Many couples wonder if having an engagement session with their wedding photographer is really necessary, especially if they have already had some photos shot by a friend or if the wedding is coming up shortly after they booked their photographer. Today I want to talk about why it is in fact really important and will actually make your wedding day a smoother, more relaxed day.
Your wedding day is a super exciting day, filled with joy and excitement, however, it can also be a day of stress and busyness ( is that even a word?) . Any good wedding photographer’s goal is to make this day as easy as possible so that you as a couple can enjoy the day and relax. The more qualified vendors you hire, the more the details will be off your plate and in the hands of experienced professionals. What does this have to do with an engagement session you might ask? Everything!
Engagement sessions have many purposes and I want to highlight a few wonderful benefits of what can be a really fun time with your photographer.
On your wedding day you will be spending a lot of time with your photographer, and I mean a lot! From getting ready all the way to the reception, your photographer will be with you for most of the day! A huge benefit of an engagement session is that you are meeting, getting comfortable with, and building a friendship with your photographer ahead of time. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve walked into an engagement session with a couple that has a good bit of apprehension on their side about taking photos, only to leave laughing and completely at ease. When this happens, it gets carried over to the wedding day. You now know your photographer a little bit and have established comfort. As a photographer I love showing up to the wedding day already feeling I know the bride and groom well and that’s good news for everyone!
Each photographer and couple approach posing differently. As a wedding professionals, it’s our job to learn how to pose and encourage natural interactions with each couple. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes a challenge depending on the ease that each person feels in front of the camera. During an engagement session some of this can be figured out and by wedding time you both feel comfortable settling into posing or candid moments because you’ve done it already!
3. Wedding Decor
Most every wedding where I’ve shot an engagement session prior has the images from the session displayed at the wedding. You can use your engagement session images for save the dates, invitations, or wedding decor ( most commonly a guest book or canvas to sign). This is a great way to show the fun and joy of your relationship and you can even display them alongside other snapshots you’ve taken throughout the course of your relationship together!
4. Because it’s SO fun!
Last but NOT least, engagement sessions are fun! Creativity can abound here and that brings so much joy. If your wedding is at an upscale venue try an engagement session at the coast or up in the mountains. If your wedding will be in the woods, why not do your engagement session somewhere with dynamic structures or an old building. So much planning and detail goes into wedding planning. let your engagement session just be fun. Laugh, make jokes, enjoy each other and just let that glow go straight on in to your wedding day.
I hope these four reasons why engagement sessions are so important before your wedding day were helpful to you! Even if your camera shy, all the more reason to warm your way into photos by doing an engagement session before your big day.
Congratulations, and I wish each and every couple a joy filled wedding and a beautiful love story as you start your journey together.
I had so much fun putting together this before and after editing video for you guys! As I mention in the video, I love editing videos and poured over them when I first started with photography . While I ultimately had to tweak and figure out my own editing style, watching videos like this really helped me on my journey. I love giving back and offering education to other photographers so I am more than happy to put this out there for anyone who would benefit from it.
Before and After:
This gorgeous La Jolla engagement session has definitely been one of my all time favorites! This sweet couple was SO easy to photograph and it was my greatest joy to photograph them.
I am so looking forward to their wedding in January! Congratulations you two!
This Balboa Park engagement session was a true delight. When I was first contacted by Nicolle, I felt like we instantly connected. Her sweet spirit and attention to detail was evident even in our first emails and when it was decided we would work together I was SO excited!
Their session at Balboa Park was lovely and we had such a good time walking around the park and than finally ending up in the rose and cactus gardens! The night was cloudy at first but as the evening went on we got a beautiful sky as the sun set. It was effortless to get these two laughing and having fun and the very first images I snapped at the water fountain made it look like we had bee shooting all evening. Its was so much fun to watch their love for each other unfold and to capture their sweet personalities together.
I am so looking forward to their wonderful fall wedding coming up and I can’t wait to spend more time with these two soon!
Congratulations you two, wishing you a lifetime of joy as you begin this new part of your journey together!
How to Choose a Wedding Photographer
Choosing your wedding photographer can be a somewhat challenging process and one that brings about a lot of questions. When all is said and done and your wedding is over, pictures are some of the most important heirlooms you have to treasure and pass down. In the current market it can be very overwhelming to see all the wedding photographers and you may wonder just how to go about choosing one. Let’s look at a few simple things that can help you narrow it down to the right choice.
Body of Work:
Obviously, one of the first things you need to consider when your looking is the portfolio and actual photographic work that a photographer produces. As you start to look online or through recommendations spend a lot of time pouring over websites, Instagram and other social media. Does the work speak to you when you see it? Can you picture yourself in the images? Do you notice consistency in editing and quality of work? Does it seem like there is a wide range of uses of light?
In an industry flooded with many photographers it’s important to look for a few things in a photographers work.
- Use of light ( low light, ability to use light to tell a story, use of off camera and on camera flash, consistent light in tough situations)
- Consistency of work throughout portfolio
- Ability to tell a story within the images
- Ability to capture “in between” moments and real emotion
These are just some of many things to look at as you look at someone’s body of work. Ask questions and ask some more and make sure your wedding photographer has a good understanding of how to make an image.
