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Ask a photographer

Q:  Is it necessary to do an engagement shoot?

While I would never make an engagement shoot mandatory, I do always recommend doing one.  Many photographers these days are including engagement sessions in one or all of their packages, because an engagement shoot benefits both the couple and the photographer.  I always say couples should view it as a dress rehearsal for their wedding day portraits!

Most people are not comfortable in front of the camera and there are a lot of factors that can contribute to that.  It is not very often that we see ourselves in professional level photographs, where knowledge of lighting, composition and angles exists.  The more we see poorly taken photos of ourselves, the more we convince ourselves we are unphotogenic, which I believe is never true!  Doing an engagement session allows you to practice being in front of the camera, learning what works for you and what doesn’t.  In return, you will feel more comfortable in the hands of your photographer and in front of the lens.  Often after receiving their engagement photos, the same client who ‘hates being photographed’ or is ‘unphotogenic’ will know exactly how they want to pose and what type of shots they would like to replicate on their wedding day without any input from me – it’s awesome!

Personally though, my favorite part about doing an engagement session is that I get to hang out with my clients before their wedding!  It’s an invaluable opportunity to get to know one another and build a rapport that will help the photography on your wedding day run more smoothly.  Aside from learning your photographer’s approach to shooting, you learn about who they are as person and they get to learn the same about you, building a level of trust and friendship.  The ice is broken!

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