What exactly is an engagement session? In most cases it is a casual photo shoot with your photographer. It is an opportunity for you to be photographed prior to your wedding, and get to know your photographer and see images of yourselves before the wedding day. The photographer you hired to capture your wedding images should be the same individual who shoots your engagement photographs. The idea is to build rapport and feel comfortable with the person taking your wedding photographs.
Try to get your engagement pictures taken soon after you hire your photographer, not weeks before the wedding. By arranging your session early, you will have the opportunity to enjoy your images during most of your engagement period. Should you wait until the wedding is close at hand, engagement photos will seem like one more thing to be done and little time to do it. The engagement session should be light and playful with plenty of time to capture just the right moments.
To help make these images special, pick a location that has some significance to you both. It could be the place where you got engaged or a first date. The location could be a place as simple as your home, a restaurant, museum, or maybe the college where you met. If you can’t think of anything, ask your photographer for advice. He or she will most likely know some picturesque settings nearby such as beaches, a national park, or even surprise you with a location you never would have considered on your own.
Another advantage to being photographed prior to your wedding day is the opportunity for the bride to have a test run done on her make-up. Set up an appointment with the person doing your make-up for the wedding right before your engagement shoot. This way you will get to see how your make-up will look, not only in the mirror but how it will photograph. If there are adjustments to be made, it will not be too late.
Getting to know your photographer, seeing pictures of yourselves ahead of time and knowing you will like your make-up will help build confidence in yourselves and your photographer, creating a shared level of trust. From a photographer’s perspective it is reassuring to walk into a bride’s dressing room on her wedding day greeted with an enthusiastic hello, as opposed to a cold hand shake and reminding them who you are. As the photographer observes the bride and groom through his lens that day, they will better capture the emotional, real life moments because of the bond established with the couple. It is a much different experience than working with a stranger who they meet only once, six months to a year ago.
What do you do with your new pictures? One idea that many couples choose is an engagement portrait or collage. A framed image or multiple framed images from your engagement session is a great way to ad some warmth and personality to your new home. You benefit by having images of the two of you hang in your home or homes long before the wedding.
Engagement images also make great gifts for parents and grandparents. A small album or coffee table box allows you to share these photos with guests. Your engagement images might also be used for “Save the Date” cards, engagement announcements or in your hometown paper. It could even be printed on the cover of your wedding CD, a popular favor for guests. Make sure to get your photographer’s permission if you choose to self-publish your engagement or wedding images. A photo-credit with the photographer’s name or website is usually a good way to ensure the permission of your photographer.
Knowing and liking your photographer, is significant in the success of your wedding and will help keep you focused on the real reason you are having a wedding in the first place, each other.
Opening photograph by Drew Clayton Photography