A GUEST BLOG BY EMILY, OWNER OF EMILY KYLE PHOTOGRAPHY.
Personally, I believe with all my heart that photographs, unlike material objects, only grow in value over time. The printed photos of my family, me, my friends and travels are some of my most valued possessions. Maybe I’m just a sentimental person but I think any reason to celebrate life’s milestones and document those is amazing. And to top it all off, the photographer side of me knows that an engagement session makes for a better wedding planning, stationery and wedding day photography experience for everyone involved.
I’m so excited to be writing for Shayna’s readers! And as a photographer (hey there, I’m Emily, owner of Emily Kyle Photography), I wanted to offer up some guidance on the engagement session process and share why the engagement session is such a valuable experience and definitely not one to be missed in your wedding journey!
I hear the question, “Should I do an engagement session?” pretty often and while my first thought in my head is, uhhh yes! Definitely! Who doesn’t love more photos? The real reason I 100% recommend doing an engagement session is because it will make the planning process (those longggg 8-18 months in between the time you chose your wedding date and the actual wedding day) even more creative and exciting, while bringing more value to your investments in photography and yes, your stationery too!
So though there are many many more reasons, here are my top 5 reasons why you should have an engagement photography session:
1. YOU’RE ENGAGED!
Hello! You just got engaged. There are over 7.5 billion people in the world and you found your person. That’s amazing! If we’re not enjoying and celebrating the moments and people like that - those that matter to us most - then what is any of it for? Life is short. You just got engaged. That is worth documenting.
2. YOU’LL GET USED TO BEING IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA
Most of us haven’t spent our life as models and therefore freeze up and feel a little uncomfortable in front of a professional camera. So it’s likely that the engagement session (other than maybe senior photos way back when) is the first time you’ll be in front of a professional camera. It’s also likely the first time the two of you will do a photo session together. So think of it like a practice run for your wedding day. You’ll get used to following prompts and poses, letting go and letting loose in front of a camera. With an engagement session, you'll be more comfortable in front of the camera, giving you one less thing to be worried or stressed about on the big day!
3. YOU’LL GET TO KNOW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER!
There are very few other vendors on the wedding day that will be with you from start to finish so it’s important to love, not only your photographer’s work, but them as a person and feel comfortable having them by your side! The engagement session is a great way for us to get to know one another before the wedding and I’ll be able to see how you two interact when it’s just the two of you (no fancy dress, no tux, no families) so I can most authentically capture your relationship on the wedding day. Then, when I show up on the wedding day, it'll be just like another bestie walked in the door.
4. IT’S FUN!
I think we forget this as adults sometimes, but fun is good! The wedding day is fun too (obviously) but with way less planning, no pressure and no guests to worry about, at your e-session, you can truly be yourself, let your weird show if you want and be creative with your photos. The photos of your wedding day will capture one of the greatest days and celebrations of your life while your engagement photos are a chance to capture who the two of you are everyday. Because there’s no venue involved, you can take your engagement photos anywhere that feels like you - your home, a laundromat, your favorite bar - wherever. For an hour and a half or so, you don’t have to worry about anything but having fun and enjoying quality time with your partner! Better yet, make a day-long date out of it and the whole thing will be an amazing memory and therefore even more worth documenting and remembering!
5. YOU’LL HAVE GREAT PHOTOS TO USE BEFORE YOUR WEDDING!
With an engagement session, you’ll have great photos to use before the wedding day! You can use the photos to announce your engagement, to send save the dates, to decorate your walls, to add to your wedding website or even print an album with them. The list goes on. (Keeping reading for ways to use your wedding photos below). And on top of that, it’ll be nice to have photos of you that reflect your relationship, personalities and everyday style and were taken in a location that is significant to the two of you!
If you’re saying to yourself, “Yes, I definitely want engagement photos but what should I do with my photos?” Well, here you go:
10 Ways to Use Your Engagement Photos:
1. Save the Dates
Using your recent engagement photos in your save the dates allows you to send out unique and personal cards to announce your engagement to your wedding guests! As a bonus, you can also use them in engagement party invite and engagement announcements before too! And Shayna will love you (even more than she already does) for having high resolution, professional photos to use for your cards! With a high resolution image, the print quality will be much better than, say, an iPhone photo, avoiding any pixelation or color discrepancies!
