It’s one of the first questions I get when leaving a meeting with a photographer and a new client. “So, what’s this engagement photo session and can we take it out of the package to save money?” Truth is, many photographers I work with used to charge an additional fee for this session, but now it is included in packages by almost everyone. So, what’s the point and why is there very little value is taking it out?
The schpeal I usually give my clients, and it all true, is that an engagement session is not just important for the photographer, as it allows them to see how the two of you interact together and what angles you photograph well from, but it is really good experience for you and your fiance to get in front of the camera and feel comfortable with your shooter. It’s a pretty strange thing to have someone taking your picture all over the place and your wedding day is not the time to experience it for the first time.
Case in point. I realize I have not given you much information about my own wedding since the very beginning. This is due to many reasons only one of which is the fact that my spring has been so busy, my own planning has been on the back burner. My brides always come first. I do however realize now, and am finally ready to embrace the fact that, as one of my favorite early 2008 brides would say “I’m the Bride” and I am so excited about it. (And I’m ready to start talking!) So, back to photography. My fiance and I did an engagement portrait session with our fabulous photographer Justine Ungaro a few weeks ago. We went back to the University of Maryland where we met !*#?! years ago for our session. I know Justine well and feel incredibly comfortable with her, but this was WEIRD! Forget the fact that there were students and tours running around campus. Even when it was just the three of us in some back of the football stadium lot where Justine found a cool wall she just had to photograph us in front of, it was the strangest thing to be in front of a camera, posing and believing it would all come out good in the end. And of course, it did!! Small secret, the best pictures come from the reactions that happen between the actual poses.
So, while it may seem unnecessary and a waste of time to do, the engagement session is an important “trial run”, just like you would do for hair and make up, to get you in front of the camera before the wedding day. Not to mention you can do really fun things with the photos like create a great guest sign in book so you can keep the images in a great way. That’s what I am going to do!