With wedding season fast approaching, I’m finding my calendar full of e-sessions. HOORAY! I la-la-love having this time with my couples before their wedding day. Because beautiful weather is just around the corner, I’ve been receiving more and more emails with requests from couples looking for JUST as engagement session- maybe because their wedding is still a year away and don’t want to decide on their photographer yet, maybe because they don’t have a wedding date yet, etc. Whatever the reason may be, my answer for JUST an engagement session is always a gentle “no.”
It’s not because I’m being a snob- it’s for THEIR benefit, and I always make sure to explain it as such! I’ve found that the best wedding photography experiences come when my couples and I have the chance to get to know each other prior to their wedding- we learn more about each other as people, I learn how they feel in front of my lens, and they get a feel for my shooting/posing style. I really treasure that time with my brides and grooms- it’s part of what helps foster the friendships that I LOVE having with my couples. And having that relaxed, non-rushed time together makes it so that when the wedding day portraits come around, my couples are already pros. Why is that important? Because if the timeline gets crunched, as it sometimes does, and instead of the glorious hour we schedule for bride & groom portraits I somehow find myself with 8 minutes? My bride and groom already know what to expect, I know which poses work best for them, and we can jump right in.
I always tell my brides and grooms at the beginning of any e-session that the first 20 minutes are going to be awkward, and that it’s totally fine! That they’re just getting used to me, I’m getting my settings adjusted, and as they’re not professional models, I don’t expect them to know what to do without a bit of direction from me. Now imagine if we skipped an engagement session, or a bride & groom did an e-session with someone else, and then their wedding portraits are crunched to a 25 minutes? The first 15-20 would be spent “warming up,” and just when the couple is hitting their stride, we have to stop. Cue: Darth Vader-esque “NOOOOOOO!”
In the same way that I really value that time with my clients, I don’t want to take away the engagement experience from another photographer. If a couple emails me for an e-session but has already booked their wedding photographer, I strongly encourage them to schedule engagement photos with the photographer they’re entrusting their wedding images with. Having that experience with whomever is shooting your wedding is important!
What about you all? If you did an engagement session with your photographer, did you feel like doing so made for better wedding day portraits?