A few reasons why you should consider adding an engagement session to your priority list.
Picture this: you found your dream wedding photographer.
The initial meeting went well, you we're able to find a package that suited your needs & now all there's left to do is wait for your wedding day. When it finally arrives you realize the wedding photographer you hired isn't working how you quite imagined. You feel your communication is off, your needs aren't being met & ultimately you're left wondering if hiring your "dream" wedding photographer was a mistake. How could you have avoided this, though?
A simple solution to this is setting up an engagement session with your wedding photographer of choice. An engagement session acts almost like a trial-run, much like you do with your hair and makeup artists. It gives your wedding photographer the opportunity to show you how well you can work together, as well as help them show off their more creative side before your big day.
Many newly engaged couples choose to opt-out of this option with their photographers for a number of reasons, a major one being time.
I can't think of many couples in the thick of planning their wedding that have much time to spare. An engagement session doesn't have to take up your whole day, though.
If you decide to shoot during the summer, the sun sets much later in the evening- giving you and your partner the opportunity to relax a bit after work and then get ready for your shoot. Think of it like a date night- you're there to hang out with your best friend in a cool location and if at the end of it you get some cool photos out of the experience, then was it really so bad?
Another huge reason I see couples forego their engagement session is their fear of the camera.
Clearly you and your partner aren't posing for photos all day, every day, and your wedding photographer shouldn't expect that out of you. Some couples feel self-conscious and completely out of their element displaying affection in public, let alone in front of a practical stranger. Most photographers understand this and want to work their hardest to prove that being in front of the camera isn't as scary as it seems. Sure, you might have to get all cuddled up in front of us- but by the end of that session you will most likely walk away feeling loved, appreciated and excited to see the results.
When you think about it, an engagement session is a really good way to gauge how well you mesh with your photographers on a personal, and creative, level. Having the ability to collaborate before your wedding gives your photographer the opportunity to show you their skills in a more tangible setting. It also helps set the tone of your day, that way they're able to arrive at your wedding ready to go and without any trepidation because they know how you two work as a couple.
Most couples can name a family member, friend or mutual acquaintance that has something to do with photography. Oftentimes their gift to you will be an engagement session and this is up to you to decide if you want to accept it, but don't let that impede your hired wedding photographer's chances of shooting with you before the wedding day. It's awfully nice to gift a friend a session, but in situations like this there's often no guarantee of what the results will look like. You don't typically sign a contract, either- so if something were to go wrong, there's nothing in place to legally protect you.
There's nothing wrong with accepting this as a gift, but keep in mind you hired your wedding photographer for a reason- their consistent portfolio, professionalism and the guarantee your photos and experience will be dependable from start, to finish.
Building trust with your wedding photographers will go such a long way on your wedding day and it all starts with learning how they work. You can flip through hundreds of their photos in their portfolio, but you truly will never know if they're the right fit for you until you're in front of their camera. Take a chance, more than likely you wont regret it and you will have beautiful photos to take away from the experience.