Monday, February 20, 2012

The Engagment Session: More Than Just Photographs!

The Benefits of Choose an Engagement/Wedding Day Package
If you’ve shopped for wedding photography at all in the past five years, you’ve probably heard at least one photographer try to sell you on the engagement session. Initially you might think “eh…I don’t really need an engagement session; I’m not putting an announcement in the paper.” Maybe you’ll brush it off as your photographer trying to squeeze more money out of you. Well I am here to tell you the real reasons why photographers love engagement sessions and why you will love them, too! I am here to grab you by the shoulders, and (lovingly) shake you until you see the beauty of the engagement session!

Why We Love Them: Getting To Know You!
Not surprisingly, people photographers love people. You have to love them, or at least be fascinated by them, to be happy in this niche of photography. Part of having the desire to document people is the desire to tell someone’s story. A street photographer may encounter a homeless man erecting a lean-to under a bridge and effectively tell his story without ever speaking to him. That kind of hands-off approach doesn’t work well in wedding photography, however. We need to know a little bit about you and what’s important to you.

James and I always include engagement sessions in our collections. This isn’t just to entice potential clients, it’s to make sure we walk into a wedding with a clear idea of who our couple is. It is so important to know something about the subject you are documenting. During an engagement session, you’ll likely spend anywhere from an hour to an entire evening with your photographer(s) and a good photographer (read: one who cares about you and your story) will spend that time not only getting you used to weirdness of being photographed, but also getting to know you!

John and Jessica got engaged in this very spot, in front of Rembrandt's Portrait of a Man Wearing a Black Hat at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Let’s use our imagination for a moment: Say you spent months planning your wedding down to the smallest detail. You met your fiancé on safari in Africa and to commemorate this, you buy your fiancé a pair of gold binoculars from Tiffany’s and arrange to have it left on his hotel pillow. He loves his gift of course, he will tell you so later, but when the wedding photos come back there’s only a singular photo of the gift opening and you can’t really see your fiancé’s face.  You realize your photographer didn’t get the significance of the binoculars and missed a moment you wanted to see, but couldn’t. Now imagine this same situation, but at your engagement session you told your photographers all about how you met…maybe you even pulled them aside and told them about your surprise.  You get back a beautiful photo of the package, the signature blue box, the ribbon being pulled off, your fiancé’s ear-to-ear grin, his teary eyes as memories wash over him…exactly, people. This is good stuff, right? You can make this photographic magic happen!

Why You’ll Love Them: The Photos!
Wedding days are absolutely crazy.  They’re also amazingly fun and the photos you get will show you and your fiancé on an absolutely crazy day. The best part about engagement sessions photographs of you and the person you love on a regular day. Just you, your love and your favorite outfits.  There’s a relaxed feel to an engagement session that you just can’t get on a wedding day and the pictures that  relaxed atmosphere enables you to get are valuable in their own special way.  When you look back on those photos, you’ll remember just how you felt that day, in the days before you married your best friend, maybe before you had children or before you moved to France…whatever you do, you’ll remember that amazing year leading up to your wedding day.

I would go a step further (and naturally, I have a bias here!) and challenge you to a yearly anniversary shoot with a photographer! We all change so much and time goes by in the blink of an eye…photography is important for documentation, memories and family stories. Value it and seize the opportunity to tell your story, you won’t be sorry!