So I’ve seen an article floating around out there outlining five reasons why you shouldn’t get engagement photos taken. And no, I’m not linking to it because I refuse to give that thing even the tiniest bit of SEO juice. Now, as a photographer I’m aware that I may be biased, but I seriously think there’s value in engagement photos. Here are five reasons why.
1. It’s EXCELLENT practice! Think of an engagement session as practice for the big day. It’s a great chance for you to get to know how your photographer works, poses and directs. It’s also a great chance for your photographer to learn more about you and see how the two of you interact as a couple. Once he or she knows that, it’ll be easier to elicit that natural interaction on your wedding day.
2. You get that beautiful light! The fact of the matter is that all wedding days have timelines, and many times those timelines don’t include portraits during the almighty golden hour. Listen, as photographers, we get it. Your day doesn’t revolve around the light and photos. The day of your engagement photos WILL revolve around the light, though! Your photographer will (hopefully) pick that perfect time of day where the light is gorgeous and flattering. You may think this isn’t a big deal, but it is. Light is a very very big deal.
3. Location, location, location. That wedding day timeline likely won’t allow for you to stop by all of the meaningful places to you and your relationship. It won’t allow you time to trek off into some remote part of the woods for those beautiful nature-esque photos you’ve been yearning for. You know what does allow that? ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS. You can go wherever your heart desires – within reason, of course.
4. You get to make it personal. One of my favorite parts of engagement sessions is making it unique and personal to each couple. I always want to make sure that each session is representative of the couple, their relationship and the things they enjoy doing together. For instance, if you enjoy cooking together, you can have part of your session in your home while cooking breakfast and sipping on coffee. If you enjoy sharing a bottle of wine, pop into a nearby winery for part of your session. If you want to capture a few photos in the location where that infamous first “L” bomb was dropped, you can do that! You have this amazing opportunity to make this session so personal and meaningful to the two of you. It doesn’t have to be inauthentic as the aforementioned article states.
5. It’s not stressful. Your wedding day will be a wonderful day, but it is also a day with nearly three million things to do. And I hate to break it to you, but you’ll likely be running behind at least once on that day. You’ll be preoccupied with wondering if everything is actually going to come together or if you’ll even have time to do pictures once you’re finally ready to go. Engagement photos are not like this. There are no bridesmaids, groomsmen, moms, dads or wedding coordinators to answer to. It’s just the two of you, some really stunning light and a few meaningful locations. There’s no pressure. You’re much more relaxed, and you might even have fun if you find the right photographer.
As I said before, I know I’m biased, but I do think there’s value in engagement photos. You’re only engaged once in your life, and in the whole scheme of things, it’s a very small sliver of your life. So take the opportunity to document who you are in this season of your lives. Do it for yourself, and do it for the generations to come. Do it so that you can pull out that dusty old album years down the road and show your grandchildren your story. Show them the coffee shop on the corner that the two of you would pop into every Saturday morning. Show them the special place that Grandpa popped the question. Show them the first chapter of the unique story that’s about to unfold in your lives. It’s a one-of-a-kind story, and it deserves to be documented in the most beautiful way. It’s the story of YOU.