It’s July of 2015, and I know my husband (I mean, boyfriend) is hiding a little black box somewhere in his dresser. The fact that I know for certain there’s an Emerald engagement ring in there is a long story for another time. And what am I doing with this information? Scoping out photographers for our engagement session, because I *know* fall is going to be booked up if we drag our feet (you know, as soon as I finally get to wear that ring!). My friends are rolling their eyes *typical Jo*.
Why do I love engagement sessions so much? Why do I not even offer a single package without them anymore? Lately engagement sessions have been boiled down to photos to post on Facebook with an announcement, and a nice image for your save the date cards. But they are SO much more — a SUPER valuable part of the wedding photography process, and will mean more to you than you think!
Here I am, two years later, and my favorite engagement photos are still framed, front and center in my living room. Why not my wedding photos? Why not something more current?
I am tempted to say it’s because my dogs are in them, and it’s a little true (I love them so dang much!).
It’s the sentiment. Those photos were the first nice photos of the new Mahaney family. (whoa! Didn’t think about it like that, did you?) Those smiles – all giddy from imagining the rest of our lives together – they’re from an amazing season of our lives that we can’t get back, but I can frame it and put it on display. That’s college Jo and night shift John working REALLY HARD so we can own the house that now displays these frames. That’s “photography is just a hobby” Jo who is falling in love with everything weddings.
Those kids have come a LONG WAY, and I get to celebrate that every time I catch a good look at those photos.
Beyond the sentiment… A more practical reason I am offering way more engagement sessions next year is to serve my couples better. I see a noticeable difference in the wedding portraits of clients I have worked with before. They’re at ease, their smiles are natural, they look drawn to each other and unaware of the camera.
Have you even seen a portrait and thought “wow, that posing is a little awkward.” You know, stiff? The placement isn’t quite right? Reminds you of 1990’s studio portraits on the blue backdrop? We all know the one.
That’s just nerves. Everyone acts a little differently on camera, and part of warming up to my clients is learning what cues, posing, and prompts they respond to best, and how they feel in front of the lens. It’s my job to make everyone look their best, and I am confident I can do that! Even the best of wedding timelines sometimes only leave us with 15-20 minutes for portraits of just the bride and groom. That really doesn’t give me much time to let my couples get the nerves out and learn how to make them look like their happiest selves.
That’s why engagement sessions are such a crucial part of my client process! Even if you never use your pictures (but, you’ll want to!), the result is wedding portraits that are a true representation of the two of you and your story. That “what do I do with my hands?!” feeling is gone, because we’ve done this before. You’re pros at it! Plus, you’re so busy celebrating being married, you hardly notice I’m there to photograph it all. It’s easy, it’s natural, and far better than meeting you for the first time on your wedding day.
In 2018, every couple who books with me is getting a complimentary engagement session – no matter which package, no matter how many hours. It’s my gift to you to make your wedding photography service the best it can be!
Engaged and looking for a photographer? I’d love to talk to you about becoming a Photography by Jo couple! I am honored to be chosen for each couple’s special day. Plus, there’s a bunch of perks, including your complimentary engagement session and free Wedding in a Box gift, worth over $2,000 with tons of offers from local vendors! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and wedding date to receive more information.
Until next time… happy planning ya’ll!