Just when you thought we had let WTW die off completely, here is a new one for you! From the Wedding Tip Series, providing a new piece of advice every Wednesday to help brides get the most out of their wedding photography. This Wednesday we are proud to unveil Tip Seventeen: Whenever possible, do your engagement session with your actual wedding photographer.
It goes without saying that the wedding photography industry is extremely saturated with newbie momtographers and uncle bobs looking for wedding-related experience and an “IN” to the market. Just about everyone has either a co-worker, friend, friend-of-a-friend or relative with an SLR willing to shoot their engagement, and probably their wedding, too, for little to nothing. And if they’re starting with engagements to get the necessary practice and experience to eventually make the transition into weddings, I don’t have anything against that… if you give one of these people a chance you might even come away with a couple of photos you really like. We get it everyone has to start somewhere. 🙂 However, this type of session is no substitute for an engagement session with the established professional you chose to shoot your actual wedding.
Here are some of the main reasons why you might want to keep that pro engagement session in your wedding package, even if you’ve already had a non-pro session with one of your friends starting out:
1.) Engagements are not JUST about having one or two decent casual photos of the two of you for a save-the-date, they are about getting to know your wedding photographer and vice versa. It can take a little while to feel each other out and in the photographer’s case, develop an understanding of the couple’s sense of humor as well what direction results in what types of expressions for that particular couple. This is one reason that in many cases some of the best photos from any shoot will come from the second half, when both parties are feeling really comfortable with one another.
2.) Professional engagements can be a part of the overall wedding experience. When you shoot with a friend or co-worker with not a lot of experience, engagements can be stressful. You don’t know what to wear, where to go or how to pose yourself. An engagement with a real professional should be fun, laid back and you should have nothing to worry about except being yourselves and enjoying a romantic and unique experience together.
3.) Having an engagement session gives you a preview of how your photographer works in terms of blogging, customer service and delivery time. If your photographer ends up taking 6 months to deliver photos from the engagement session, doesn’t answer emails inquiring about the status of your photos, etc., you know you have a problem. In very rare instances you may want to cut your losses and find someone else. Engagements take less time to edit than weddings, so having your e-pics delivered on time is insurance against possibly having to wait years for your wedding photos, or in rare cases, never receiving them at all. Do, however, respect the timeframe the photographer initially gives you for delivery during your booking process. Average turnaround time for professional images is 4-10 weeks, but if your photographer told you four months before you booked, you will have to wait until that timeframe has expired to start getting upset.
4.) Pro quality photos! Don’t underestimate how amazing engagement pictures can truly be when taken by the right professional. Sean and I went back and did pro engagement photos with our wedding photographer AFTER the wedding, because in the end, we felt like we missed out by originally not doing them. Again, if you love your pro-epics, that’s just extra insurance you’ll definitely be happy with your wedding images. Neither your photographer or you want to be locked into a working relationship where you’re not happy and he/she is unable to make you happy. Engagement photos are re-doable, most wedding images are not.
We do realize an engagement session with your actual photographer is not ALWAYS going to be a possibility due to planning out of state, extreme budget constraints etc., and that’s totally okay. Some people you will just click with from the get-go and not having a session with them doesn’t mean you should be paranoid. This post is really just about taking a moment to go over some of the potential benefits of having one with the person who will be shooting your wedding if you can 🙂
Please check out more of our wedding tips by going to the menu at the top of the page, clicking “Categories” -> “Wedding Tip Wednesday!”