In 2015 I took a leap and made an incredibly important decision in how I work with my wedding clients, I made engagement sessions non-negotionable. They are included in every single Wedding Collection and it will forever stay that way.
I was noticing a pattern with my clients. They really wanted to work with me but a lot of them didn’t think engagement sessions were entirely valuable or necessary before their big day. The reasons ranged from just being shy, not wanting extra photos, to wanting to cut costs wherever they could and surely the engagement session was their first choice. Who wants two photo-shoots in the span of one year or 6 months, especially if you aren’t keen about being in front of a camera to begin with?
I get it.
Weddings are costly and you are going to find all the ways you can to cut back and save a little dough, maybe a little dough that goes towards your honeymoon. But I am here to tell you do not skip out on your engagement session! It is one of the most important tools for you and your photographer to work together before the big day! Think of your dress rehearsal… its important to get everyone on the same page and make sure your wedding will flow just as you’d hoped it to be. From your dress rehearsal you get to set expectations, time-line, and other little tips like where the best parking will be, venue rules, and the importance of not bringing your iPad to the ceremony.
5 SOLID REASONS WHY YOU SHOULDN’T SKIP THE E-SESSION
1. FAMILIARITY + TRUST
It’s already enough that you are nervous for your Wedding Day. Who really wants to add the unnecessary stress of having photos taken all day on top of that? Yeah you may have met with your photographer a handful of times, bonded and fell in love with them (because I am just so loveable) but you haven’t actually worked with them on their craft – yet. You may be thinking “are they more candid? do they stay farther back? does he/she give cueing? are they confident in directing people?” etc.
Your photographer may feel even like a stranger and worse – a stranger with a camera and giant lens focusing in on you and your lovey tearing up during one of the most emotional days of your life. Engagement sessions are the buffer for the wedding, the recital, the day where you learn more about each other and how each other works in-front of and behind the camera. It builds trust and familiarity. It allows you to focus on your partner instead of the camera.
2. LEARNING YOUR QUIRKS
What I learn on an engagement session is super vital! I learn your comfort level, how you move and interact with your partner, who is the shy one, who is the goofy one, how much direction you need, what profile is your least favourite, what your insecurities are and how I can best reflect the things you love about yourself, etc, etc. The list goes on. When you receive your engagement gallery and make your selections, I make mental notes on the type of photos you are the most attracted to. Are you more attracted to minimal shots, movement, genuine laughter, closely cropped, or maybe you don’t really love kissing photos? I won’t know these things until I get the opportunity to work with you.
3. FEELING CONFIDENT
A lot of photographers have fun little anecdotes and sayings for different cueings in order to get the best type of imagery in their specialty. I have a handful of tips and tricks to help you feel comfortable and confident in photographs but this means I need to educate you on those things first. Instead of taking extra time to educate you on such a busy day, why not take the time to learn during a day where you aren’t thinking about your vows or your wedding guests?
That way when I saw “princess fingers” you aren’t thinking I’ve lost my mind but know and feel confident in my direction to understand that relaxed hands look softer and less tensed in images, drawing attention to you as a couple instead of the tension in your hands.
How do you set expectations if you don’t know what expectations to set? How do you give your photographer all the necessary information if you haven’t had an experience with them? You are kind of shooting blind (pun not intended). You want to set everyone up for success! One of my favourite quotes is: “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.”
As a wedding photographer I want to make sure I set my clients up for success, that they aren’t waiting in anxiety of what is next and what to expect. After your engagement session you will feel confident and know what to fully expect the day of the wedding when it comes to your romantic portraits as a couple and won’t be nervous about getting your bridal portrait taken all on your own. You can relax, enjoy the day, and let the photographer do what they do best.
5. ALL THE BONUSES
So there are some other major perks of having an engagement session.
a) you get headshots! Yes! That means you can update your LinkedIn profile and Facebook with a professional quality portrait. This is practice for your wedding day portraits so on your big day it becomes totally second nature to be alone in front of the camera.
b) you will have incredible, more casual and in your natural element photographs of you and your partner. These images are awesome for printing off and having them in your homes and sharing on social media. If you are a business owner, they are a great way to share your personal life in a professional, high quality way.
c) if you want to do save the dates and need a great photo of you two, you have them! If you have a wedding website – you have professional photos to share! On your wedding day you can have professional photos of you both in your reception by the guest book or if you are doing a slide-show, you will have beautiful images of you together, not just the low-resolution ones from Instagram.
d) you get the opportunity to trial your wedding makeup and hair the day of your engagement session to see how it will photograph and make any necessary changes with your stylist or MUA.
* * Note: An updated blog post of the original from July 2, 2015 on www.jamiehyatt.com * *