What is an Engagement Session and why do one?
An engagement session is a portrait session where you and your fiance get dressed up in your style and go have fun with your photographer a few months before your wedding. You and me will be able to get to know each other and will make the wedding day experience that more comfortable. It’s a bonding time between me and the two of you. With an engagement session, you get pictures to show off before the wedding, perhaps use them for wedding invitations/save the date cards. This is the time where I get to know you better, find out if your eyes blink a lot, or if you need help in some posed shots(what do I do with my hands? should I look at you? look away? etc), along with the angles that looks best for your facial expression. The hard part for me when someone else takes the engagement pictures is that if the relatives and friends are not familiar with my work and the engagement session taken by your “neighbor” were not to my style, have bad lighting or don’t seem professional they will assume it is my work and think “what a bad photographer!”. This did actually happen to me a long time ago, I met the couple at the reception not even did the wedding pictures because they were on a super low budget. I walked in and saw that someone so kindly had taken their engagement and bridal pictures and from the quality it seemed to me that it had been done with a low pixel point and shoot digital camera. I thought it was sweet and saw the effort the person put into the pictures. Lighting was less than desirable and the poses were unflattering. The mom of the bride proudly told me she had taken all the images when she saw me observing them. I did not think twice about all of this until later on in the evening a group of college girls perhaps friends of the bride were looking at me and giggling and whispering. I discretely made my way close enough to hear what they were saying and the part I got to hear was “I hope they didn’t pay much”. I was bright red, not only had the mom so sweetly tried to help with the budget but that was not my work, if they had only allowed me to take their engagements at least! From then on I vowed to work with client budgets and educate on the importance of having a cohesive collection of images of the entire experience.
What is a bridal session and why do one?
A bridal session is a portrait session of a bride or couple in their bridal attire on a day other than their wedding day. These types of sessions take place before the wedding and help you practice hair and make up (see if these are really the colors you want for your actual wedding day, do you want curls, hair up or down?), relieve the stress of the wedding day to get more shots allowing you more free time on the wedding day (though formal shots and many shots will be taken on your wedding day, it’s still a lot less to worry about for you and for me), get used to wearing the wedding attire, learn how to bustle that fancy train and play dress up!
Tips to remember for your bridal session:
Don’t wait for your bridal session to try out the makeup artist and hair stylist for the first time. Prior to your bridal session do a full run through with your makeup artist, hair stylist and your dress. Have your mom or friend take pictures of you so that when you go in for your bridal session everyone is clear on how you want to look. If you wait till your bridal session to test out everyone you might not get exactly what you were hoping for. The bridal session is too important. Make sure you are prepared. Treat this photo shoot as if you were preparing for your wedding day. Surround Yourself With People You Love but that will not make you nervous and constantly correct your every move during the session. Many times brides bring relatives or friends that are so worried about the dress getting dirty or how the bride is smiling and quickly it turns into the bride being picked on or laughed at and the bride loses focus and it shows in the pictures. Bridal Essentials: Don’t Leave Home Without Them: Powder, Blush, Lip Stick or Gloss, Bobby Pins and Hairspray, Flip Flops, and please plan accordingly with your stylist so you are not late to your bridal session. So many of my brides arrive 30 minutes to an hour late pushing all of my sessions back, please plan your time and include traffic time to arrive at the location on time. Please!
Why do a bridal session with your groom? What is the first look shot? Traditions vs. Modern Ideas.
This is when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony in order to get most of the formals out of the way beforehand. Once the bride and groom are dressed and looking their finest, photographer sets up the meeting for the bride and groom to see each other in a private setting. Groom might have his back while the bride makes her way to him, photographer will capture the grooms reaction when he turns to see his bride for the first time. It is beautiful because they can hug, cry, embrace and compliment each other without restriction and without everyone watching. The photographer is able to shoot creative poses, using fun locations and giving you that more pictures for your wedding album. This type of session becomes so important for weddings in the evening, during cold weather, or extreme heat, or just for that fun saavy modern couple.
Fun fact on the tradition of the groom not being able to see the bride before the wedding day in her gown
One of the most popular wedding custom is the superstition that if the groom sees the bride even before the wedding, bad luck will befall on the couple. During the times when arranged marriages were the norm, the couple to be wed is never allowed to see each other. Marriages in the olden times are like business deals between two families. A father especially wants his daughter to be wed to a man from a rich land-owning family, which spells out prosperity and fortune. But if the groom meets the bride before the wedding and sees that she is not attractive, the groom could back out and cancel the wedding. This is something the family of the bride wants to avoid, especially if he wants to secure marrying into a wealthy family. This is also the case for family members who are giving a dowry. Such is the reason why the bride and groom are only allowed to meet on the wedding ceremony itself. This is so that the groom does not have a chance to back out from the wedding if he happens to find the bride unattractive or unappealing.