next question is always “Where should we do our shoot?” and I always respond with the following questions :
- ” Where did you meet?”
- ” If it’s a Saturday or Sunday and both of you have no where to be, what would you do all day?”
People think that’s a weird question, but the answers tell me a lot about my couple. I love engagement sessions and the best ones are when the couples are having fun and are comfortable. For 2012 I’m really trying to stress to my couples to personalize their engagement sessions. This doesn’t mean you have to run out and make all kinds of DIY props or rent out a space. Simply tell me what you two like to do together on a Saturday. Do you take the dogs to play in the park? Great – let’s go do that! Do you have a favorite coffee shop nearby that you love to go to and enjoy a book? Awesome, we go grab some java! Do you spend your Sundays watching football and eating wings? Sign me up! Do you like to get dressed up and head out to a wine bar or your favorite restaurant? Fantastic – strap on those heels and let’s go!
My point is that I don’t want my couples to choose a location based on what everyone else is doing or somewhere they think is cool or pretty, but that they’ve never been to. I want them to pick a place they are familiar with. A place that has meaning or that they frequent. Just look around your own neighborhood and there could be some great places to shoot. Don’t pick a park you’ve never been to because you think it will be good for photos. I’m here to help and make suggestions, but I want you to tell me what is meaningful to you and we can work together to find the perfect location(s) for your shoot.
I covered alot of this in part one. But to sum it up because I want you to have fun and be comfortable with me as a photographer. I want you to have some great images of the two of you to treasure forever. Some of my favorite images came because my clients trusted me (see image in the rain below) and just had fun being themselves!
Just contact me on the link above! Some of my wedding packages include engagement sessions, but it can always be added on. If you are interested in more information you can fill out the contact form or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org