The main purpose of the engagement session for me (and the reason why they're a permanent part of my wedding packages) is to get my clients comfortable in front of the camera.
The engagement session is a warm up for the wedding day. It's the perfect opportunity for a couple who most likely hasn't been professionally photographed before to get their feet wet and not feel super awkward in front of the camera.
When I start an engagement session, I give my clients an easy pose in front of a simple background. I know that the photos I take during the first 5 minutes or so are going to feel a bit awkward and look a bit staged. That's totally natural, because most people are used to taking selfies, not professional portraits. Once they're feeling more confident, we can move on to that really cute spot and try some different poses.
The engagement session gives me a chance to see how my couple prefers to be posed. Do they need a lot of direction? Do they prefer to just cuddle? Do they need reminders to stand up straight or to relax their hands? (Next time we see each other, ask me about spatula hands!) How do they interact? How does their height difference work with posing? (A lot of poses work best with certain height ratios, so the engagement session gives us a chance to work out which poses work best for a particular couple.)
When the couple is comfortable in front of the camera and I know what direction they need from me and what poses work best for them, we can fly through wedding day portraits! And we don't have a lot of time on the wedding day. It's very unusual for me to get any more than 30 minutes for bride and groom portraits, so we don't have time for a warm up. We have to dive right in! Like I tell my clients during their consultation, "You don't want me to show up on the wedding day and put a camera in your face for the first time!"
It's non uncommon for couples to tell me during their consultation that they're not interested in doing an engagement session. But as soon as I explain the reasons behind the session and how it affects the wedding day, they realize that the engagement session is exactly what they need! After doing an engagement session, we can go into wedding day portraits with confidence, because they know what to expect from me and I know what will work best for them!
Want to read more tips for your engagement session?
Choosing a Location
My Favorite Hampton Roads Locations
What To Wear
What Not to Wear
Shopping for an Engagement Session Dress
What Happens if it Rains
Getting to Know Your Photographer
How I Chose My Outfits
10 Final Tips