If you’re newly engaged and starting to plan your wedding, here are 3 big reasons to get engagement photos taken that you more than likely haven’t thought about.
From the moment a couple gets engaged, nothing is more important than sharing a photo of the proposal (pics or it didn’t happen!) My now-husband and I reveled in engagement bliss for approximately 20 minutes laughing, kissing, and popping champagne before FaceTiming everyone in our inner circle to share the amazing news. In this day and age, it’s become common practice – almost obligatory – to post a #ringselfie to social media within hours of the proposal. And for good reason; who doesn’t want to show the whole world “WE’RE ENGAGED!” With that in mind, this article is all about engagement shoots and three important reasons to get engagement photos done.
During the wedding planning process, each special event is documented through photos. Said yes to the dress? Post it to IG. Visiting your venue for a food tasting? Post a pic on Facebook and check in. Bachelorette party? Post a very blurry, very hilarious video to your IG story. However, one special event that many couples choose to forego is an engagement session.
Of all the important pre-wedding adventures you’ll have between ‘Will you marry me?’ and ‘I do,’ an engagement shoot should rank high on your to-do list. In fact, many photographers think it’s so important, they include it in within their packages at no additional charge! We do! There are, however, those who think that an engagement session is only about getting photos to show off on social media. Well, there are a few big reasons why we do our best to talk our clients into getting an engagement session done when they’re on the fence.
Here are three big reasons why you should consider an engagement shoot:
Anyone can put a camera up to their eye and capture an image, but not everyone can do it extraordinarily well and manage to capture an entire story. Scheduling an engagement shoot allows you and your fiancé to get to know the artist behind the lens. Ask them why and how they got involved in photography, what their favorite part of the wedding day is, what inspires them. Although they are providing a professional service, photographers are in the unique position of capturing the most special, most intimate moments of your life and I can assure you that the best ones know just how lucky they are to be doing so. They aren’t signing on for that insane amount of trust and responsibility just to get a paycheck.
My husband and I chose a beach engagement shoot in July – peak summer storm season. The day wasn’t as sunny as I had hoped, in fact, it was the exact opposite. It was cloudy with storms rolling through just a couple hours before we were supposed to leave for the shore.
Our photographers, Jay and Sandi were more than accommodating, offering to reschedule so we didn’t have to get soaked, while simultaneously being up for the challenge if we wanted to carry on. Being the adventurous souls we are, we decided to gamble and the weather was on our side. Jay and Sandi were in the water with us, hanging their zillion dollar cameras over the waves, giving gentle suggestions and running with our ideas. That experience showed us that we picked photographers who had only our best interests at heart while also doing whatever it would take to get amazing photos. Without an engagement shoot, we might have never known just how badass they are! From then on, it was like we were one big happy family and it helped make our wedding day was a breeze. Having that opportunity to get to know the two of them before the wedding was one of the smartest decisions we could have made.
Jay & Sandi have always made building relationships with their clients a priority and it’s a big reason for the massive success they experienced so quickly. As the studio grew and they added more photographers, they made sure that Twisted Oaks clients always felt that they were getting that same experience no matter who the photographer was. It’s pretty common for clients to not only become good friends with their photographers but continue the friendship long after their wedding day.
A good example of one of the closest friendships that Jay and Sandi built with their clients and still have today is Matt & Amy Mahoney. After Jay wrote a blog post (click HERE to read) about their wedding, Matt (the groom) wrote a blog guest blog post about his experience working with Jay & Sandi which you can read HERE.
Believe it or not, the majority of newly engaged couples have very limited experience with having their photo taken by a professional and that alone can be enough to 2nd guess an engagement shoot. You worry about everything from being awkward in front of the camera to not having the slightest clue of what to expect. While skipping engagement photos might seem like the easy way out, imagine your first interaction with your photographer being on your wedding day. Imagine having those same worries in the back of your head wrapped into one big stress ball along with everything else you have to worry about on your wedding day.
A wedding is lively, so full of noise and excitement that it’s hard to listen, take direction, and convey emotion without feeling overwhelmed. An engagement shoot gets you and your fiance comfortable in front of the camera helping to ease those concerns. It also allows the photographer to work with their personal style, comfort level, and sense of adventure to get the very best photos possible. You’ll get to see if the photographer gives good direction that allows your true personalities to come out as well as the love you have for each other at such an important part of your life. If they don’t do a good job of this then you know that it might be time to consider finding a new photographer.
The engagement session is also a great opportunity to build on your relationship with your photographer. Why would you want to do that? It’s actually something most don’t think about, but the more that your photographer knows about you, your fiance, and even your family the easier it will be for them to document those real and candid moments on your wedding day. Building a relationship also helps you feel like you have someone in your corner that you can trust to deliver. A friend with a camera rather than just another vendor showing up on your wedding day that you’re meeting for the first time.
In addition, engagement photos help give an idea of the finished product. Photography is a huge investment, but one that also lasts forever with a tangible representation of your love. Engagement sessions show the quality of work you should expect to receive, which is very reassuring and calming. By the time the wedding rolls around, you and your fiancé will be calm, cool, collected and totally camera ready.
