As a wedding photographer, I’m a strong believer that your wedding photographer should also your engagement photographer! They don’t have to be the ones crouching in the bushes when you pop the question (that might be jumping the gun a bit!), but I do believe that they should be the one to capture your engagement session- the photos you will use for your save-the-dates or your wedding guest book, and perhaps your first professional portraits as a couple!
1. You have a chance to work with your photographer BEFORE the wedding day!
When your wedding day rolls around, you will have enough things racing through your mind and the last thing you need is to be wondering if you look good in your wedding photos! But if you’ve worked with your photographer before and LOVED your engagement photos, you will feel confident because you’ve seen them capture wonderful images of you and your man. You will also be familiar with their personality and posing style so your wedding portraits will feel natural and you will really be able to enjoy those precious moments!
2. Your photographer has a chance to work with YOU before the wedding day!
As a wedding photographer, I can tell you that every couple poses differently and has a look that is uniquely then! Shooting your engagement session allows me to get a great idea of your style and which poses compliment you best, so that on your wedding day, I have a place to start and get more great portraits right from the beginning! Your photographer will value the experience of your engagement session to so they can represent you as accurately as possible.
3. The style of your engagement portraits and wedding portraits will go hand in hand!
Josh and I have a mixture of our engagement and wedding photos adorning our wall, and they go together because they were both captured by the same photographer! (Tyler Scott, we love you!) Professional photographers have a specific shooting and editing style that can vary immensely. I’m constantly astounded as I scroll through Instagram how many highly successful wedding photographers are out there and how different their images look! Choosing a photographer with an editing style you love is a post for another day… but know that you will want your engagement and wedding images to be consistent!
4. If you really dislike your engagement photos, it gives you a chance to walk away.
I really, really hesitated before I added this reason, but I think it’s important to address so here it is! If you hire someone as your wedding photographer and end up hating your engagement photos (or if they make you uncomfortable for any reason during your session)… you still have a chance to walk away. You will probably lose your deposit, and they may be offended… but in the end, it’s your wedding day and your wedding portraits on the line! You deserve a wedding photographer you LOVE, and there are so many out there that you will almost certainly be able to find the perfect fit for both your style and budget!
Time for the disclaimer, because I don’t want anyone to leave feeling bad because they had someone else take their engagement photos! There are so many aspiring photographers out there that almost everyone has a friend who would jump at the chance to shoot an engagement session for their close friends! They will probably even do it for free 😉 Josh and I actually had a friend take a few photos to use for our save-the-dates because we hadn’t gotten a chance to schedule our engagement session yet, but our save-the-dates had to go out right away! But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a second engagement session with your wedding photographer!
I offer a complimentary engagement session with every wedding package, and I often have brides ask me, “We already had our engagement photos taken! Can we book you without the engagement session? Will that lower the price?” There’s nothing wrong with brides who ask that, but I always explain that the engagement session is complimentary (free!) because it will benefit both of us on your wedding day! If they choose to not schedule an engagement session, that’s fine, but I don’t drop the price because I really see it as a free gift that they can take or leave and I always encourage them to schedule one anyway. Because, who doesn’t love more portraits?!
This is also the reason I don’t generally offer engagement sessions unless I’m also shooting your wedding! I don’t want to take that experience out of your wedding photographer’s hands unless there are extenuating circumstances that would prevent them from shooting your engagement! Of course, I have heard that “we just love your style and our wedding photographer charges $XXX for an engagement session and we can’t really afford it…” …then maybe (maybe, not necessarily!!!) you should consider a different wedding photographer! :O
When it comes down to it, I don’t want to offend anyone!! I just want to make sure that you get engagement and wedding portraits that you L-O-O-O-V-E and can’t wait to share with everyone you see. Photos are so common these days, but your wedding photos are the ones that your children and grandchildren will look at. Your wedding photos are the ones that will adorn the walls of your home. They are worth the investment and having an engagement session you love with your photographer will put you at ease for your wedding day! Trust me, it’s so, so worth it. 🙂