I made a recent change to how I run my photography business. I made engagement sessions non-negotionable! They are included in every single Wedding Collection that I offer and it will forever stay that way. Here's why:
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 DON'T skip out on your engagement session! It is one of the most important times 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 and the importance of not bringing your iPad to the ceremony to snap some photos. (see what I did there..)
Why Your E-Session Is Necessary + A Key Tool To Having The Best Wedding Day Photos
1. Stranger Danger
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. Engagement sessions are the BUFFER, 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. Which leads me to...
2. Necessary 411
What I learn on an engagement session is super vital! What I learn on Engagement sessions is 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!
If you receive your engagement photos and you say, "omg I don't like my arms in this one," I make a mental note and I make sure that I will give you prompts on how we magnify the things you love and minimize the things you don't so you feel confident, beautiful and super excited to see your Wedding Photos knowing that your photographer understands your needs and desires.
3. Setting Expectations
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."
So there are some other major perks of having an engagement session.
First of all, 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.
Secondly, 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.
Thirdly, 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.
How do you set expectations for your clients if you haven't worked with them yet? What if they are expecting you to give a lot of direction but you aren't comfortable with posing people and are actually a more candid photographer or vice versa? Engagement sessions are a great way to smooth out all the edges and prepare for the big event.
Call to action!
- Comment below! Send me some love <3
- Have you ever wanted to skip out on an engagement session? Have you actually skipped the e-session? Have you had an e-session and saw its value? I'd love to hear your experience below!
- Photographers - please share any experiences where you had an e-session then a wedding or no e-session then a wedding!
Shine on friends,