It is autumn, and that means engagement season! A question that comes up a lot early in the booking process is why I offer a free engagement shoot for any couple that books my services for their wedding. Here’s why:
Years ago, I was skeptical about the idea of engagement shoots. I actually thought they were silly and outdated. Out of the blue, one of my couples asked for one, and I thought I’d give it a try. Since that day I’ve been sold on the importance of engagement shoots. Not only do they positively impact my ability to effectively and accurately document your wedding day, they’re fun too!
Your wedding day may the ‘happiest day of your life’, but it also may be one of the most stressful. Add to the mix a stranger snapping pictures of you for ten hours and imagine the added stress. Unless you’re a professional model, you’re probably not used to being photographed in your underwear, while getting your hair done, or while kissing your fiancé. Especially by someone you barely even know. This is why an engagement shoot is important; it lets us get to know each other, and consequently reduces your wedding day ‘photography jitters’ immensely. One of my main goals for your engagement shoot is that you come away from it feeling that you’ve made a new friend, a friend that just happens to be the person you’ve hired to document your wedding day! If this is the case, when I show up on the big day you’ll feel much more comfortable with the constant shutter clicks. Because of the earlier shoot, you’ll be familiar with me, my personality and my shooting style. An added benefit of your increased comfort level with my presence, is that your relaxed attitude will be adopted by your family and wedding party. If you’re happy to see me, and comfortable with being photographed, your wedding party will be
too. You do want everyone to look relaxed and happy in the photos, right? If we’ve never met in person, or only for an initial consultation, you’re going to naturally be more guarded at first. So will your family and friends, its human nature.
Usually, one person in a couple is more comfortable in front of the camera than the other. During the course of our e-shoot I can give you tips and tricks to make being photographed more fun, and less nerve wracking. Perhaps you’re not very good at ‘smiling on command’, or you’re self-conscious about a certain part of your body. During an engagement shoot we can address these issues privately, rather than trying to address them on your wedding day. If you’re not too keen on kissing in front of people, practicing with just me around will make your big wedding day smooch easier. I promise!
Another benefit of the engagement shoot is that you’ll end up with some lovely photos of the two of you, just being you: young, gorgeous and in love! What you use those photos for is up to you. Wedding photos in all your finery are going to be treasured forever, but it’s also nice to have professional photos of yourselves more relaxed and in casual clothing.
Some possible uses for the engagement shoot photos include: guest books, save-the-dates, wedding websites, table decorations, announcements, and even just for Facebook. Heck, you never even have to do anything with them; it’s the process that is most important. Photography is very intimate, it doesn’t matter if you ‘like’ your florist or baker, they’re merely dropping off a product, but I’ll be there all day (and probably well into the night too!), think about that. It’s best to pick a photographer that you like not only for their work, but their personality too.
So, even if you’ve been engaged for ten years, or already have kids, the engagement shoot is still an important aspect of your wedding day. If your fiancé is reluctant to have an e-shoot have them read this. If you want to bring your dog along, you’re welcome to do that too. The process is very simple, we just walk around town (usually Portland’s Old Port or Portsmouth, New Hampshire), chat, take some pictures, you guys kiss a lot, we go to know each other and we’re done. I promise you’ll have fun, even if it’s a bit your of your comfort zone.
Feel free to suggest a topic for my next article, or if you’re a client of mine, feel free to chime in on your experience with your e-shoot.
All content copyright 2014 © Alexandra Daley-Clark