Do we or don’t we?
Are you thinking about having an engagement photo session before your wedding but are not quite sure? Do you weigh up the extra cost against the benefit it may have for your wedding day?
For some couples, engagement shoots are an essential part of the experience of getting married and well worth the investment. Other couples, not so much. In the same way, you’ll find photographers that will tell you that it’s a must as a preparation for your wedding day and other photographers who say it’s nice but not essential. I personally believe that there’s no right or wrong here, every couple and every photographer is different, and it’s very much a personal choice for them.
In my experience, even though most couples are nervous about having an engagement session, in the end, they are often glad that they did it, mainly because an engagement shoot results in some fantastic photos. Whether they think the shoot was a benefit to them on their wedding day is another question entirely.
Here are a few thoughts which may help you to decide what’s right for you.
Getting to know you
I love shooting engagement sessions. I find them a great way to spend a couple of hours of quality time getting to know a couple. We can chat about all things weddings, have a lot of fun and get some beautiful relaxed photos of the two of you.
Also, bear in mind that you may book your wedding photographer a year or so in advance of your big day so, the engagement shoot can be the perfect ice-breaker. For couples who are nervous about having their wedding photos taken, this can be a really helpful dress rehearsal.
Love them as I do; I don’t believe engagement shoots are an essential part of the wedding process. I don’t need to do an engagement shoot to create beautiful wedding photos for you. Some say it’s useful for couples to get to know the poses, but I don’t really do poses; instead, I like to keep things as natural as possible. I might give you some tips on the best way to stand and what to do with your hands, but generally I prefer to encourage you to be yourselves in the moment, and I can do that just as easily on your wedding day as I can on an engagement shoot.
Engagement sessions aren’t representative of your wedding day quite simply because there are no time constraints, and you’ll be in your everyday clothes. There will be many people and many distractions on your wedding day, and most probably tight timelines, which is everything an engagement session is not. Remember, on your wedding day, you’ll be the centre of attention, and because of this, you will, without doubt, feel much more relaxed about being photographed. The key here is to make sure that you find the right photographer for you, one you can trust and feel comfortable having around.
Just the two of you
Your wedding day passes by in a whirlwind filled with your family, friends, and lots of distractions, making it challenging to be present and in the moment. An engagement shoot, on the other hand, is entirely about you.
It’s a time that you can enjoy a couple of hours away from the wedding planning to be together and savour the moment in this special time of your lives. A time to reconnect with each other and celebrate just the two of you.
Engagement shoots can feel a little intimidating and pretty awkward! After all, it’s not every day that you’ll get romantic in front of a camera! For this reason, some say engagement shoots are not very authentic. That may be true for some couples, but it’s really not for others. Some couples relax quite quickly and can be themselves, whilst others never quite feel comfortable. Only you’ll know how you’ll be.
The best thing to do is to embrace the awkward feelings, just run with it and have a good giggle, you’ll soon get into the swing of it!
Calm the nerves
The chances are that you won’t have had professional photos taken before as a couple.
Nearly all of my clients think they look bad in pictures, but that’s often because they judge themselves against random shots taken by friends and family on phones or something similar. A professional photographer knows how to photograph people well, how to put them in the best light and how to get the best interaction from them.
From my perspective, my job is to capture you ‘in love’, and that love shows itself in many different ways, from the biggest of gestures to the smallest of glances. I only ask that you be present and focus on each other and know that I’ll never ask you to behave in a way that doesn’t feel like you.
An engagement session can help you feel confident in your choice of photographer and build your comfort in front of the camera, so afterwards, you may even look forward to having your wedding photos taken!
It’s not just about the here and now
Your wedding journey may be a short period of time in your life together but what happens during this time is huge. It’s about love, and it’s about commitment, both of which will have a massive impact on the rest of your lives.
This chapter of your life starts from the moment your partner proposed, and being engaged is an integral part of that wedding journey and your love story as a whole. Photographs will preserve that time forever. Photos aren’t just for today; they are memories for the rest of your lives and for generations to come.
Why not make the most of it, enjoy it and immortalise this unique time forever.
My final thoughts
When it comes to an engagement shoot, don’t overthink it. If you can relax and enjoy the session, then go for it, it can be a tremendous amount of fun. If you want some beautiful pictures of you both to use as details for your wedding or just because you want them, then a session is a great idea.
On the other hand, if you think you’ll be uncomfortable or can’t see the point, then don’t feel that your wedding will be any the less for it.
Do what feels right for you!