With the holidays being such a whirlwind of celebration, rich foods, gift-giving and quality time with family and friends, it’s also a popular time for “popping the question”! While it is important to take some time in the coming weeks to simply let yourself be excited and thrilled for your engagement, it won’t take long before you start turning to the planning process and engagement photos are a big part of that. Engagement photos can be helpful for many reasons - they’re fun, they get you as a coupe thinking about what you’d like your wedding photos to look like and they can provide imagery that perfectly tells your story and looks good on a “save the date” or printed and framed and used as accents throughout your wedding decor, too!
While there are many wonderful photographers that are available to you, it’s important to start thinking about how to set yourself up for your perfect engagement photos and, in the process, set yourself up for perfect photos of your wedding day. You’ll most likely find that some of your hobbyist photographer friends and family will offer up a opportunity to gift you some engagement photography, while this is a kind gesture it is important to understand the many benefits of having the same photographer shoot both your engagement photos and your wedding photos and here are 5 reasons why:
1. Spending time with your wedding photographer can be a important investment.
It’s not like you’re getting married to your photographer or anything, but they definitely are a big part of your wedding day and you’ll find that you have to spend a lot of your day with him/her. Having a extra couple of hours to spend with the photographer to understand how they work and their personality can ensure you are all the more relaxed when being photographed by them on your wedding day. Local wedding photographer Melissa Miksch summed it up nicely when she said, “It gives us a chance to see how you behave on the other side of the camera. So we get to know a bit more about what makes you laugh, what makes you uncomfortable, and how to best work with you as an individual. That gives us the power to be our most successful on the wedding day, and puts you at ease because you've done this already.”
Your wedding should be fun and energized and your vendors can be a big part of that! Finding someone that is fun to be around and easy going can go a long ways. Let’s face it, most of us are not models and can often times be uncomfortable in front of a camera, spending that extra time with your wedding photographer can ensure that you are a bit more at ease with him/her when they do show up on your wedding day.
2. As a worst case scenario, it gives you a chance to find another wedding photographer
While most photographers are professional and very good at what they do, that doesn’t mean all photographers are the right fit for you. If for some unfortunate reason you do find that your engagement photographer is flaky, difficult to work with, take photos that you don’t enjoy or don’t deliver on what they said that they would - you should always have the option of going a different direction. To ensure you’re relaxed and ready for a fun shoot, you don’t necessarily want to enter the engagement session viewing it as a interview. It is, however, a chance to see how well your photographer communicates and follows through with what they said they were going to deliver.
3. It allows your photographer to gain a sense for your comfort zones and what kinds of poses work for you two as a couple
We all have “bubbles” and a comfort zone and it most definitely comes into play when we’re in front of a camera. Having extra time to develop a understanding of what your comfort zones are can be beneficial to everyone involved - some poses work for one couple that don’t work for others. Comfort zones as well as the height difference between the couple can play a role in what kinds of poses the couple feel comfortable in and the two of you want to feel at ease and comfortable in these poses. While many couples are no stranger to taking the occasional “selfie”, it’s common that most couples most likely haven’t had professional photos taken before. Giving this opportunity to your wedding photographer will ensure that your photographer will have a deeper understanding of what you as a couple are comfortable with when it comes to photography.
Photos by Jeff+Rebecca Photography
4. It gives you a opportunity to give/receive feedback to your photographer based on the engagement photos you get in return
Now the time has come for you to preview all of your engagement photos. Have fun and enjoy this process! Curl up with your fiancee and look through everything and discuss what your favorites are and which ones you don’t think represent you as a couple. This process can be very fun for a couple and with that information you can go to your photographer and provide your insights as to what you thought worked/didn’t work. Don’t hesitate or feel guilty about providing constructive criticism to your photographer. If there’s something you didn’t like make sure to provide a explanation on what about the image or pose you didn’t like and what you thought would have worked better, your wedding photographer should understand that, while you probably haven’t worked together before, you still have preferences and input on what you would like your final wedding images to look like. It’s also important to understand that each photographer has his/her own style and that very well may find it’s way into your images, making it important to thoroughly go through any potential photographer’s portfolio before booking a session.
5. It gives your time to talk about what to expect for photography on your wedding day
Many photographers will discuss what to expect on the wedding day while you’re spending time together, this goes for the engagement shoot as well. While the engagement shoot will mostly be about you guys and having fun together for your shoot, your photographer may provide some helpful insights as to what to expect during your wedding day. Your photographer has most likely photographed many weddings before and will have a depth of experience to pass onto you to ensure your big day goes as smoothly as possible. Also, if either of you have any questions or need any clarification on what to expect, your engagement shoot can be a perfect opportunity to ask questions that come up.
While these reasons are a recommendation and worth considering, the most important thing to remember when you go out for your engagement shoot is to have fun! This is a time to celebrate your engagement and the love you share as a couple and, with that being the most important thing, don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re going out to capture loving images of the person you care about most in the world! Enjoy your engagement session!
Jon Kaplan is the lead photographer and owner of Jon Kaplan Photography. Jon Kaplan is based out of the city of Snohomish and has worked as a full-time photographer all over the Pacific Northwest the last 5 years.