WEDDING & EVENTS
MONTEREY | CARMEL | PEBBLE BEACH

Should I take Engagement Photos?

Should I book an engagement session? The answer is, most definitely, Yes.

In fact, I recommend all couples explore the idea of doing an engagement photo session because I believe the benefits easily outweigh any downside. So let’s go over some of the reasons you should seriously consider an engagement session, and I asked several amazing photographers that I love for their advice on the topic so listen to them, not just me 🙂

In my experience, the number one benefit couples get out of engagement photos is this: it is an opportunity to see if you really vibe with the person taking your pictures. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to be comfortable with your photographer as a person and a professional. Your photographer will be with you, recording some of the most intimate moments of your wedding day. If you think about it, that can be a high stress situation with large stakes. You don’t want to find out on your wedding day that you don’t really get along with your photographer. Investing in an engagement session is a great, low pressure test run that answers two huge questions: Can you work with this person, and if so, do you absolutely love their work. And let’s be honest, it lets them get to know you both as well, are you shy, do you need more direction, are you a natural in front of the camera, this session can help them deliver the best possible results come the wedding day.

Another super important benefit is that an engagement session is that it will make you and your fiance better at having your picture taken! Sound silly? Everyone can tell when someone is stiff and uncomfortable in front of the camera, and your wedding photos are no different. I would be shocked if you told me that you and your fiance both were professional models. In fact, most people have never had any experience posing for pictures of any kind prior to their wedding day. Since engagement photos are low pressure, they allow you practice being in front of the camera, which I promise will make you much more comfortable on your wedding day.

 

Brandon of Brandon Scott Photography says, “Don’t think of it so much as a photo shoot. That puts too much pressure on you, conjuring up ideas of commercial shoots with models and tons of rigid production. Instead think of it as us just hanging out except one of us happens to have a decent camera.”

Finally, everyone knows engagement photos are definitely great to have for your wedding website and save the dates. But think about how nice it would be to have some photos that reflect you as a couple without being grand and formal like your wedding photos. For example, engagement photos are a great way to have some fun and show your personalities. You can commemorate an activity that you like to do together, or take the opportunity to show your sense of humor. You are only going to get married once so you might as well make the most of it. Dori of Sun and Life Photography sums it up perfectly: “Wedding day photos are of course gorgeous, but there is something really sweet about making sure that you capture your more everyday selves as well during this special time in life!”

So now that you know why I think taking engagement photos is absolutely super important. Here are some tips from some of my favorite photographers on how to have an absolutely wonderful engagement session.
couple toasting with wine glasses in vineyard at bernardus winery in carmel valley

Engagement Session at Bernardus Lodge by AGS Photo Art

1. Try to schedule your professional hair and makeup for your session.

Amber with De Joy Photography suggested this as one of her top tips “because this allows you to try out your potential hair and makeup artist so you know what it will look like in your wedding pictures”. Additionally, a hair and makeup trial is also hugely important in the process of planning your day. Above all though, you want to look and feel your best and having a professional bring out your best beauty is really a great way to feel amazing. I also suggest buying yourself and your fiance some great new clothes that make you feel like your best self. Brandon of Brandon Scott Photography’s advice was to “dress like yourself. Don’t feel the NEED to dress up. If you like to, do it, if you don’t like to, don’t feel pressured. You’ll feel more comfortable if you enjoy what you’re wearing”.

 

2. Make it a date

According to Shannon from Shannon Cronin Photography, “Your engagement session should not just be another checklist moment on your wedding to do list. It’s so much more than just taking photos for your save the dates. I encourage my couples to use it as an opportunity to take a break from wedding planning, honeymoon planning, or just thinking about daily life & work in general. Focus on each other, enjoy it, have fun, fall in love with each other even more, get to know your photographer of course, but really just be yourselves and let me document that realness. We’ve done in home sessions, cuddled in bed in PJs with their Saturday morning routine of coffee or on the front porch with an evening glass of wine, we’ve done burgers at In n Out, a picnic & beers at the beach, fancy cocktails at a local bar, or just walking the dog around your neighborhood. Whatever it is you love doing together, let’s see if we can incorporate it into your session.”
I couldn’t agree more, taking breaks to stop thinking about the wedding and planning is essential in the process. So go have fun for a few hours with your new photographer friend and relax.

engaged couple smiling at each other and laughing while eating hamburgers at in and out in california

In and Out Engagement Session by Shannon Cronin Photography

3. Make it a reflection of your relationship and personality

Take some of the pressure off by thinking your engagement photos have to be epic. With the natural beauty of this area it is easy to find epic landscapes but also some of the best photos come from just doing what you normally do on a daily basis. Dori with Sun and Life photography told me, “Not only is it a great way to get some time and practice in front of the camera so there is zero stress about being photographed for an entire day on your wedding, but it’s also a really amazing way to sort of preserve this very special time in life. Being engaged is fun, almost magical really. Everyone is so happy for you and excited for your love to grow and blossom during this next step of choosing to show up for one another for life. You already have a lifestyle together, so we always check in to see how you spend your weekends together.”

So the bottom line is – get out there and celebrate your love by getting some beautiful engagement photos that you can cherish for years to come. I am betting you will not ever say, I wish we didn’t do engagement photos.
black and white engagement photo of couple on the beach where the groom is carrying the bride

Engagement Photo at Carmel Beach by Brandon Scott Photography

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