Top 5 Reasons an Engagement Session is for You!

I am excited to share this guest blog post with you today from our vendor Courtney Aaron! Courtney shares the top 5 reasons why an engagement session is for you. Read through her personal experience and how much she gained through her own engagement session! If you are on the fence, these great tips and insight just might steer you towards a great session with your fiance. 
Should you have an engagement session? Top 5 reasons an engagement session is for you!

He popped the question, you said yes and right before all the wedding planning starts you have that little bit of time to just take a deep breath and enjoy being engaged. That period of time is pretty unique.  You've graduated to the fiance title, with just enough time to get used to it before you switch to the official "husband and wife" team. It's an awesome time of anticipation and excitement about the big day. Shoot, you are in love and getting married- live it up!

Your friends may have done engagement sessions. The idea seems nice but is it for you? Is it just one more thing to add to the wedding frenzy? I always say, "to each their own," but when I was asked to give some opinions on engagement sessions, I jumped at it. You see, I'm a wedding and portrait photographer. You'd think I'd be an obvious choice for the pro-engagement session campaign just because it's what I do. Well, I am now but I wasn't always that way. I wanted to share some of my experience in being on the fence about it when I was engaged and after the session when I was 100% all for it.

1. Vanity. It's not a vanity thing. When I got engaged I was actually on the side of "what do we need more portraits of ourselves for? We will have the wedding images." We're private people and just didn't see a need. We aren't the type to plaster our faces all over the walls of our home. We're simple and preferred to hang art with some teeny little snapshots here and there. That was until my wedding photographer told me I was crazy and insisted we do a session. I'm forever grateful she did. When I looked at the pictures, I was just in awe. I know what my husband looks like. I know what it feels like when he hugs me and what his smile looks like when he laughs. But when I saw the way he looked at me when I couldn't see it, the way he smirked when I bashfully turned my head, his smile when I was in his arms.... it was pretty surreal. You could see the love, the connection and why we were meant to be together, all in a photograph. I wasn't looking for flaws. Any normally unflattering angle was overlooked because I couldn't get past the love that oozed out of the image. Someone else was able to capture it perfectly for us to see. Hanging those images on our wall, we walk by them everyday and are reminded of how true and awesome our love is. And since we ended up having over 100 favorites, those are in an awesome little album. Am I getting too gushy? Well, love can be gushy. The stubbornness of us thinking we were too cool for engagement portraits was instantly gone.  I was a firm believer in capturing ourselves, in our civilian clothes (not wedding  attire) and what we're like everyday. I didn't know how valuable those images were until we actually saw them. Vanity, shmanity. If you don't want a poster sized canvas hanging over your mantle, don't do it. But having portraits of just you two, no matter what size the print, is invaluable.

Image courtesy Emily Dawn Photography

2. Get comfortable and gain experience in front of the camera. Couples that have had an engagement session tell me that it was such a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera. When wedding day arrived, having a paparazzi was one less stress to worry about. Come portrait time, they immediately remembered how much fun their engagement session was and channeled that energy.

Image courtesy Courtney Aaron

3. Get to know your photographer. This is the single best way to see how your photographer works with you and you get a good taste of their personality. I believe your photographer should be someone you would want to hang out with outside of just taking pictures.  The time spent together should be enjoyable and a time you can really let your guard down and be yourselves. It's the way I get the photographs I want to get because my couples quickly realize I'm not some stuffy, business-only photographer.  When your photographer shows up on wedding day, she/he is one more friendly face to welcome!

Image courtesy Courtney Aaron

4. Test run. If time allows and your just really not sure about hiring someone for your wedding day, you can book a session and go through the whole process to see how you enjoyed it. If you end up not connecting or you're not satisfied with the images, you can shop elsewhere for wedding day. Ideally, you're so blown away by the experience and the product that you have to hire them asap!

Image courtesy Courtney Aaron

5. Who doesn't like pictures of their significant other? You may feel uneasy about pictures of yourself, but if all I've mentioned hasn't sold you already, in the end, you'll have incredible shots of your hot wife-to-be or stud-ly husband-to-be. I'd put my happy face on if I knew I was going to get a good shot of my man. I have a shot of my husband from our e-session and if it ever was destroyed, I would pay thousands to replace. It's just that valuable to me.

Image courtesy Courtney Aaron

5a. Engagement sessions as an intro to portrait sessions. I'm a firm believer that engagements and wedding day are not the only days you should be professionally captured. Maybe scheduling an engagement session doesn't work out for you, or you're having/have had a friend do them out of convenience, or you're reading this thinking, "Darn, we're married now and totally should have done a session!" I absolutely love it when couples who have been married for some time schedule a portrait session. Why not celebrate your love and marriage through images. I call them "Just Because Sessions." (Just because you're in love, just because you want some updated portraits, just because you're awesome folks who love photography!) Personally, I can't wait for our next session! Mini-Aaron's aren't in the picture just yet and what we have planned for this upcoming session will be nothing short of awesome. You can stay tuned on my blog if you want to see the results!

I hope this has helped you form an opinion of your own on engagement sessions. There's no doubt there are so many benefits and it's really just all about you being in love, which is what all this crazy wedding stuff is all about anyway! Anything that celebrates love is something I'm a proud to support!