Do you remember as a kid getting your pictures awkwardly taken at school? You would have a slightly crooked smile with a deer in the headlights look. And looking back you think if they had just talked to me, and gotten to know a little about me I would have looked like a happy kid instead of the one who wasn’t sure what was really going on. It would have taken a little bit more time, but it would have produced a more real image of you.
I like to approach weddings with this same idea. For me, engagement sessions are so important so that on the wedding day you aren’t wondering who this crazy lady is that showed up with a camera and an arsenal of camera gear. Engagement sessions give you a chance to bond with your client and get to know them. It gives your client a chance to know you, and after seeing your amazing images they will trust you even more on their wedding day.
I always show up to an engagement session with a teensy bit of butterflies because I know this is a bit of a preview of their wedding day. And I also know that they are getting a glimpse into working with me on the most important day of their life. Engagement sessions give them a chance to chat with you, and hopefully learn a few good embarrassing stories to keep the mood light!
I recently shot an engagement session that I just loved, and I hadn’t met the bride before booking, we had only spoke on the phone and done stuff via email. Those engagement sessions always make me the most nervous. I know that they like my style, I know that chatting on the phone we clicked, but I don’t know much about them really. I am a talker, and I like to see people and get to know them, so meeting them for the first time on a shoot always leaves me a little anxious. But 15 minutes into the shoot I felt like they were my friends. I understood what they wanted, and they completely trusted me. It was fabulous!
When the wedding day comes, my brides know what is going to happen – we will have tons of fun, we will laugh a lot, and they trust me. I show up at weddings like a friend more than the stuffy photographer and it really helps the groom since they know that I have already gotten fabulous images of them, they love that I tell them to kiss and love on their bride, and they know that their groomsmen can mock me and I am going to roll with it. The engagement session adds a level of comfort and trust. My clients know what a sessions is like with me, and they know what to expect on their wedding day from me.