[the value of] an Engagement Session
I love, love, love shooting e-sessions. A lot of people have heard me go on and on about this before, but I really mean it – engagement pictures are so worthwhile for many reasons…
1) The connection. Wedding days are busy and your photographer will be right there throughout the entire thing. They will be your shadow and it’s a good idea to get to know them so that you have one less stress on your day. (A good photographer will be a helpful and calming element on your wedding day.) So are you comfortable with this person? Do you even like this person? If you get bad vibes during the engagement session, you can act on it before the big day.
2) The process. An engagement session is a test run of sorts. You get to know each other’s personalities and the photographer gets a really good idea of what the couple does and doesn’t like from their pictures. Do you have a good/bad side? Is there a certain pose that makes you uncomfortable? Are you hopelessly uncoordinated in heels (like me)? (Tip: plan your hair/makeup trial for that day to take full advantage.) I take note of each personality and quirks so that I can be an even better fit for them when the wedding day comes.
3) The look. There are a million photographers out there and each has his/her own style. When you see your engagement pictures, you can give feedback about what you really loved (and what you only kinda loved). Do you like tilted pictures? Do you dig the old 70’s effects? Do you want to see more black and white? Do you want more close-ups? Do you want more scenic shots? You can look at all of the pictures in the world, but when it’s your face that you’re seeing, it’s easier to know what you like and don’t like.
4) The quality time. I hear over and over how much fun couples have on engagement sessions. Really. You can pick a location where he proposed or the place where you had your first date or some other location that holds nostalgic, personal value for you (even the home that you two share). It’s strange at first but you get to be goofy and sweet and fun and just play together. With all the stress of wedding planning, it’s great to take some time out to just PLAY.
5) Oh yeah… the Pictures! You get these awesome shots of just you and your honey bunny (aka schnookums, sweetie-pants, bumble buns, googly bear…)! Sure, you may have some that you took at the last bbq, but your head is chopped off and your friend is in the background trying to hit on that girl from across the street. You need quality pictures of the two of you, casual pictures that don’t come from your wedding day.
Bonus 6) The awesome things you can do with the pictures. Besides just having the pictures to frame around your house, the e-session pics are perfect for all sorts of wedding elements. Here are just a few ideas that I’ve come across…
Announcement for local newspapers – A lot of hometown newspapers have sections devoted to upcoming weddings and other announcements.
Your wedding website
Guest sign-in book – a guest book that you’ll actually look at after the wedding! The pictures are laid out on the pages with space around them to allow guests to write notes and sign their names. I absolutely love these and get so psyched when a couple orders them because they’re such a great way to combine an album of your pics with messages from the people you love. This is an alternative to another popular option – the photo signing board.
Invitations and/or Save the Dates – you don’t have to have just text and clipart! There are so many ways to incorporate your images into the very first things your guests will see. Another bonus is that no other couple will ever have the same invites. Extend this to the rest of your paper products and use the pics on your ceremony programs, menus, and any signs that you have up.
Table Numbers/Centerpieces – Bring signs to your engagement session and use the resulting pictures as your table names.
Favors – Oh man, where to even begin with this… I have seen so many kick @** ideas that have used people’s pictures for wedding favors. Here is a very small sample of what’s out there:
- Mini albums
- Mix CDs with images of the couple on the CD label itself
- Photo coasters
- Picture frames
- Photo labels for wine, water, etc…
- Poker chips
- Key chains
Martha Stweart had an excellent article that mentioned photo playing cards, photo confetti, photos on cookies and lollipops, and photos on the bottoms of Hershey’s kisses.
Accessories – There are a lot of companies out there and several Etsy sellers who can make jewelry out of your pictures. Surprise your guy with personalized photo cufflinks on the wedding day or make a brooch or locket to attach to your bouquet.
Engagement pictures are so worthwhile. Wedding day pictures are completely essential, but e-session pictures can be more timeless and personal since it’s not about the wedding day and the festivities, it’s about you as a couple.
This is why engagement sessions are complimentary when you book with me. It’s as much for me as it is for my couples. I learn and play and show up on the wedding day as a friend rather than just another vendor.
To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides. -David Viscott