Why do we need an engagement shoot? Rob Holley explains why . . .

Rob of Robert Holley Photography says the most frequent question he is asked by potential clients is . . . "Why do we need an engagement shoot?" His answer is always the same . . . "Let me count the ways....". Today, Rob joins us with a fresh look at the engagement session as he believes it's the key contributing factor to the success of his business. Read on for Rob's take on why you should have an engagement shoot with your photographer . . .

In order to give life to a client's vision, a photographer's work starts well before the wedding day. The engagement session allows for the development of a rapport with the client. They have a chance to observe them as a couple and establish an atmosphere of relaxation. Many insights can be garnered during this process.

• Are the couple comfortable with each other?  
• How is the "chemistry" between them?
• How is their love demonstrated?  
• Are they at ease in front of the camera?  

The answers to these questions dictate which direction to take with the e-session.

Here is a specific example: 

The client was booked through email and the engagement session is the first meeting. I would start the session with a discussion of their expectations and concerns. The majority of people will convey "they do not photograph well" or "they always look awkward and stiff".

Start off by walking them through the process. Explain to the client exactly how the shoot is going to unfold. Chances are they have never worked with a professional photographer before so now is the time to explain how the process is going to work. 

Begin shooting the couple doing something simple. Have them walk while holding hands and chatting. It's not important that these images may not end up being used. The idea is to get the couple into the process. Let them have the experience of being shot by a professional. Encourage them, scold them, play with them, but most of all keep shooting. You never know when that perfect moment between two young lovers will appear.

An engagement session is like a dress rehearsal before the "big show". It is designed to be a more casual photo session of the couple but lessons are learned that serve well on the wedding day. Most couples hire a photographer for their creative approach but the engagement shoot helps the photographer determine just how creative the couple wants to be. The ability to produce unique photos on the wedding day is greatly enhanced by an understanding of the personalities of the bride and groom.  

And, now in Robert's voice . . . "Following the engagement shoot I meet with my clients to share the photos and compare notes. I find that a thorough discussion of the engagement session enlightens both the client and me. This meeting builds confidence in my abilities to achieve the goals the client sets forth. Most important, it provides me with another chance to observe the bride and groom together. I look for the ways that their love and commitment expressed itself, so I can document some of those same emotions at the wedding. In my view, good wedding photographers are paid to capture love. Great photographers also archive the hopes and dreams of a couple about to start their journey in life together."

Thank you Robert for joining my blog today with a great article on "Why Do We Need an Engagement Shoot?" If you would like to see a real wedding by Robert , please click here.

photos shown throughout the post are courtesy of Robert Holley Photography