If you frequently follow my blog, you’ll notice that often speak of the term ‘return of investment’ when referring to hiring a wedding photographer or deciding on a certain package. Return of investment is a nice way of saying ‘getting the most bang for your buck’. When it comes to your wedding day photos, one of the best ways to help ensure a strong return on your investment is to work with your photographer before the wedding day!
Shooting an engagement session with your photographer prior to your wedding day has several benefits:
- Working together before the wedding day allows you to get to know them better; to develop a rapport. If you’re stressed and nervous on your wedding day, you’ll be glad to have people surrounding you with whom you’ve established a rapport, and not perfect strangers.
- Most are quite shy when there’s a camera around. The more time you spend infront of the camera, the more likely it is that you’ll be more open and relaxed during the wedding day shoot.
- Very few brides and grooms have had modeling experience and are not accustomed to being posed. Experiencing how your photographer works, first hand, will help you relax and result in more natural photos.
- You can do a hair and makeup trial before the engagement session; this will allow you to assess how your hair and makeup will look in your wedding photos!
- Decorating your cocktail hour with photos from your engagement session adds a personal and artistic touch to your wedding day decor.
- It allows you to use a location that you may not have access to on your wedding day. Some brides and grooms have their heart set on photos in a certain park/location, but due to the logistics of a wedding day, they simply don’t have the time to make it there for photos. Taking their engagement photos there is a great way to use an important location without causing a needless disruption on the wedding day.
- It allows you to test-run a photo location before the wedding day. Some brides and grooms aren’t sure exactly where they want their wedding photos taken; using the location for engagement photos will help determine whether you love that spot and want to be there on your wedding day or whether you want to keep shopping around. (A real life example of this: a bride and groom wanted a beachy boardwalk wedding day session but were concerned that it would be too windy that close to the water. We shot the engagement session there as a test; the wind wasn’t an issue – the boardwalk itself was! The bride’s heels kept getting stuck in the cracks of the boardwalk and she ultimately decided to choose a different location for the wedding day due to this!)
While some photographers charge extra for an engagement session, I believe it’s a crucial part of establishing my relationship with a client which is why I always include them as a complimentary bonus. There are so many advantages to scheduling an engagement session with your photographer; why would you give up the chance to have such a great experience?