FAQ: Why Do an Engagement Session? ~ Chicago Engagement Photographer

I’m pretty sure one of the top questions I’m asked by potential clients is, “Do we have to do the engagement session? We don’t really need engagement photos, and we don’t like getting our photos taken… so is it okay if we take that out of the package?”

I really have been asked that more times than I can count, and although I used to allow people to take it out if they really wanted to, I have since altered my response (unless someone books me just a month before their wedding and there is no time for one, or if it is a destination wedding and we just can’t make it happen). I explain to them that I actually think engagement sessions are SO IMPORTANT that I include them complimentary with all my wedding packages… and here is why!


1. If you don’t like getting your photos taken and because of that don’t want to do the engagement session then the truth is – You need to do an engagement session even more than couples who already enjoy getting their photos taken! The engagement session is the perfect time for you to work out your nerves and anxiety about being in front of a camera before your big day. If you are already uncomfortable about being photographed – then you should definitely do an engagement session before your wedding so those nerves are gone by the time the big day rolls around! 🙂



2. An engagement session is a fabulous time for us to get to know each other better! It is truly important to me that my clients are not just clients, but that they are my friends! We’ve already emailed back and forth quite a bit, we’ve met for drinks or talked on the phone to make sure we’re a good fit, and to chat about the wedding day… and now we get to hang out for another hour or two for the engagement session! It is a great time for us to get to know each other even more and become even better friends! 🙂



3. I can’t tell you how many couples say they don’t want to do an engagement session because they have seen corny engagement photos online, and don’t want theirs to look like that.  (This comment from clients seriously confuses me… haha.) My response always is… Obviously – you are hiring me because you love my work, correct? If you have seen my work and love it … then why do you think the engagement photos I take are going to look like someone else’s engagement photos you saw online? I promise (just like on your wedding day) to capture the truest version of you two! And if you’ve seen my engagement and wedding photos and don’t like them… then I’m super confused about why you contacted me to possibly book me. haha. 🙂 So no worries! Your photos are not going to look like the photos you saw online! They will look like the photos you saw on my blog & website – which I hope you love if you contacted me to shoot your wedding! haha 🙂



4. An engagement session gives you practice posing and interacting in front of my camera! I am always reminded of this point when I photograph a couple for the first time on their wedding day and both are nervous and unsure about posing and being together in front of my camera. At the engagement, I put you in poses and am able to see what works best with the two of you – so when the wedding rolls I know which poses are the most flattering and comfortable for you, and you both know how to ROCK those poses, since we’ve done them before! On top of that – engagement sessions allow me to see HOW you interact with one another, and in what ways the two of you show your love for one another. Are you goofy? Are you quiet? Are you more reserved? Can you not keep your hands off each other? Seeing how you are together during your engagement session helps me know the best way to pose you and interact with you on your wedding day!



5. Because you need a break from wedding planning!!! Engagement sessions are a great way to take a step away from life, from planning, from the computer, your phone, and work – and to JUST BE TOGETHER. When else are you just walking around one of your favorite places (because you choose where we do the shoot! … more on that in #6) hand-in-hand with your love, just enjoying each other’s company without any distractions? You get to laugh, kiss, goof around, look into each other’s eyes, and cuddle with your love! It doesn’t get any better than that!



6. An engagement session is the perfect time to hit up a location that is meaningful to you and that you might not be able to get to for portraits on your wedding day. I always have my clients choose their location. I urge them to choose a place that is important to them and that fits them as a couple, because the photos are that much more meaningful that way! Want to revisit the pier where your love proposed? Want to hit up the bar you went to for drinks on your first date? Perfect! Let’s do it! I love unique, fun, and important-to-you locations for engagement sessions! 🙂



7. Engagement sessions are FUN. I promise. 🙂 You’ll leave in a great mood, and it will be 100% better than you could have imagined. I’ve never had couples say anything different!



8. Confidence!!! Imagine you have an engagement session… you have a blast… then you get the photos back and you’re shocked at how totally amazing you look!! Then imagine how confident you will feel on your wedding day having me follow you around with my camera all day! Imagine how amazing you will feel during the portrait session when you’re rocking the same poses that you know you looked fabulous in during your engagement session! Awesome, right?



9. Time!! Time is a precious thing on your wedding day. If we haven’t done an engagement session together in the past, the portrait portion of the day inevitably takes a bit longer to ease into (since there is a period of warming up to the camera that we need to go through). Whereas, if we had already worked together, you would have already gotten that out of your system months ago. Our time is so precious and limited on the wedding day – that it is best to work out those nerves and get used to posing at the engagement session instead! If we’ve already had a practice run – then portraits will flow that much more smoothly on your wedding day. You’ll be used to having me pose you… you’ll be confident… and you’ll look comfortable and amazing right from the start!



10. Trial Runs. I’m willing to bet you plan to do a trial run of your makeup before your wedding day, right? So what better day to do so than for your engagement session?! You can see how your makeup looks on camera, and feel extra fabulous because you’re done up! Win-Win! (And while you’re at it – get your hair done too! It’s a great excuse to splurge and pamper yourself! And I happen to know a fabulous woman for the job!)



11. Date night! Engagement sessions are a perfect time to have a date night! You’re already looking fabulous and feeling all lovey-dovey from spending time focusing on each other… so why not top it off with dinner and drinks out afterwards?! It’s a perfect excuse to get out of the house together!



And just so you know I’m not feeding you a bunch of hoo-ha… I can promise you that every client I’ve ever worked with for engagement photos has said that they had so much fun doing them, and that it only made them even more excited for their wedding photos!

(Now that you are stoked about doing yours too – check out this post on what to wear for your session!)


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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!