Engagement Wedding Photography By Jessica Weltersen A lot of photographers offer engagement portrait sessions in their wedding packages. With a tight budget, some people might choose to opt out as they think this is not necessary, or that it’s merely another opportunity for some casual shoots which could be done by amateur photographer friends. As a professional engagement photographer, I would strongly suggest keeping the session in the package rather than opting for print credits or enlargements. Here are some good reasons for my recommendation: The engagement portrait session is the time that you and the photographer can really get to know each other in action. It’s your first opportunity to see the photographer holding a camera while trying to engage with you. You will really get a feel what it’s like to have a camera in your face while you are trying to have some romantic moments with your loved one. Who says that’s easy to do! That’s why it’s a wonderful opportunity to communicate with the photographer about your comfort zone and expectations. A good photographer will sense what it takes to get you to feel at ease. The more elley2scomfortable you are with the photographer, the better the pictures will turn out on your wedding day. Think of it as a rehearsal where you get to practice being intimate in front of people. Wedding pictures will look great only if you are able to express yourself fully and naturally and developing a great working relationship with your photographer is the key. When I face couples who struggle to look natural in front of the camera, I often suggest that they choose something they enjoy doing together. For an active couple, it could be a hike to the hilltop or doing some fun dance moves together; for the quiet couple, it could be about being in each other’s arms, having their eyes closed and embracing the moment with each other. I believe the best practice for photographers is to give just enough guidance to direct the couple and make them feel at ease. I also like to give praise when I catch a stunning moment to let my couple know I am capturing beauty elley3sin them. Naturally they would keep it up and the moment would only bloom more. Then I would show them the shots and let them know how lovely they turn out, which will encourage them to keep the spirit even higher. Warming up is merely a process and once you get there you will be able to be as spontaneous and passionate as you are in front of camera. The engagement portrait session is best taken outdoors rather than in a studio-like setting. Feel free to suggest a place that meaningful to you two. Maybe it’s where the proposal took place, or a location where you two hang out all the time. Tell the story so the photographer can depict the essence for you. Engagement pictures are typically done three to six months ahead of the wedding day. It’s common for couples to use the pictures for their Save-The-Date cards or enlarge a favorite for display at the reception. I’ve recently put together my new product of using engagement pictures to create a guestbook. It’s an affordable way to present your pictures in a photo book form where guests can review the pictures and leave their words and blessings at the same time. The engagement session is supposed to be fun-filled and stress free. Loosen up, snuggle up and be creative, and you’ll get so much more out of it.