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Engagement photos: Indulgent or practical?

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Engagement photos can easily be pushed by the wayside with all the work that goes into planning your wedding. They may also seem like an unnecessary expense if your photographer isn’t comping them. But before you eliminate them from your to-do list forever, here are some reasons why you might want to schedule that session before your big day.

You get to know your photographer

Your wedding day will be filled with hefty doses of excitement and nerves. You can eliminate some of those jitters by meeting and working with your photographer in advance. An engagement session is an ideal way for you and your beloved to understand the photographer’s style and personality — and vice versa.

In fact, Brooklyn photographer Steven Rosen likes to think of engagement photo shoots as the “getting to know you session.”

“It helps [my clients] understand how they’re going to be working with the photographer on their wedding day,” says Rosen. “From the photographer’s vantage point, it gives the photographer the opportunity to observe the couple together and understand how they interact.”

Still need more convincing? An engagement session can help make for even better wedding day photos.

“If you’re already familiar with my language, you’ll be able to act natural as I’m giving you gentle posing suggestions when the big day comes,” says New York photographer Sarah Tew. “For example, instead of explaining what I want you to do, I can just say ‘pop your front knee, Jessica’ and you’ll know what I mean immediately.”

You can get comfortable in front of the lens

Most people are not too keen on having their picture taken — despite the popularity of selfies. On your wedding day, you will have hundreds if not thousands of photos taken of yourself and your love, so an engagement photo session can help you get used to it.

“The vast majority of people are uncomfortable having their picture taken,” says Rosen. “This gives the couple an opportunity to work with the photographer in advance of the wedding day so they can get used to having their picture taken.”

By the time your wedding day rolls around, you will be old hands at getting your photograph taken professionally.

“It will make you much more relaxed on wedding day,” says Tew.

You can get the photos you want

On the day of your wedding, you will have a limited amount of time as your family and friends compete for your attention. But during an engagement session, it can be just the two of you for as long as you need.

“The focus is on making amazing images that will capture your relationship, your romance, your sense of humor and play together, all against the backdrop of this beautiful city of ours,” says Tew.

The session can also provide you the opportunity to include pets in your photos that may not be invited to the wedding. And, maybe best of all, you can wait for the perfect day, when the conditions are just right for photos.

“You don’t have control of the weather on the wedding day, but in my case, if the weather is looking bad for an engagement session, I’ll reschedule it,” says Rosen.

You can use the photos in a variety of ways

Of course, the ultimate advantage of an engagement photo session is the photos themselves. They can be used for save the date cards or magnets, wedding invitations, sign-in books, wedding favors, a wedding announcement in your local paper, or simply to have framed in your home.

“It’s very rare to have a professional set of photographs, so don’t let them go to waste,” says Brooklyn shutterbug Kristina Hill. “You can incorporate them into your table numbers, favors, decorations … the opportunities are endless!”

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