Are they worth it?
The answer is YES! So now you don’t need to read the rest of the blog…
But you should! Because there’s a lot of great insight here.
When I am beginning to plan a wedding with a couple, there are a handful of things that they are likely to be wishy-washy about:
- Videography (do it!)
- Whether or not to include kids (we wrote a blog on that, too)
- Whether or not to do an engagement shoot
Why would anyone hesitate at that opportunity to get engagement photos done? Added cost, not living near the photographer, not enjoying getting your picture taken, to name a few reasons.
Over the years, I have heard many photographers share their own personal reasons for wanting their clients to get the engagement photos done. Here are a few benefits to getting engagement photos done:
You become more comfortable with your photographer.
It is so important to get to know your photographer and become comfortable with them, because you’re going to spend approximately 8 hours (if not more) with them on your wedding day. You are going to be taking direction from them, and you might even stand in your underwear in front of them. Having this extra time with them in advance helps you to build a relationship that makes all those things more comfortable. Speaking of comfort, the first half-hour or so of being photographed may feel awkward, especially for people who generally aren’t comfortable getting their photo taken. Would you rather spend that half hour getting over the hump on your actual wedding day, or another day entirely? I would choose the other day, 100%.
Your photographer learns what works for you.
What makes you laugh? What makes you shy away? A great photographer will figure this out quickly by trying a few of their sure-fire tactics that have worked for them in the past. But, again, would you rather work that out on the wedding day, or in advance? Additionally, during a photo shoot, the photographer will learn what insecurities you have, and how to avoid them. One of our grooms had a slightly lazy eye, so photographing him straight-on accentuated this feature. But the photographer learned during the engagement shoot that using a slight angle for the groom was a great way to camouflage what made the groom so self-conscious. For another one of our weddings, the bride had lost a significant amount of weight leading up to the nuptials. While commendable, this achievement left her with upper arms that didn’t photograph well if her elbow was pressed against her body. The photographer picked up on this quickly during the engagement shoot and directed her to position her arms in ways that accentuated her new muscle tone, rather than the skin that hadn’t finished tightening up yet. On the wedding day, they had a head start by already understanding what needed to be done to capture the best photos and enable the couples to feel most comfortable.
You end up with professional photos of you in something other than your wedding attire.
Wedding photos are amazing, and we love seeing them on your walls and shelves. However, we also love seeing photos of the two of you being yourselves, wearing your everyday clothes, being the relaxed couple you normally are.
You can do the engagement photos during a different time of year to add some variety.
Are you having a summer wedding? Try a winter wonderland engagement shoot! Or how about a Spring/Fall contrast between your photos? Add some diversity to your collection of photos by taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy another season.
Your family will become more confident in your photographer’s abilities.
You booked your photographer because you love their body of work, you met them and loved their personality, and you knew they would do an excellent job of documenting your day. Your family members, who are also going to be photographed by this person, might not have been along for the selection process, so they might not have the same understanding of how the wedding day photos will work out. Friendor and frequent collaborator, Breanna Shaw of Photography by Brea, says doing an engagement shoot with her couples “sets her up for success with the families, too.” Her couples are always 100% confident in her abilities, but sometimes the parents have their own hesitancy to surrender to the photographer’s process. Brea adds, “If they’ve seen the engagement photos before the wedding day, it allows family to relax and be present knowing that they’re in capable hands. I’ve found that the few times I didn’t do engagement photos ahead of time, a family member is more worried about what I was doing than what was happening in front of them. So many times, I’ve had parents or friends approach me on the wedding day and say, “Were you the one who did the engagement photos?” And when I say yes, I watch any stress or worry melt away and they say how wonderful those were and I have another advocate in my corner.”
In the end, engagement photos only add a small amount to your photo investment, and it is often included in package pricing from your photographer. It’s an overwhelmingly worthy investment, in my opinion, and it’s one of those things people often regret if they don’t get them, but they never regret getting them.
My verdict: It’s worth it! Do the engagement shoot!
(All photos on this blog, courtesy of Photography by Brea. Engagement photos are from a wedding she photographed and Plan It Perfect coordinated)