Couples are always weighing whether or not they need engagement photos, especially when they're already paying the big bucks for gorgeous wedding day portraits. I mean, how many photos of yourself do you need? I'll counter that question with another - when's the last time you had professional photos made of yourself? Senior year of high school? Headshots for work? As we age, the photo friendly milestones in life get further and further apart. Few couples will choose to just randomly have portraits done prior to getting married and often they won't have photos done again until well after starting a family. Of course, selfies and cell phone candids help fill those gaps, but having high quality photos of yourself and your partner to look back on in 5-10-20 years is an emotional investment that will grow with age. As totally smokin hot and gorgeous as you'll look on your wedding day, it's nice to have photos that show you as you are in the day to day, not just done up to eleven.
In a more practical sense, your engagement photos are also a great practice run leading up to the wedding day, which can be especially useful for folk who consider themselves "unphotogenic" or "awkward" - I put these in quotes because the couples who claim to be awkward are legitimately always a joy to photograph and usually make for my favorite candids. If you're booking with me or any other photographer, opting for an engagement session can help ease your nerves going into the wedding day because you've gotten to move through a session with a pro and you can come out the other side knowing what you do and don't like, the kinds of poses and prompts you prefer, and you can get to know your photographer a little better before the big day.
When planning your engagement session, you have a few options for making sure your engagement photos are unique and fun. Talk to your photographer about your hobbies, interests and the things you like to do as a couple. If you're coffee shop fanatics, find a cute local shop that photographs well (heck, you might be able to swing a free drink if you need a prop for a ring shot!). If you're adventure junkies, see how willing your photog is to hoof it to a cool location like a waterfall or overlook. You can use your engagement session to show a special location that means a lot to you as a couple, but isn't practical to include in the wedding day itself - the family farm, your new home, the location of your first date. The options are truly endless. Even if the location isn't special to you, the addition of props, pets, or even costumes can take your photoshoot from a fun outing to a time capsule you'll be able to look back on forever.
Some quick tips for great engagement photos -
Bring two outfits - a formal and informal look. Check your outfits with your photographer - they'll know whether or not your wardrobe might clash with the scenery at the location of the shoot - try to steer clear of busy and bold patterns and colors - you want to be the star of the show, not your kooky hawaiian bowling shirt.
Bring a speaker to play a playlist of your favorite songs - it'll help you loosen up to boogie a little between poses.
Wear shoes that are practical for the location you're shooting at.
Don't stress! This is a low stakes fun time for both of you! Laugh, snuggle, reconnect, and let your love show!
If a pose isn't your thing - let your photographer know! A little discomfort and communication at the engagement shoot is going to be a whole lot better than stress and discomfort on the wedding day.
HAVE FUN WITH EACH OTHER. Treat it like a little date and make a plan to go out for dinner, drinks or ice cream after the shoot. Celebrate marking another item off the wedding day to-do list.
Engagement sessions obviously aren't a total necessity but they are the best way to get to know your photographer, get familiar with getting your picture made as a couple, and remember and celebrate who you are as you get ready to get married. Even if you aren't planning to use them for any wedding adjacent applications - have photos made to celebrate yourselves. Celebrate finding one another. Celebrate being in love. That's it. That's my soapbox. Thanks for reading!