I'm currently sitting in my dorm room, watching the sleet fall, and hoping classes get cancelled tomorrow. So in lieu of studying, I'm thinking about photography things. (Side note: I'm pretty sure artists/creatives' brains don't ever stop thinking about their craft.) I think a lot about the wedding packages that I offer, how I could offer something differently, and what I can do to get the best images possible from a wedding day. Through my experiences over the past 2 years with weddings, I have concluded one thing that helps with the smoothness of the wedding day and the images I'm able to capture.
An engagement session with your photographer.
Disclaimer: Please know that this is NOT an attempt to just book more sessions. This is NOT pointed at any past, present, or future client. This is a post to help educate brides, mine or another photographer's, with some knowledge I've acquired from photographing weddings. :)
Because of the current trend to make every online article a list of "X number of Reasons Why XYZ", I've decided to follow suit and post my 5 reasons why booking an engagement session with your wedding photographer will make your wedding photography experience the best it can be.
1. You get a trial run with your photographer.
In some ways, the engagement session is a trial run for your wedding. You get to see know your photographer in person rather than just via email. You get to see how your personalities mesh. You get to see how the session goes overall and if you enjoyed working with that photographer.
2. After an engagement session, you will TRUST your photographer.
You've probably booked the photographer's services eagerly. But then you and your fiancé show up to the engagement session nervous and uneasy. It is your photographer's job to put you at ease and get you to relax in front of the camera. Most people haven't had lots of professional pictures taken, especially romantic photos of affection. And that's perfectly normal to be a little uneasy! Even after your photographer has gotten you to warm up to the camera, there is always a twinge of uncertainty until you have seen the pictures.
In my experience, the dynamic of the relationship between the couple and me changes immediately once the couple receives their photos. The difference is now the couple now trusts me. They now know what it's like to be in front of my camera.
Each photographer creates a different experience at their sessions, and until you have shot with your photographer, you won't know what it's like. After an engagement session, my clients know how I shoot, and how their pictures turned out. Then they instill trust in me. They see the results of their session, and they have faith that I will take care of everything else the day of the wedding. My most favorite comment is when a bride has worked with me prior to the wedding and then on the wedding day says "I'm not even worried about pictures at all. I don't have to think about it because I know you'll take care of it all." That. Is. HUGE. When a bride says she's not even thinking of the pictures and can enjoy her day, it's clear there's been a deep trust formed with her photographer.
3. There will be consistency in your images.
Each photographer has a unique style. Sometimes you can't place a finger on exactly what it is about a photographer's style, but you either like it or love it or maybe prefer something a little different. If you look, there will be someone whose style you love and whose photographs take your breath away. Book that photographer. If you're so passionate about your wedding photos looking that way, it only makes sense to want your engagements to match. It is really great if someone has offered to take your engagement photos, but will they match your wedding photos? Having your wedding photographer photograph your engagement session will create a consistent style of photographs hung in your home or put in an album.
4. Communication becomes easier with your photographer.
Remember the new bond of trust after a bride receives her pictures? It becomes easier to ask her photographer's opinion on any aspect of the wedding day. Now the bride knows that her photographer is going to take care of her, and she wants to know the best way to schedule the wedding timeline. She wants to know the best order for reception details. Your photographer can give advice, and suddenly wedding planning just got easier because you have someone with experience helping you. I love when my brides and I get to talk about all the details. I want to know everything about the flowers and bridesmaids dresses and how you want to play a certain song at this certain time. Your relationship with your photographer will be strengthened through the planning, and your wedding day will go so smoothly because communication is key!
5. You will likely have loved your wedding photos because of all the positive experiences you and your photographer have shared. OH and you will also have gained a new friend who will likely want to photograph your life events like anniversaries and babies. :)
I hope this sheds a little insight and helps you have the best experience possible with your wedding photographer!