Wedding Planning Diaries: the importance of an engagement session / by Ally Willix

This subject is close to my heart as a wedding photographer, and now it's even more important to me after getting my own engagement photos made! Our photographer for our engagement session was Nancy Ray of Nancy Ray Photography (NRP) and Callie Davis of NRP will be photographing our wedding.  Our wedding photography is the most important vendor to us and I am thrilled that the NRP team will be the ones behind the cameras on our big day! It's a dream come true.

Below are some of our engagement photos and reasons on why you should not skip out on having your wedding photographer do an engagement session. I hope these help and encourage you during your wedding planning process!

1. Your engagement session is like a breath of fresh air in the middle of wedding planning

No matter who your photographer is, your location, outfits, or the weather that day your engagement session will simply be fun. The night we took our photos is still one of my favorite memories with Bobby.  We got to cuddle, laugh, and just soak in time with each other - and all of it was captured beautifully on film! When I saw our photos for the first time I was ecstatic.  I have looked through ours so many times! And when the planning gets tough and stressful I look through them again and feel that same blissful happiness that I felt that night. This is truly my biggest reason to get engagement photos done! Our session has been my favorite part of the planning process.

2. This is a time to get to know your photographer and for your photographer to get to know you

Using two photographers for your wedding and engagement is pretty unusual and we would not have done that if our circumstances were different. We already know Callie really well and it was special to have Nancy do some part of our photos because she is like family to Bobby. I still advocate using your wedding photographer for your engagement photos! This way your photographer already knows what poses work and don't work for you and your fiancé on your wedding day and how your personalities mesh together. Do you want the camera close and personal or are you more comfortable if you don't know your photographer is there? Questions like these can all be answered during the engagement session process. We can email, text, call, follow each other on Instagram, but nothing will replace meeting in person! 

us with Nancy after our shoot! (iPhone pic)

us with Nancy after our shoot! (iPhone pic)

3. The season of engagement is just as important to capture as the wedding day

Do you remember the feeling you had when your fiancé proposed? Your family and friend's reactions to the best day of your life? At least the best day before you get married! That's just it, the day you and your fiancé got engaged was probably the happiest day of your life. You'll have your wedding day captured for the same reason, so why not capture this exciting season of life too? I will always look back at these photos and remember how ridiculously happy we were that we were engaged and on our way to becoming husband and wife.  You don't want to look back on the process of planning for the wedding just remembering stressful moments and the difficult decisions. Remember the excitement of being engaged with your engagement photos!

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4. These photos are real, authentic, and meaningful

An engagement session is a time to slow down. Your wedding day will fly by! Please don't hear me wrong, your wedding photos are extremely important and I know I will cherish those more than any other photos of Bobby and I have taken so far.  But your engagement session is a wonderful time for  authentic photos.  You can pick a spot that has special meaning to you as a couple or unique props with meaning like Bobby and I did.  You can wear your favorite outfits and be casual or dream big and create a fancy session with ball gowns and suits - it's up to you! It's a time to be completely, 100% personal with your photographer and your photos. I can't tell you enough how happy I am that we did an engagement session - I promise you won't regret doing your own!

other general tips:

  • bring a different outfit if time allows or a jacket - I brought a denim shirt to wear to easily change my look
  • use your engagement photos on your save the date
  • use your engagement photos to submit your wedding announcement to your local newspaper
  • do a trial run with your hair or make up stylist during your session if you're not doing a bridal portrait
  • these are great photos to display at your wedding reception
  • your session is most of the time included in your wedding photography package - take advantage of it, and you'll be happy you did :)