So engagement sessions help a couple get comfortable in front of the camera, but why else are they important?
It's a trial run with your photographer. It's a start-to-finish run through of the photography process. In a way that's not as crucial and high-stress as your wedding. You can always have an engagement session do-over.
What am I talking about?
I'm talking about getting to know and trust your photographer. How fast does she email back? How well does she prepare you for the session? How comfortable do you feel around her? How quickly do you receive your images? Do you love them? Do you receive what you expected and what you were promised?
I think a lot of brides and grooms choose their wedding photographer based on the images they see in a portfolio gallery. Which they should! But there is a whole lot more to the photography experience than just the final outcome.
Let's consider a worst case scenario:
A bride and groom choose an irresponsible photographer who doesn't answer emails often and can't deliver on the quality of images displayed on his or her website. They might not discover these issues before the wedding day because they haven't planned an engagement session. They haven't really contacted the photographer since they booked. Until a couple week's before the wedding when they have a few timeline questions. And their emails go unanswered for two weeks. Cue freak out! (Trust me, I know what this feels like! I had to find another baker just a few months before our wedding, because I never heard back from the one I originally booked.)
But let's look at the same scenario with the couple doing an engagement session:
The couple has trouble nailing down their engagement session date and time because their photographer doesn't email them back much. They arrive to the session and the photographer is 15 minutes late. He seems frazzled and doesn't give them much posing direction. Then they don't hear from him for two more months until he sends them 10 images through email and they don't look anything like the photos on his website.
That's rough. BUT it's still 6 months before the wedding. So they still have time to find another photographer.
Now this is definitely a worst case scenario. Most wedding photographers are not like that. They are in the industry because they truly love capturing a beautiful bride and groom that are super in love and they behave professionally.
Their posing style - Are they hands on? Do they mirror the pose for you?)
Their shooting style - Do they use a variety of closeups and wide angle shots? Are you moving around a lot or just using one basic backdrop area? Do they shoot at a wide aperture to get bokeh?
Their editing style - Light and bright? Moody? Heavily black and white? Subdued color? Vintage?
Everyone's style is different. And that's not a bad thing. But if it's not what a bride and groom personally likes, they have the opportunity to do something about it.
So even if a couple doesn't need engagement photos for their save the date cards, they can still benefit greatly from doing an engagement session with their wedding photographer.