Engagement Sessions – Do You Need One?

If you’ve been thinking about your wedding photographer recently, looking through websites, comparing styles and reading about their packages, you’ve no doubt come across the concept of an engagement or pre-wedding photoshoot. Many photographers include them as part of their packages, others charge extra for them. So are they important or just the latest thing?

You might think – as a wedding photographer – I’d be alllllll over them. But actually I only recommend them to a small number of my couples. I’m busy. You’re busy. I’m not going to try and upsell you something for the sake of it. If you’re wondering whether you need a pre-wed shoot then read on.

Do I need one?

Well no, of course you don’t need one. Just like you don’t really need a wedding. Or I don’t really need that new dress from Cath Kidston (but I actually do). A wedding is full of indulgences and you need to decide if this indulgence is one that you would like.  I don’t think engagement sessions are for everyone but I do think there are two groups of couples who should definitely consider booking one.

The extroverts, the photo lovers, the people whose phones are full of couple selfies and who are completely happy in front of a camera. Oh my goodness, we could have so much fun together. This would be the perfect indulgence for you. I mean seriously, I know those phone pictures are great and everything but how about some really beautiful professional pictures of the two of you. How often do you get the chance to do that? Of course, you’ll get some of these on the wedding day but the reality is we’ll be pushed for time. I’m really strict about not turning your wedding day into a photo session, I feel quite strongly that you should spend as much time as possible with your friends and family. So during the wedding day, we’ll put aside about 20 minutes in total, usually split over two sessions for your portraits. This is more than enough time for me to get a varied range of images but an enagement session gives you an hour of completely uninterrupted time. We can go to different locations, have outfit changes, try out riskier and more creative shots without worrying about time constraints. We could even style the session – whimsical picnic on the beach anyone? Hell YES!

Now for the flip side. You hate having your picture taken. Maybe you think you do something weird with your face as soon as a camera comes near you (Chandler smiles?), perhaps you’re secretly dreading that part of the wedding day. In that case, strangely enough you should absolutely book an engagement session. Firstly I want to show you that it really isn’t as bad as you think. I’m not going to make you do anything weird or cheesy. We’ll just go to your favourite spot and hang out for an hour. We could go for a coffee, a stroll around the park with the dog or a walk on the beach. I get to see you in action and keep my eye out for any weirdness which may manifest when I come near you!

Or perhaps you’re a bit body conscious and there’s something about yourself you don’t like (me – it’s my arms). Maybe you’re worried about how this will affect your photos. Well then, just tell me about it and we’ll work on poses which emphasise the bits you do like and hide those bits you’re not so keen on. I can teach you some really simple posing tricks which will help anyone take a more flattering photo. I love a challenge so give me the chance to create some gorgeous images you’ll actually want to plaster all over your walls.

The Where, the When, the How….

So you’ve made your decision to book an engagement session (good choice by the way) and now it’s time to think about the details.

The Where? 

Well the possibilities are endless. Do you have a spot that’s really special to the two of you? Somewhere you like to go often or maybe where you got engaged? Well that would be just flipping perfect. Or how about a city centre, with a lovely little garden we could nip into – I love a bit of variety. Or fish and chips at the seaside, a trip to the funfair, or a wander through some gorgeous countryside. Let your imagination go wild – if you’re booking this indulgence you might as well make the most of it right? If you’re a bit stuck for ideas just get in touch for a chat because honestly, I’ve got loads of them. I can’t promise I wont get carried away though.

The When?

I almost always schedule my engagement sessions mid-week because of my busy wedding schedule (and I wont lie, my liking for a Sunday afternoon nap) so keep a spot in your diary for me. Usually around a month before the wedding itself is the best time to do the session so everything is fresh in your mind for the day itself but some couples like to use their images for the Save the Dates or invitations so we can always do them earlier.

The How? 

Although these sessions are primarily meant to be a practise for the big day you will get to keep your images so it’s worth making that little bit of extra effort. Think about your outfits – do they work together? Are they fitting for the location you’ve chosen? You want something you feel comfortable in but something that makes you feel confident and yes, just a little bit fabulous too. And whilst we’re chatting about the whole feeling fabulous thing – how about getting your make up trial done on the same day? That way you’ll look even more amazing than usual and you get a chance to see how your make up will photograph on the day. Whilst you’re there treat yourself to a manicure too – I’ll be getting that close up of your engagement ring don’t forget.

The Result?

Well obviously, some flipping beaut images of the two of you but also, and I think, equally as importantly, a happier and more relaxed couple of their wedding day.

If you’d like to book an engagement session please get in touch with me via the contact page. You can see some of my recent sessions here.