Part of being a professional wedding photographer, and photographing weddings, is the opportunity to photograph engagement sessions. These sessions are always important to me because, where possible, I like to spend time with a couple before their wedding day to learn more about them and make them at ease in front of the camera.
It gives me a chance to see if they are nervous in front of the camera or more natural. I can see if they like being posed or respond better to a more casual photojournalistic style of wedding photography. It also gives the couple a chance to begin to get used to having a photographer around taking lots of pictures. For may people this is a unique occurrence, even if they like having their photograph taken. Many couples do not realize that a portrait session can be tiring for all those involved so it’s a good insight into what a photography session on wedding might be like.
Here are some tips to help couples get great engagement photographs.
Make sure to have a game plan when it comes to your engagement photographs. You should discuss this with your photographer prior to the actual day of the session. Make sure to have several alternatives. It is always better to have more choices. The best times to photograph are early and late in the day and you will only have a small window of great light.
The engagement session should be a calm affair. If you hire the right photographer you can relax, knowing that you are going to get great images and have great memories preserved. Spend the extra money to hire someone who is good. It will pay off in the long run.
3. Have fun
This goes hand in hand with being relaxed. Don’t forget to have fun during the photography session. In fact I prefer more of the documentary style and do not like to pose or stage my couples. I want them to be as natural as possible, have fun, and show their love for one another. So leave any serious conversations behind and really enjoy yourselves.
4. Be yourself
I am never happy with photographs that do not show the true individual, the real people. Just be yourself. It is fine to become something for a photography session, but I think that the best value lies in the true individual. It is part of that fun, relaxed thing that I mentioned before. People should be real and approachable. If you want to do a high fashion shoot then invest in a separate photography session for that.
5. Know your style
Knowing your personal style, your likes and dislikes, and telling the photographer, will make your images better because they will resonate with you more. Let you photographer know if you are really into the beach or country look, alternative scene, or want an urban feel. This will really feed into the choice of locations and could even influence which photographer you choose.
On the flip side I do not recommend that a photographer take on a style that they either do not like or are not feeling. Forced photographs from either the subject or the photographer will always look forced, so be honest and open.
These tips should help your engagement photography session go smoother and help you to have great images and a great experience. Don’t discount the importance of engagement photographs. They are not just important for their memory-value, but they will make your wedding photographs better and more relaxed.