2. Wedding Website
You’ll likely make a wedding website where you can communicate important information about the wedding with your guests using a site like Zola or theKnot. Your engagement photos are great for sharing on your website, for your banner graphics and to tell your guests about how the two of you came to be a couple! You can even work with Shayna to incorporate your photos into a banner graphic that matches your invitation suite and wedding theme, tying in everything beautifully.
3. Thank You Cards
For your wedding thank you cards, you can use either your wedding photos or engagement photos. But what about thank you cards for things like your engagement party or even your bridal shower? If you’re sending thank you cards out before the wedding, your engagement photos are a great way to personalize the cards.
4. Guest Book
If you’ll have a guest book at the wedding, why not incorporate a few engagement photos? Your guests will love to look through them before signing at the wedding, and when you look back on your guest book down the road, the photos will instantly bring you back to the time when you just got engaged. You’ll relive your wedding day and appreciate all of your guests and the support system of family and friends you’ve developed throughout your life that came to support you on the wedding day.
5. Engagement Album
There’s just something magical about flipping through a book of your photos printed on actual paper. Sure, digital is great for the convenience of sharing, but nothing makes you relive a special time like a physical album of photos. A small engagement album is a perfect addition to the shelves of a new home together and makes for a great conversation piece. It will pair with your wedding album beautifully and throughout the years, it will become one of your first family heirlooms that your children and grandchildren will cherish.
6. For Gifts
I hate to break it to you, but your engagement photos aren’t just for the two of you. They’re also for your parents, family members and even your guests! Your loved ones will love to see and have beautiful, professional photos of the two of you! Just think about it. Parents and grandparents cherish even the worst quality photos of their children and grand-children that they snapped on their phones. Imagine how much they’d love a beautifully framed, high quality photo of that time when you got engaged! You can use them for thank you gifts for helping to plan the wedding, mother’s day gifts, birthdays and more!
7. Holiday Cards
Will the winter holidays and New Year’s fall between the time of your engagement session and your wedding? Then use your engagement photos to send out holiday cards to all of your friends and family! This way too, you can share photos of your engagement and celebrate this happy time in your life with those that maybe didn’t make the cut for your wedding guest list.
8. Wedding Decor
Use your photos in your wedding! Not only can you incorporate them into your save the dates, but framed engagement photos add a sweet touch as part of the centerpieces of your reception tables or hanging up in the reception hall. They’ll remind all of your guests what they’re celebrating at your wedding and spark great conversations, especially guests that may not know one another. You can also use them to personalize tags on your favors or even print your photo on cookies! Seriously, these days, you can print a photo on just about anything. Work with your stationery designer (lookin’ at you, Shayna) to incorporate your photos into your wedding welcome signs or seating charts!
9. Social Media
Okay, this one might go without saying, but you can share your engagement photos all over social media. Haven’t changed your profile photo in 6 years? Well now you have every reason to. Anytime you have a wedding update to share on social, you now have great photos to go post with it.
10. Printed in Your Home
A home covered with photos and memories is beyond special (and again, there’s nothing better than seeing your photos in print). Pick your favorite photos and frame them to hang up on your walls around the house. When you’re just hanging out, reading in a book on the living room couch and you catch a glimpse of your engagement photos, you’ll immediately feel nostalgic and be taken back to that amazing time in your life. And we’d all be lying to ourselves if we said that marriage is easy and never has lows, so having photos around your house to remind you of why you chose to get married in the first place can be exactly what you need during a disagreement with your partner to get you back on the same page. Experiencing your photos as you walk past them just about everyday in your home will bring countless smiles to your face and spark moments of conversation and connection throughout the years.
So there you have it, 5 reasons you should have an engagement session and 10 ways to use your engagement photos! What do you think? I hope now you see how valuable the experience of an engagement session alone can be to your wedding planning process, but also in all the personal and sentimental ways in which you can use your engagement photos!
Your wedding photography and stationery go hand in hand so be sure to keep both in mind when planning out your timeline for your wedding planning and if you need anything or have any questions about wedding photography, don’t hesitate to get in touch! I’m always here to help.
Oh, and because I think an engagement session is an invaluable experience for any couple, I’m giving away a free engagement session to one of Shayna’s lucky readers! All you have to do is enter before May 31, 2020 and I’ll reach out to the winner on June 1st!
And for all other readers, mention this blog for $100 off any wedding photography packages with Emily Kyle Photography!