You’re getting married! This is an EXCITING and FUN time in your life! Although the wedding is regarded as the ‘BIG DAY’, your engagement is something that should be celebrated as well. This time period is very fleeting and short-lived compared to marriage. It’s a transitional stage, which is why it’s nice to slow down, hit pause, and capture the little moments from this phase of life. Engagement sessions are the perfect excuse to capture this time of your life with fun photos that come out very different than the ones on your wedding day. It gives your photographer a chance to stretch their creativity and show your personality.
Although wedding dresses and tuxedos are beautiful and elegant, it’s probably unlikely that you wear a ballgown on the weekends or a three-piece suit to watch the game. Engagement sessions give you a chance to incorporate something you both love or a special location that resonates with you. If you’re outdoorsy, pick a great park with interesting trails and foliage. If you’re homebodies, rent a unique AirBnB and capture an epic cuddle session. Aspiring homebrewers? Schedule your engagement shoot at your favorite local brewery. Your love story is unique and your shoot should reflect that!
It’s also a great bonding experience that reinforces your partnership and allows you to focus solely on one another for a bit instead of juggling all of life’s daily distractions. And finally, one of the best things to come from an engagement shoot is obviously the photos! They’re meant to be shared and shown off, so let them serve double duty! Add them to your save-the-dates, get your favorite shot printed on a canvas or in a guestbook, or just share them 100 times on Instagram (and make sure you tag your photographer of course!)
If you were on the fence about an engagement shoot before and have stuck with us to this point, I hope we managed to sway you. My name is Alex and I’m the Twisted Oaks studio manager who was also a wedding client of theirs. I hope you enjoyed this as I’ll be posting more like it going forward. To wrap this article up, here’s an IG post from one of Jay & Sandi’s 2020 clients who had their engagement session at an AirBnB earlier this year in New Hope, PA. The soon to be bride and groom were initially not interested in having engagement photos done. Jay talked them into it and you can read below what she had to say about her experience. Thank you for reading!
I left my house the morning after Christmas in something other than my “nice” sweatpants, boarded a plane for the first time in over a year and spent four days photographing a Utah “COVID” wedding. After spending a few days quarantining and celebrating the new year, the nightmare that was 2020 is officially over. What a bummer.
In early October, we received an email from a soon-to-be bride in Utah named Sariah. Her and her fiance, Jeff, were looking to hire a photographer for their small and intimate “COVID” wedding. She was introduced to my work through her father who is also a Leica photographer and fell in love with our work. I had only been to Utah once before and had been looking for an excuse to go back for the past few years. Under normal circumstances, this would be a no-brainer for me, but yeah, the whole COVID thing made this a little more complicated.
I love to travel. I love the thrill of experiencing new places and meeting new people. It undeniably can get old very quickly when there’s too much but have it taken away completely and it quickly resembles Taco Tuesday after a day of fasting. After multiple trips being canceled, the year that had originally been packed full of travel had been exchanged for a gift-wrapped bag of cabin fever and months of quarantine.
I hadn’t traveled outside of the tri-state area let alone flown anywhere in over a year. There was definitely a level of risk involved, not just for me but for everyone around me. The other thing for me to think about was the timing of the wedding. It would be on December 28th, so I would have to leave Sandi and Luke the morning after Christmas. As much as I missed travel, I would have to leave them behind on this one which was something that I was very hesitant about. One of the reasons that I love traveling so much is that I typically bring them with me. However, this would obviously be different. After talking it over we both agreed, if a positive foundation is what we wanted to build in 2021, this would be the perfect way to end 2020.
The morning after Christmas, I hopped on a packed flight out to Salt Lake City. Rather than flying out and shooting the wedding alone I brought my good friend Matt along to help me out. Being that Matt is a professional cinematographer (Legacy video for the Leica SL2) who has never photographed a wedding, I’m not really sure what I was thinking. Okay, to be fair, Matt knows his way around a camera. Coming from the cinematography side of things I had no doubts that he would be able to help me creatively document the trip and he did just that. Especially, being that Leica provided us with extra gear for the trip, including the new S3 and SL2S.
From the moment that we arrived in Utah until we said our goodbyes late Monday night, we were treated like family. Only hours after landing we were treated to dinner where we spent a few hours really getting to know each other. The relationships that we built within those first two days with the whole family is what made it possible for Matt and I to successfully tell their story.
After spending a day out at Red Rock and Arches National Park with us, Sariah and Jeff got married in front of a small group of family and friends at Sariah’s family home. The weather was just like the day before, overcast and foggy at times with a few bouts of flurries. Even with the mountains being difficult to see at times it was tough to even notice with there being so much of a story to capture. So much emotion. So much love.
The flight home was filled with mixed emotions. As we landed back in Philly to begin quarantining, Matt and I couldn’t have been more grateful for this trip and the new friendships that we made. Ending the year on such a positive note and somewhat feel of normalcy, I was still left feeling like I was eating a bowl of cereal without milk or a nice warm cup of hot chocolate without the marshmallows.
It’s a new year and I refuse to be anything other than optimistic. While there’s so much that I want to forget and leave behind in 2020, there were some extremely valuable life lessons that have changed me forever. I’m sure the same goes for all of you reading this. I spent the past few days welcoming in the new year with Sandi and Luke at home, a place we’ll be saying goodbye to within a few weeks. I’ve stayed off of social media and held off on writing this until today in order to give myself a few days to reflect. The next few months will no doubt be a test but it’s one that I’m ready for.
I hope everyone had a great holiday, cheers to a new year!
“Everything that happens is from now on.” ~ Bon Iver