My base wedding package always includes engagement photos — there’s no discount for skipping an engagement session. Many couples mention that they don’t know if they really want or need engagement photos, especially if they’ve been engaged for a while.
On the other hand, I also speak with some couples who have specific purposes in mind for the photos from their engagement session (also called an e-session), such as:
• Engagement announcement in the newspaper
• To use on a wedsite
• As a part of a mailed engagement announcement or save-the-date
• To use on wedding invitations
• For custom reception items, like wine or water bottles
• As part of a photo slideshow to be shown during the reception
• For use on thank you cards, or on personalized stamps through Canada Post
Even though many couples don’t need or want photos for any of the above, I still always recommend having an engagement photo session prior to the wedding. Think of it this way — your wedding photographer is going to be very close at hand, and a significant part of one of the most important days of your lives.
If you’re getting your hair done for your wedding, most stylists get you to come in for a hair or makeup trial run, to eliminate any problems the day of your wedding. Most brides and grooms will go in for multiple dress and tux fittings. Wedding photography is important, an it also deserves some preparation — think of engagement sessions like that. They’re a practice run for both the photographer and the couple.
There is enough stress and new things happening on a wedding day. Having been through an engagement session allows you to welcome your photographer back as a trusted vendor on the big day, and to get used to each other.
I also believe it results in more natural, relaxed wedding photos, having had the experience of the engagement session. Wouldn’t you rather get any awkwardness you might be feeling about being in front of a camera out of the way with the engagement photos? Especially if you don’t have anything important planned for them! In that case, there’s really no risk, just an hour of your time to run around outside with the one you love.
The e-session really allows me to know what you are like to photograph, and takes away that element of uncertainty for me, too.
Remember, there is no rule about when to get engagement photos. You don’t have to do them immediately after you get engaged, anytime during the engagement is appropriate! Heck, you could do them a week before the wedding, if you wanted to. There’s no rule. When my husband and I had our engagement photos done, we had been engaged for five months. But we thought the Calgary fall colours would be the nicest time to have portraits done. And I’m so happy we did them.
I urge all of my clients to go for the engagement photos. Since they are included, they don’t earn me any extra money, and I’m not trying to push an unneeded sale. But I do feel strongly that they are an important part of my wedding photography package, and as your photographer, it’s something I advocate to ensure a bride and groom get the most value out of the investment they are making.