Like many supposed 'must-dos' in wedding planning, an engagement photo session is not mandatory. Depending on your budget, having an extra photo session might not be in the cards, but if it is a possibility it may be a good idea. Taking professional photos before your wedding will give you some shots that can be used in everything from your 'Save the Date' announcements to your wedding day video. An engagement photo shoot can also give you a chance to do a 'trial run' with a photographer under a less stressful circumstance than your wedding day.
While your wedding photos will feature you and your groom in your beautiful dress and suit, the engagement session will feature you in your own clothes, feeling and looking like yourself. On the other hand, if you're a glamour girl, an engagement session can let you feel like a model for a day with multiple costume changes and locations.
The number one tip for taking good pictures is to have a good photographer. Using sites like OneWed.com will help you research photographers. When you find a photographer you like, ask him or her about possible packages. For example, if you use the photographer for both the engagement session and the wedding, would he be willing to give you a discount?
Remember this isn't your wedding day. Feel free to get silly or be serious, whatever works for you. If you're doing location shots, wear clothing that you can move around and get dirty in. Remember, you're not in your wedding dress. You don't want to pass up a good photo op because you're afraid to get dirty.
Knowing how you plan to use the photos will help you make decisions about whether you want digital or print photos. It may also help you decide what kinds of poses you want to have. If you want a traditional engagement announcement in your hometown paper, check with the paper about the requirements for the photograph. If on the other hand, you want to use your photos for a wacky Save the Date card, you'll want to make sure to get creative with the photo shoot.
Your engagement photos should be taken closer to your engagement date than to your wedding date. At the beginning of your wedding planning a photo shoot can be a fun diversion, a way to get into the mood of wedding planning. Taking them early also means they're available for you to use for various purposes, and if you aren't happy with the photographer, you have time to find a new one for the wedding. If you wait until just before the wedding, the session may feel like one more 'have-to' in an already busy time.
Like most items on your wedding planning to-do list, engagement photos are totally optional, make the decision that's right for you.
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