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Photography Basics

Why Should We Take Engagement Photos?

Photo: Geoff White Photographers

There are many reasons it is important to take engagement photos once you have become engaged.  An engagement session with your photographer is without a doubt one of the greatest services you and your fiancé can take advantage of prior to your wedding. As a couple who likely has never been photographed professionally before, the engagement session is a valuable tool every couple should utilize or insist upon.  Some couples may feel it’s a waste of time or is not necessary, however there are many valuable reasons why you will benefit from utilizing this opportunity.

First make sure you choose your wedding photographer, once you have done so, go get your engagement pictures taken right away. The closer you get to your wedding the less time you find you have to accomplish all that needs to get done. Make sure if possible to use the photographer who will be photographing your wedding. This is the first and probably the most important reason to get your engagement pictures taken.

Establishing a relationship with your photographer long before your wedding will make a difference in the outcome of your wedding images.
I spend about an hour or two with my couples watching them, listening to them, having fun with them, getting to know them, and photographing them all at the same time.
I take note of how they interact with each other, their individual personalities, and even their quirks. These mental notes, along with many other conches and subliminal thoughts help me to capture and photograph images on the wedding day that are unique to that couple.

Have your engagement photos taken at a location that is important or that has some meaning to the two of you. This could be a place you got engaged or a first date, it could be at a place you both like to spend time, or something you like to do together such as a shared interest. Here are some locations where my clients have taken me. To their hometowns, the college where they met, a favorite restaurant or bar, a museum, the zoo, a movie theater, or as simple as the home where they live.

The benefit for you is, your images will mean more to you than if your photographer took you to the park and snapped a few pictures. You might also feel more at ease in an environment you are familiar with. The other benefit is you get to know your photographer and see how he or she works and you will get to see images of yourselves long before the wedding.

The advantage of this is that you can let your photographer know ahead of time if there are shots or angles you do not care for, also you can let your photographer know the things that you do like, communication is key.

Another thing you might want to think of doing is having your hair and makeup test done on the same day as your engagement session. This way you get to see how your hair and make look in photos and you can let your hail and makeup people know if there is anything you would like to change.

I can promise you once you see your engagement images and you are excited about them, you will have more confidence in yourselves and in your photographer. On the wedding day you will look forward to having your picture taken, instead of dreading the thought of having a camera pointed at you all day.

Once you have your engagement images there are many things you can do with them. They can be given, as gifts to the family, parents especially always appreciate photographs of their children. You can make a small album or a coffee table box for yourselves. Most of my clients order some sort of wall collage or portrait to hang on the wall in their new home. I find my couples would rather have an engagement image on their wall instead of one in their wedding attire, however some do both. We all have individual tastes so there is no right or wrong.

You can send an engagement picture to your hometown newspaper to announce your marriage. This is usually important to your parents. They may be used in your wedding program, invitation, or in a save-the-date card. My wife and I used our engagement picture to make save-the-date magnets. I still walk in to friends' homes and see our faces on people’s refrigerator, it was a big hit.

If you do choose to self publish your engagement images, make sure to get permission from your photographer. The images rights belong to the photographer, you might even have to compensate him or her for the usage.  Depending on how you intend to use them, most photographers will let you publish as long as you just ask and give them a credit.

Whatever you choose to do, I encourage you to get creative, go out with your photographer, have some fun and create some art. In the end you are the ones who win.  On the wedding day there is lots to think about.  Knowing and liking your vendors, especially the photographer, is significant in the success of your wedding and will help keep you focused on the real reason you are having a wedding in the first place, each other.

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