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should you have an engagement session with your wedding photographer

Should I Have An Engagement Session With My Wedding Photographer?

August 9, 2021

I cannot tell you how many times I have this conversations with brides and grooms during the pre-wedding process. The question, “should I have an engagement session with my wedding photographer?” is one that I love to answer, because it gives me the chance to really educate my couples on the importance of a valuable wedding experience.

It’s not enough just to hire all the great wedding vendors, and it’s not enough to have the most incredible dress, DJ, food, planner or whatever it is that sets your soul on fire. I don’t want you to just go through the motions of planning your wedding. I want you to thoroughly enjoy this crazy, stressful, incredible time in your life! Theoretically, you really only get married once and if you do it right – the wedding doesn’t have to be the most stressful thing you’ll ever do. 

In fact, if you do this right: it can be one of the most exciting and incredible times in your life.

Should I Have An Engagement Session With My Wedding Photographer?

While I totally understand budget and time constraints, I still think having an engagement session before the wedding is a vital part of the wedding process. It’s one of the reasons I offer an engagement session as a booking gift when couples book me within 5 days of inquiring! From my very first wedding way back in 2011, I have always thought it was important to meet with my couples before the big day. 

Aside from the obvious reason for having an engagement session – actually getting the photos – there are a handful of really dang good reasons why I always recommend having an engagement session with your wedding photographer.

should you have an engagement session with your wedding photographer

The truth is, engagement photos are like a dress rehearsal for the wedding.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve learned something vital during an engagement session that I’m so grateful I wasn’t faced with during the wedding. Examples? Some couples aren’t big into PDA – so if I were to ask them to hold hands and kiss during the wedding, that might make them uncomfortable. Or sometimes its the opposite – sometimes couples are just so hot for each other, asking them to kiss or having the groom hold his bride from behind might get a little … uh, crazy (yep, it’s happened!). Even something like knowing a bride feels more confident getting photographed on a certain side or that a groom is shorter than his bride and is self-conscious about it! There are a million little nuances like this that, that most people don’t even think about I consider it vital information. 

Engagement sessions give us the opportunity to hang out.

There’s been a couple of times I have shown up to weddings and I’d never even met the couple, not even seen their photos! I hated walking into the bridal suite and not knowing who the bride was; it was super awkward and I vowed never to have that experience again so long as I could help it. I want the bride to jump out of her chair and give me a hug, and say “oh my gosh, ASHLEY! You’re here!!” I always say if someone says, “the photographer is here” when I show up and doesn’t say “Ashley is here!” then I haven’t done my job well enough. I never want to just be the photographer

Dudes take better photos at the wedding when there’s been an engagement session.

It’s true, 100%. In my 11 years of professional photography, it’s typically the groom who feels intimidated, uncomfortable and not looking forward to the photo part of the wedding day. But you know what makes those feelings go away like magic? Engagement sessions! You see, during engagement sessions we have a good time and guys tend to relax, and afterward? They realize it’s not going to be awful on their wedding day! Dudes see that we’re going to have fun, we’re going to go fast, and that their brides are going to be absolutely thrilled with their photos. It’s a win-win-win situation, you see?

And if the engagement session is free? It’s a no-brainer!

Every single wedding couple that contacts me has the option to get their engagement session for free, a value of $375. If they complete the booking process within five days of getting their quote, they get the engagement session and all the finished images as a thank you gift. It’s a gift for them but it’s honestly a gift for me, too! 

Do you have questions or are you ready to book me as your wedding photographer in Wisconsin or Northern Illinois? Shoot me a message today!

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Heyyyy ... I'm Ashley Durham and I'm a luxury wedding photographer in Phoenix, but I travel all over Arizona and the desert southwest to hang out with the most incredible people. I am obsessed with puppies, extra hot coffee, sunrise and firmly believe that love conquers all.

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