There are a lot of reasons to take engagement photos – I mean, just look at the Google search results! Clearly, people have a lot of opinions on the matter!
Here’s the problem with a lot of those articles – especially the ones sponsored by big weddings blogs… they’re so generic. They’re palatable and easy to read and don’t rock any boats. They usually start with things like “…tell your story!” and you know what? That’s how all photography works. Photography inherently tells stories so you don’t really need to list that, do you?
I think there are some practical reasons to take engagement photos and while not all these reasons may be popular, I think they’re the most important.
Reasons to Take Engagement Photos
…without the palatable B.S. from traditional wedding blogs…
#1: Journeys of self-acceptance and body positivity
I strive to be a body-positive wedding photographer but you know what? I’m still on that journey myself too and I’m all to aware of how much work it takes. The journey of love and self-acceptance – whether you opt for body positivity or body neutrality – is one that each of us are on and is truly unique to our own lived experiences.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for some folks to see their engagement photos and become critical of their appearance. It has nothing to do with the quality of photos or variety of images received – it’s just something that a lot of people experience with varying degrees of intensity. Why does this happen? We live in a world where we take 30 selfies and carefully select the one that’s taken precisely at the correct angle and then we face-tune the ever-living crap out of it before posting it to social media. The way we manipulate our own personal photos is drastically changing how people perceive themselves so when you’re shown a gallery of engagement photos that is truly your authentic, unaltered self some folks can become very self-critical.
If you take engagement photos before your wedding day, you’re providing yourself the opportunity to experience what professional photography is like – not only on the day of the shoot but the emotions associated with receiving a full gallery of finished images. If you find these authentic, non-face-tuned images difficult to love, you can use that opportunity to work on your self-acceptance and self-love journey prior to your wedding day.
#2 – Figure out if your photographer is as good as their portfolio
Wedding photography is a world of “fake it ’til you make it” and each and every year there’s a huge influx of new talent that sweeps in, showcases a handful of good photos, sets low prices and books their year up. The thing is though, highly curated portfolios are one of the worst things a client can use to judge the abilities of their photographer. If a photographer is only showing you the top 1% or even the top 10% of their work, that still leaves 90-99% of their work in the “mediocre” pile.
If you’re not in love with your engagement photos and you feel like they don’t reflect the quality of images that you saw in your photographer’s portfolio at the time of booking – it’s time to get a new photographer!
It’s not uncommon for a certain percentage of clients to fire their photographer after their engagement session because they realized that ultimately, they’re not a good match (or worse, they were bamboozled by an overly-curated portfolio!) When it comes to reasons to take engagement photos, consider it an opportunity to dodge a bullet! After all, engagement photos can be re-taken, but weddings aren’t repeatable.
#3 – Do something that’s impossible on the wedding day
A lot of couples have grandiose dreams for their wedding day photos and then end up having to sacrifice on some of that either because of weather or because of practical reasons. Maybe you absolutely adore a certain hiking trail or would do anything for sunset photos with the Toronto skyline in it – but if you’re getting married in the middle of the city you can’t always justify the travel time or schedule alterations that these big ideas can have.
…and yeah, I get it – wedding blogs are meant to sell you the “dream”. They’re designed to make you feel like anything and everything is possible on a wedding day, but truthfully that’s not always the case. Sometimes we can’t have the impossible…
…so we do the next best thing! We make it possible – just not on our wedding day. Another reason to take engagement photos is to make the impossible possible!