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Greetings everyone! I know I’ve been MIA for these past couple of days, but I’ve been moving and getting things set up in my new place, and although it’s been a fun and long process, I really miss talking about the story behind my photographs, so I’ve come back to this wonderful blog that I love so much 😀

Today I will talk about Engagement Sessions and why they are so very important to do before your actual wedding date. My very first reason: they are the last time you will have professional pictures taken of you and your sweetheart before you two tie the knot! You see, I’m not talking about the college pictures you and your honey get taken at an event by your uncle’s best-friends’ cousin. I’m talking about the images taken by an artist who specializes in the entire process, someone who actually puts some thoughts behind creating these lasting images that will be shared by other members from your family for many years! The planning behind an engagement session can be as elaborate as you want, and it’s a chance for your photographer to capture your true personality, as well as photograph the way the both of you were together before you became a married couple.

Another important reason: you get to know your photographer on a completely different level! No, not convincing? Let me tell you why this is important. Out of all the wedding vendors that you contact and hire for your special day, the photographer is actually the one you spend the most time with. He or she will be there from the time that your wedding starts up until they are to leave, so it’s important that you know how the photographer interacts with people as well as, YOU!

The beauty about photography is that every photographer has a different style. And most likely you have looked through thousands of websites to find the perfect one. And after meeting with your photographer, if the personality clicks, you most likely hire your favorite one. But that does not always mean that you know how your photographer handles a shoot with you or with anyone else. Not only will your wedding photographer come in contact with you throughout your big day, but also with your guests, your best friends, and your family as well.

Another huge factor: websites! Yes, they are enticing, they are so beautiful and full of color and the best images you’ve ever seen…but that’s exactly it. What if it’s only a collection of the best work someone has made throughout the past 7 years? When you do an engagement session, you truly do get to see how they capture you, what their style is, and you can communicate what YOUR style is, so expectations can be set forth from the very beginning, not on the day OF your wedding. You can tell your photographer what you’re comfortable doing, what you want to do and capture and things you don’t really like doing. An example: not all couples are the happy jumping type. You’ve seen the images where a couple holds hands and jumps off a rock or on a hill. They are fun (and some of my favorites to do actually) but there are couples out there that prefer not doing that and are more serene and want to do the romantics (like Ashley & Paul featured in these images above and below). Either way, there is nothing wrong with either style, but communication is key for your photographer to know what you expect on your wedding day. The things you miss talking about during your meeting when the contract is signed with your photographer will become apparent during an engagement session because you are actually in the process of doing a shoot, and you will remember certain things you may have missed before.

It is in my experience that no matter what kind of a photo session I do, the person in front of my lens is a little bit nervous at first. And if you’re barely getting to know your photographer on the day of your wedding, it’s going to feel a little weird having a stranger follow you around taking pictures of everything you do! In all my shoots, about 5 minutes in, all my clients just loosen up and become more like themselves, because I’m a real goofball and like to make people smile even when I tell them to be serious for a picture (so that’s my style of shooting, FYI!). And I don’t exactly follow the protocol of the formal “posed” pictures either (although I always make sure I do them too because that’s what mom and dad expect to see). Instead, I guide my clients into the poses and let them do whatever they want after that, so everything is natural and real…it usually works best and they all love me for it 🙂 But whoever you choose as your photographer for your wedding, make sure you feel comfortable with them, communicate your expectations, and talk everything out before the big day so there are no confusions.

You know, I truly do feel an engagement session helps a couple get a feel for their photographer, communicate what they expect during the wedding, as well as have that bit of trust that they look for to know that they have chosen the right person to capture one of the most important days in their lives. Here at CQP, I feel it is so important that I now actually include a complimentary engagement session in my wedding packages. A couple knows what to expect in pictures because they see it in their work, but for some reason there is always that little bit of doubt, as if they themselves couldn’t possibly look like the people on my website. Yet, once they see their engagement pictures they are so happy with the results, on the day of the wedding, they let me do anything I can think of (creative wise) because they now have complete trust in my abilities to make them look natural and absolutely fabulous!

Moral of the story? Do an engagement session! Depending on the studio of your chosen photographer, it may sometimes cost you a little bit more, but in the end everyone wins 🙂

This article featured images of Ashley & Paul by the way. These two weren’t one bit shy! Ashley was just up for anything and always did cute little poses by throwing her legs up, or really just grabbing her man when I asked her to love him (which totally just made the pictures) and Paul, big strong Paul was so patient and sweet throughout  everything Ashley asked for. Thanks you two! Can’t wait for your wedding in October!!

(Check out the slideshow below for a few more pics 🙂 )

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To view more weddings photographed around the country, view my website at www.studio-cq.com.