Getting married in DC, Northern Virginia or suburban Maryland next year? Congratulations! Your wedding will no doubt be an unforgettable expression of your love for each other. And it pays to get started planning it as soon as possible. (We know what we’re talking about here. Not just from having witnessed hundreds of couples going through the process, but also from having done it ourselves!) Your wedding day will be here before you know it. So the more you can knock out now, the better. And one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you’re going to have an engagement photoshoot. It’s a choice that will affect a lot of your other plans, so it’s important to do what makes the most sense for you. To help you make the right decision, here are some of the pros and cons of engagement photos.
Why You Need to Decide About an Engagement Photo Session Soon After Your Proposal
Before we get into the reasons an engagement photoshoot could be the right choice for you, let’s quickly talk about why it’s one of the first decisions you’ll need to make. The short answer is the timing. If you want pictures you can use in your save-the-date cards or invitations, you need to get the images sooner rather than later. We can usually process and deliver your engagement photos pretty quickly. But you need to get the cards or invites printed and in the mail well before your actual date. Which means that if you do an engagement photo session, it needs to happen no later than the early spring. And that’s assuming that your wedding is in the fall! If it’s in the early summer, you might even need to get your engagement photos in the winter months. (Don’t worry! Winter engagement photos can be awesome!)
Even if you have more than a year before your wedding, it still pays to decide about an engagement photo session quickly. Why? Because of the impact it has on your wedding budget. The calendars of the best DC wedding photographers fill up fast, so you should also be shopping for yours shortly after your proposal. And though engagement photography is typically not a huge expense (at least relative to other parts of your wedding), it is usually less expensive if you purchase it as part of a comprehensive wedding photography package. If you want to add a session later, it will be an a la carte option and cost more. So knowing what you want now will help you stick to your wedding budget.
The Pros and Cons of Engagement Photos
Without any further ado, then, here are the reasons why engagement portraits might or might not be the right fit for you.
You get gorgeous pictures of the two of you
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never had a professional photographer create portraits of you as a couple. Which means that most of your love story has been documented through informal images – selfies, pictures with cellphones and maybe the odd shots with an amateur camera. Don’t get us wrong! There is enormous value in these little snapshots (pun intended!) of your relationship and lives together. But we can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing quite like couples portraits taken by a professional photographer. In the right hands, your engagement photos will have a beauty that no informal picture can match. And not just because of the professional equipment! The best engagement photographers also know how to draw out what makes your relationship special and use it to tell your love story through the photos.
You get more comfortable being photographed
In the past couple of years, we’ve had colleagues take couples portraits of us several times. (Including once during our recent renewal of vows!) And it reminded us that it can be a weird and awkward experience! It’s why we now start every engagement photo session with some very easy and familiar scenarios/poses. That usually helps our couples relax and get into the flow of the photoshoot. And the good news is that everyone does eventually settle in. The even better news? It gets easier every time you do it! So an engagement session can serve as a great practice run for the couples portraits portion of your wedding day. Then you will have already done it once and will feel like seasoned pros! Which is very valuable on a day when all the competing demands on your time and attention can make it hard to relax.
You get more comfortable with your photographers
An engagement photoshoot doesn’t just get you used to being photographed. It also allows you to get to know your photographers better. If you book an engagement session with us, you’ll spend an hour hanging out with us in a lowkey, no-pressure environment. That experience will transform us from service providers with whom you’ve spoken a few times leading up to your wedding into “Anji and Pete,” people you know, trust and like (hopefully!). And when your big day rolls around, you’ll be so comfortable having us around that we’ll be like members of your wedding party. Which will allow you to relax and us to capture the most special moments as they happen.
Engagement sessions up the cost of your wedding photography
The main and most basic reason to skip doing an engagement photoshoot is the impact it can have on your wedding budget. The price tag is typically small compared to other items you’re spending money on. An engagement session should be a fraction of the cost of your venue, your catering and frankly, even your wedding photography. But if you’re trying to stick to a very tight budget, every dollar counts. So passing on an engagement photoshoot could be the right call in those situations.
An engagement session won’t be fun if you really, genuinely don’t like to be photographed
As we mentioned above, most couples have never been through a professional portrait session. For that reason, it is very likely that it will feel a little awkward at first. And as long as that feeling only lasts for the first part of your engagement photoshoot, then there’s no problem. But if you’re pretty sure that your discomfort just won’t go away, no matter how easy your photographers make the process for you, then engagement photography is likely to be a bad choice for you. You’ll come away from the session unhappy with the experience and with us. So if you’re sure you don’t want your portraits taken, don’t book an engagement session.
The timing has to be right
Another situation in which an engagement photoshoot is not a great idea is when you’re putting together your wedding on short notice. If you and your fiancé(e) get swept up in the romance of being engaged and decide to plan your wedding in a couple of weeks, then an engagement session doesn’t make much sense. You already have a lot on your plate. And you’ll get the chance to get gorgeous couples portraits in a short time anyway. So throwing an engagement photoshoot into the mix doesn’t make sense unless you have several months to go before your wedding.
What Do We Recommend? Engagement Photos! (No Big Surprise, Right?)
By our count, that makes three pros and three cons. But even though that’s a tie, we think that engagement photoshoots are a great idea. Unless your budget is impossibly tight or you really hate portraits or there’s just no time, what you get from your session is something that you’ll treasure for a lifetime. Gorgeous pictures of the two of you and a less-stressful wedding day? Seems like a no-brainer to us! Though obviously, we are 100% biased due to our jobs and own personal experiences!
Contact Us for More Information!
Interested in learning more about our services? Please visit our Wedding Photography FAQ page for answers to all your questions! Ready to schedule an engagement photoshoot of your own? Contact us now to get the conversation started!