Engagement Photos: Do I Really Need Them?

Engagement sessions rank as “absolutely crucial” in my books. However, some people might not quite understand what the purpose and benefits of engagement photo sessions are, when to have these taken, or what the associated costs may be.

Hopefully, these basic answers will help to shed a little bit of light on the topic!

Why would we want to have an engagement photo session?

This is an easy one! Let’s refer to the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. You’re in love, you just got engaged, you’re over-the-moon happy – why not have this important time in your life captured on camera?

Besides the obvious memorabilia bonus, engagement photos are an added resource to your wedding planning arsenal. You’ll have beautiful, professional-quality photos on hand that you can use in your Save the Dates, on your wedding details website, and for decor at your wedding. Some ideas: have a photo guestbook created using your engagement images with white space for your guests to write on. Blow up your favorite photo of the two of you and have your guests sign around the matting, then later hang it up in your home. Display the photos on a projector slideshow during your wedding. Shall we go on? There are so many fun, creative and memorable possibilities!

Also, if you’re having a themed wedding (think: nautical destination wedding, soft and nostalgic vintage wedding, black-tie formal event wedding, etc.) your engagement photos are a perfect place to introduce the theme to your friends and family. By choosing clothing, a setting, and maybe even props during your photo sessions, you can tie in your theme and colors and display it visually to those that will be attending the actual event.

When should we have the photos taken?

This is completely up to the two of you, your vision for the photos, and their intended use!

Do you have a particular season in mind you’d like the photos to be taken during?

Is there a particular activity the two of you enjoy together that can only take place during a certain season (ie. skiing in the winter, going boating in the summer)?

Are you hoping to have the photos ready in time to use when you order your Save The Dates?

Remember that most photographers require at least a couple of weeks to prepare and return the edited photos to you – keep this in mind when scheduling your session!

How much do engagement photos cost?

Obviously this is going to vary from photographer to photographer. As a very loose general starting point, most photographers I’m aware of charge roughly $500-$700 for engagement sessions. This usually includes a 1 to 2-hour shooting time, at least two outfit changes, and approximately 30 edited images returned to you either via disc, USB stick or online gallery.

Many photographers also include a free engagement session if you pre-book their services for your actual wedding day. This is great because you’re able to get to know the photographer ahead of time and reach a deeper comfort level with them by the day of your wedding.

As well, many photographers also “package” their engagement sessions into different tiers usually including: images only, images + album, images + album + other assorted prints, etc.

How do we choose the right photographer?

This will no doubt require some research on your end! Luckily, photography is a profession that basically screams the need for an online public portfolio.

Google is your best friend when it comes to searching for “engagement photographer, __________ (your city here)”. Check out a good handful of websites belonging to photographers in your area.

Review their portfolio photos – these are “the best of the best” and “the cream of the crop” of their photographs that they carefully select to display on their website for potential clients to see.

Also, many photographers now create photography blogs where they post about each photo shoot as they happen. The benefit of reading the blogs are that many, many photos from the past sessions are usually featured, unlike portfolios which usually only feature the one best photograph from each session.

Find a few different photographers whose style you fancy and contact them to describe your vision and see if they are a match!

Do you have any other questions, advice or tips when it comes to engagement sessions? Did you have engagement photos done? How was your experience? I’d love to hear from you!

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