Engagement sessions. Some people love them and think they're a necessity. Others hate them and think that they're just another way for their photographer to make a quick buck. I've compiled my top three reasons for why I think engagement sessions are so important to do. I hope they make your decision about engagement sessions a bit easier!
It's an opportunity to get to know each other
You're going to be spending almost every minute of your wedding day with your photographer so you better make sure you like them! Your photographer will need to be close to you throughout the wedding so that they can capture every moment that happens on your special day. The engagement session allows you to get to know your photographer in a more casual setting so that you can get a feel for how they work. It also helps your photographer learn more about you and your fiancé so that they know how your relationship works and what types of pictures will work best for you.
When I show up at a wedding, I don't want to just be known as the photographer. I want the bride and groom to excitedly greet me and call me Scott because they have that personal connection with me. No one wants to experience that awkward moment when your photographer shows up to your wedding and you barely recognize them because all you've ever seen is a picture on their web site!
You get camera time and get to experience how your photographer works
Have you ever had pictures taken by a professional photographer before? Many people haven't and it's a very unique experience if you've never been in front of a camera for an extended period of time. And no, selfies don't count! It usually takes some time for everyone to "warm up" to each other and for your photographer to find what works best with you. If your photographer uses flash (they better know how to use it!), it will allow you to see how they use it to capture those moments.
Your photographer gets to experiment and capture some unique ideas/angles/concepts
One of the best parts about an engagement session is that it allows your photographer to experiment with different concepts more than they can at your wedding. On your wedding day, your photographer is going to capture those necessary shots and a few creative ones but they can't spend a lot of time taking risks because the time isn't there. During your engagement session, your photographer can set up some amazing posed shots that they may not get to do during your wedding. I like to go for a variety of traditionally posed, photojournalistic, and creatively posed pictures during my engagements so that everyone has something that they will love.
Some photographers include engagement sessions in their packages while others charge additional fees for them so you will need to discuss that with any photographers you're interested in.
As the owner of SMJ Photography, I really believe in the value of engagement sessions (as you hopefully can see from above) and include a complimentary engagement session with every package. If you haven't hired your wedding photographer yet and want a chance to win a free engagement session from SMJ Photography, please visit the contest page at www.smjphotography.net/engagementsessioncontest.