Do I need to do an engagement session?
If you've come to this page you've probably googled "do I need to do an engagement session!"
The answer depends on your preferences. An engagement session can provide you with beautiful photos to use for your invitations or a practice run for your wedding photos. However, it is not necessary.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether to invest time and money in an engagement session.
Let's explore the pros, cons, and in-betweens to help you decide!
What is an engagement session?
An engagement session, also known as an engagement photoshoot, is a pre-wedding photoshoot where couples have professional photographs taken in the period between their engagement and their wedding day.
Typically, these sessions are less formal than wedding photography, offering couples the opportunity to capture their relationship in a more relaxed and casual setting.
This can take place at a location that holds special meaning for the couple, allowing the photographs to reflect their unique bond and shared experiences.
A Reason Why: Building Rapport with Your Photographer
One of the key reasons many photographers advocate for engagement sessions is the opportunity it provides for building a rapport with the couple. These sessions can serve as an icebreaker, allowing both parties to become more comfortable with each other before the wedding day.
As the photographer, I get a chance to understand your dynamics as a couple - how you interact, your comfort levels in front of the camera, and your preferred poses or angles. Similarly, you get an opportunity to familiarize yourself with my working style and provide feedback on what you like or want to avoid in your photos.
This mutual understanding can often lead to a smoother and more enjoyable wedding day experience.
A Reason Why: Testing the Waters
Another benefit of engagement sessions is that they can act as a 'trial run' for your wedding photography. It's a chance to experiment with different locations, outfits, and poses without the wedding day schedule constraints and pressures.
A Reason Why: Creating Personal and Versatile Photos
Engagement sessions also allow for personal and versatile photographs. The relaxed setting and lack of time constraints often result in images that truly reflect your personality and relationship. These photos can be used for various purposes: save-the-date cards, wedding websites, social media announcements, or even decor elements at your wedding reception.
A Reason Why: You Really Want To!
If you find yourself drawn to the idea of an engagement session, even without a specific reason, that's completely fine and a valid reason to schedule one as well!
Perhaps you're excited by the prospect of a relaxed, fun photoshoot with your partner, or you simply love the idea of having professional photos taken during this special time. Your wedding journey is as much about the joy and excitement of the process as it is about the wedding day itself.
If an engagement session adds to your enjoyment and anticipation, then it's a worthwhile endeavor. Ultimately, the decision should be about what brings you happiness and what will contribute to making your wedding journey memorable and uniquely yours.
A Reason Why: A Cherished Collection of Pre-Wedding Memories
Lastly, engagement photoshoots give you an exceptional collection of professional images during this special phase of your life. These photos capture the excitement, love, and anticipation that characterize your pre-wedding journey, serving as a cherished keepsake of the time before you said, 'I do'.
A Reason Why Not: Focus on the Wedding Day
Some photographers feel that the main focus should be on the wedding day itself. This is, after all, the culmination of your love story and the day when all your friends and family gather to celebrate your union. They believe that the energy, resources, and time might be better invested in ensuring the wedding photography is top-notch, as these images will often hold the most significance in the years to come.
A Reason Why Not: Cost Considerations
Engagement sessions typically cost extra. Some couples, particularly those on a tight budget, might prefer to allocate their resources elsewhere in the wedding planning process. Photographers who are sensitive to this might not emphasize an engagement shoot. Instead, they might offer it as an optional add-on for those who have the interest and means.
A Reason Why Not: Time Constraints
Planning a wedding can be a time-consuming endeavor, and not all couples have the bandwidth to fit an engagement session into their busy schedules. This is especially true for those planning a wedding in a short timeframe or for couples juggling demanding work schedules. Some photographers might discourage an engagement session in these scenarios to reduce stress and avoid over-complications.
A Reason Why Not: Directness and Efficiency
Lastly, some photographers have a skill set and a style that allows them to build rapport and understand a couple's dynamic quickly and efficiently on the wedding day itself. These photographers might not see a separate engagement session as necessary, confident in their ability to capture stunning and authentic images without a prior, informal photoshoot.
A Reason Why Not: You Just Don't Want To!
It's imperative to remember that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to wedding photography, and that includes the decision to have an engagement session. If you do not want one, that's absolutely okay.
This could be because you're more excited about wedding day photos. It could also be because you're mindful of your budget, or you feel you have enough pictures of the two of you already. It could also be because an engagement session isn't something that's important to you at all.
The most crucial thing is that your choices reflect what's genuinely meaningful to you. Your wedding journey is deeply personal, and every decision, including your photography, should resonate with your desires and values. Choosing to forego an engagement session won't detract from the magic of your wedding day or the photographs that will emerge from it.
As a wedding photographer, how do I personally feel about engagement sessions?
I've always believed that an engagement session can be a wonderful experience if it resonates with you. It's a chance to capture the unique chemistry between you and your partner in a relaxed and intimate setting. These sessions can offer you beautiful memories of the pre-wedding phase, images that you might treasure alongside your wedding photos.
However, I want to emphasize that choosing not to have an engagement session in no way compromises the quality or the authenticity of your wedding photography. As a professional with years of experience, I have honed my skills to quickly connect with and understand my clients, even if we've just met. I pride myself on being able to create a comfortable environment, capture your genuine emotions, and tell your story beautifully through my lens.
On your wedding day, my focus is on capturing the magic and love that fills the air. I aim to document the big moments - your vows, the first kiss, the first dance - but also the quiet, candid moments that truly encapsulate the emotion of the day.
Whether we've had an engagement session or not, my goal remains the same: to provide you with a collection of images that transport you back to the joy and love of your wedding day every time you look at them.
In the end, the choice to have an engagement session is a personal one. If you feel it's right for you, I'm more than happy to guide you through that process. If not, rest assured that your wedding day will be captured with the same level of dedication, passion, and attention to detail.
My mission is to make you feel comfortable, respected, and beautifully represented, no matter what path you choose in your wedding photography journey.
Susan Stripling Photography
58 2nd Ave #17A
Brooklyn, NY 11215
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