It can’t be said enough that your wedding is one of the most important days in your life. When I first started shooting weddings I refused to do them on my own so I would only second shoot for other photographers. Why? Because I knew that you only have one shot to capture these moments and to miss out or make a careless mistake is something to take very seriously. The more I shot in the industry the more confidence I got, but the attitude of the importance of what I am doing has never left. When you are looking at a photographer make sure to look into their experience and expertise. Ask about education, amount of weddings they have shot and how comfortable they are in their knowledge of things such as: posing family groupings and organizing them, couples posing, difficult lighting situations, owning back up gear, replacements in case of sickness of the photographer on the wedding day, business insurance, etc.
Someone with enough experience will be able to answer those questions with confidence and can put your mind at ease that they know what they are doing.
After all is said and done and you have looked at the portfolio and asked questions about experience, it’s important to feel like you fit with the person you will spend so much time with at your wedding. Each person is a unique individual and will connect with certain personalities. It can be a good idea to start with a phone chat or Skype session and than meet in person if possible. No matter how good someones work is, if you don’t enjoy being around them, you probably want to continue to look elsewhere. Make sure that they mesh well with you as a couple and be sure they are professional yet kind and will be a calm presence for you on your day. Your wedding photographer will quite literally be by your side for most of the day and through very intimate and emotionally charged moments, be sure they will help you and not hinder you on the day of.
Last but not least, the subject of budget. It’s important to get lots of informations on your photographers pricing, not just a static number but also what’s included and compare that to others that you are considering.
I would be remiss if I did not mention again, photography has become a highly saturated market with the invention of the digital camera, making it much easier to break into this business. Do not settle for a low price photographer and not take in to consideration all the things mentioned above. Consider your budget for wedding photography to be of high importance on your list and recognize those that are practically giving it away likely are not in the place to even shoot your wedding. Ask many questions about the process of pricing, deposits, payment plans, what exactly you receive and so forth. Your budget is your decision and a good wedding photographer will guide you through that process and make it as painless as possible.
I hope these tips and tricks will help you on your journey to find a wedding photographer. Whomever you are considering, do it with patience and don’t rush the process, the right fit will find you. Wherever you are, I wish you happiness on your journey to documenting your most special day, and a lifetime of joy together.
Congratulations Amanda and George! Wishing you a beautiful life together and joy on your journey!
Who:Daniel and Joy
Where: The Westgate Plaza. St. Michaels Church, Mt. Woodson Castle
When:August 20th 2018
What: getting ready, church wedding, cocktail hour and reception
This gorgeous wedding day was truly magical from start to finish! The day was an absolutely perfect San Diego day! It started out cloudy as I arrived at the ornate Westgate Place hotel in downtown San Diego! What a perfect place to get ready. The atmosphere was so calm and the bride radiant. I enjoyed capturing both Joy and than Daniel as they prepared for their day. We than headed over to St. Michael’s Church, a stunning place for an afternoon wedding! The rest of the party took place at Mt. Woodson Castle in Ramona, California. It was my first time shooing at Mt. Woodson and I was instantly in love. The entire place is a photographers paradise and we had so much fun during couples photos incorporating their venue and capturing their obvious connection. The reception was full of sweet moments and I welcomed every minute of it.
Some definitely highlights: Joy’s dress was handmade by her sister and it was the most exquisite dress. The bride played piano beautifully and serenaded us all in the lobby at the Westgate. The groom was a wonderful singer and sang to his new bride during their reception! The first dance was to “a tale as old as time” which was absolutely perfect for this wedding day.
Thank you Joy and Daniel for choosing me to capture your day, what a privilege!
What: Engagement session at Mt. Laguna
Who:Katherine and Jesse
When: Sunday, September 30th
Ive known Katherine for many years. I think the first time I met her it was about 6 years ago. She was barely a teenager and from the minute I met her I loved her.
I’m a mom of four kids and for those of you that have kids you know that there us a special joy in knowing someone that loves your kids and treats them like humans. Katherine is such a person. For a time she would come to my house while I homeschooled my older kids and she would watch my littles. She has always shown such love for my oldest daughter and even as she grew older when most teenagers would have thought it wasn’t cool to hang with little kids, she continued to be the same. Fast forward to now. Katherine is a gorgeous, kind, fun, and fabulous young woman. I knew the guy who would snag her would have to be pretty great,
The day of this gorgeous engagement session was cloudy and I was a tad disappointed to have no sun at all, normally I love a cloudy session but Jesse was really hoping for the sun and I do like me some sunlight filtering through pine trees!
From the start I knew Jesse was a winner. Funny and gentle and extremely mature, I was impressed from the get go. We talked about how we wished the sun would come out and as we traipsed through the mountains we started to see evidence of the clouds pouring down rays of light. By the time we were finished we had gorgeous sunlight and this couple was so easy to capture. You can’t fake that stuff guys! It was really me just sitting back and documenting what came so easily to them.
Congratulations sweet Katherine and Jesse. May your marriage be filled with the same joy and laughter that you brought to our session and may you cherish each other in the same way even after one hundred years.