TELL YOUR FIANCE: "ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS MATTER!"
A lot of anti-wedding-industry folks propose that engagement photos are just another hoax to get you to spend more money on yet another superficial wedding item. Although engagement photos were once very untraditional, they've now developed into the twine the helps begin your journey toward tying the knot. Boyfriends-turned-fiancés are the iron fists behind the resistant movement NOT to let engagement photos become a societal norm. But, ladies, don't you worry-- your man thought buying a ring was the end of his job and is still trying to figure out how to hop on the saddle toward all things "wedding." It just may be your job to tighten up his saddle a bit so he can get there without hesitation. I am not engaged nor previously married but as a bystander to many engagements, a bridesmaid in multiple weddings, and wedding photographer, I believe I can justify the following reasons why engagement photos DO matter (and feel free to share with your special man): It's not for "practice;" it's for poise. Doing anything more than once increases your chances significantly that you'll improve at it; same thing goes for posing in pictures. But taking engagement photos isn't about practicing for your wedding day, it's about discovering how you want to look as a couple, what you're comfortable with, and what you like the most in your photos. I've worked with several clients multiple times and the first time I hold a session with them I do all of my standard and a few creative poses. By their second session with me and after reviewing their photos from the previous shoot, they are more confident and know exactly what they did and did not like about the photos. Some clients are like "we do NOT want to see that pose again; it didn't work well on me," and that's fine!
Document a point in your life that will never happen again. When you're dating, you are deliriously in love and just living day to day. When you first get married, you're going through a honeymoon phase. But what about between those times? That's what engagement photos document. You are going through the biggest transition in your life, from dating to marriage, and it’s exciting and new, with so many adventures ahead. Many people find that phase of their relationship is something they wish would never end because there are so many exciting plans being made, things to look forward to, and you know you’re heading in such a committed direction that you can barely handle the excitement. These are memories you’ll cherish forever and photos are the best way to remember them.
Engagement photos set the tone for your wedding. Save-the-dates have now set the standard as the “kick-off” toward your wedding. When guests receive that first postcard in the mail telling them to mark your wedding date on their calendars, you want photos that look professional, beautiful, and parallel the elegance of your wedding. Sure, cell-phone pics can come out great and using last last year’s Christmas photo seems logical—but these sorts of photos on save-the-dates are off-putting because they don’t show the extra effort that truly makes the occasion magical. That’s not what you want to tell your guests about your big day! You want them to know your wedding is one-of-a-kind, something they can’t miss, and that you and your fiancé are the most magical thing to hit the scene since Cinderella and Prince Charming.
Share your story. Although most couples think guests attend their wedding for the open bar and dancing, that’s not the real reason. Guests admire the classic love story: the tale of two people finding each other in the most incredible situations, falling in love, and wanting to share every moment together for the rest of eternity. Every couple is special and the photos that tell the story of your relationship should be too. If pictures are worth a thousand words, imagine the story you’re telling with the photos you send out to all your loved ones.
In the end, the decision is up to every couple whether or not you care to go the extra mile. No matter what your decision, take the time to document your engagement.
Speaking not just as a photographer but as a woman in love, I find it hard not to want to take every opportunity to capture special moments with my man. Don’t let your fiancé convince you into thinking engagement photos are stupid and useless. Now you have some ammunition for the next time the battle begins between what to cut out of your wedding budget and what to pursue as necessary.