Many couples may think that engagement sessions are a waste of time, but there are many practical reasons why you should do an engagement session. Here is my top 5!
1. Get some awesome images!
Michael and I always complain how we don't have enough nice photos together. I'm sure we are not the only couple with this problem. An engagement session is great way to get some professional images of you and your significant other. Of course, beyond posting them on your social media, you can get them printed and hang them in your home or give them as gifts to family. Many of my brides and grooms often end up using their engagement photos for their "Save the Date" or have them printed in large canvases to be displayed at the wedding reception. Another creative way to use your engagement photo is to have them printed in a book format to use as a guestbook during the reception. These pictures are also a nice physical medium you can see to get excited for your wedding day.
2. Chance to be creative and fun
At your wedding, you will likely want your traditional wedding photos. An engagement session is a fantastic way for you and your photographer to create images that are not bound by tradition! You can be as creative, silly, or dramatic as you want. I find that doing an activity that you enjoy together is a great way to showcase your relationship. This can be as simple as hanging out in a coffee shop or as active as mountain-climbing! I also always encourage my couples to pick a place that brings out their individual personalities or a place that has an important meaning to their relationship, like where they had their first date. There is no limit to what you can do with engagement session, let your imagination run free. :)
3. Get comfortable in front of the camera
Let's face it, not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera. Having shot countless weddings, I find that grooms especially become awkward or stiff when a camera is pointed at their face. One of the benefits of an engagement session is that you can practice getting comfortable in front of the camera to a point where you will barely notice it on your wedding day. If you are like me, who needs some help relaxing when in front of the camera, let your photographer know. He/she will have some tricks up his/her sleeve to help you. For me, I always tell my couple that whatever comes naturally to them is often what creates great images: natural way to stand, natural way to hold hands, or kiss. Once you have done an engagement session, preferably with the same photographer who will shoot your wedding day (see reason #5), I can guarantee that you will have no qualms being photographed on your wedding day. By the way, if you don't know which side is your "good side," an engagement session can help with that, too!
4. Trial run for your other vendors
Consider your engagement session as a trial-run, not just for you and your fiance/fiancee, but also the vendors involved in your wedding. When deciding a date for your engagement session, don't hesitate to let your potential hairstylist or makeup artist know. That way, you can book your trial with them on the same day as your engagement session. I know many make-up and hairstylists in Ottawa who would gladly do this. You can see how your hair or make-up will look when photographed and if you don't like how it looks, you can change it for your wedding day.
5. Get to know your photographer
The biggest advantage to engagement sessions is that you can get to know your wedding photographer. This is why it is crucial, if possible, to have the same photographer doing both your engagement session and your wedding. Your photographer is the only vendor that will always be with you or around you on your wedding day. It is important therefore that you and your fiance/fiancee are comfortable with this person. "But we have met the photographer already and we are comfortable with him/her", you say? Well, having an engagement session is a good way to build on this comfort and trust. During your engagement session, you will be able to see how your photographer actually works; what his/her approach to photographing you; how does he/she handle difficult conditions?
The reverse to this is that your photographer can also get to know you! I know for me when I do engagement sessions, I try to learn what makes my couple who they are; what makes them laugh, what make them nervous or uncomfortable, what posing prompts work or don't work, and their photography styles and interests. Like Reason #4, it is also a trial-run for your photographer so that there are no surprises come wedding day!