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        If you just got engaged and are starting to look into what the next few weeks, months or years of wedding planning will hold, the question of engagement shoots inevitably comes up. Why do we do them? They aren’t of the actual engagement (we already did that), so what’s the point? We had a friend hiding in the woods when he popped the question, so we can just use those photos for our invitations. I don’t really like my picture being taken, so let’s just skip that. These are totally normal questions and I am here to give my perspective. Maybe it changes your mind, maybe not, but here are a few reasons I think these shoots are so important (and why I give them away to all wedding couples).

        Reason 1 – Get to know the photographer

        Couple kisses engagement photo

        Hey Brides, you’re going to spend almost as much time with your photographer on your wedding day as your Maid of Honor. If this person is going to hang out just as much as your bestie, it’s pretty important that you’re pretty tight as well. How else can you become new BFFs with someone unless you spend some quality time. This means it’s the inbetween moments that are so important. Be yourselves. Laugh, tell jokes, tell stories and share life together. Building that friendship is great so that when the big day rolls around, you don’t see a person with a camera hanging around, but rather your old friend who is going to hang out. I promise that mind set makes everyone more relaxed on the wedding day and fun.

        Reason 2 – Get to know the couple

        Why are engagements important

        From a photographer’s perspective, I’m watching the couple during the whole shoot. I certainly don’t meant that in a creepy way, but I’m looking for indications about how you two work together. I’m looking to see if you have tendencies in how you like to stand together. I’m looking to see what jokes make you really laugh. I’m looking to see if the groom has really great dimples, but only when he is really honestly belly laughing. Trust me, I’ve got a quiver full of things to try (don’t worry, most are self deprecating), but I’m just looking to see what makes real, honest emotion. Once I know that, I know exactly which few to use to maximize photo times of the wedding day.

        Reason 3 – Practice

        Why are engagements important

        I can’t even tell you how many people start engagements by saying “I haven’t had my picture taken since my Senior portraits.” That’s totally normal, but is also why we want to spend a little time practicing that smile. I want to help you feel comfortable in front of that lens and to feel confident together. Sure you know how to kiss, but things are a little different when someone has a 50mm f1.2 pointed at your face. Practice is going to help you forget that it’s there and just be yourselves.

        Reason 4 – They’re fun

        Why are engagements important

        Let’s be honest, this is the most important one. When else do you get a good excuse to go walk in a park, grab some ice cream, read a book or climb a mountain with the person you’ve decided to spend the rest of your life with and have someone to document it. We want to create memories that stand alone as a time that makes you smile.

        Reason 5 – Using the images

        1 - photo

        Notice how I put this last? That is not because these are the least important reason, but because they are the reason that many people think of when they imagine doing engagements. It is really important to make photos that you can use in save the dates or your website. But if we get to have fun along the way, that’s even better.

        Did I forget anything? Why else do you think engagments are important? Let me know in the comments below!

        JTobiason Photography | Seattle Wedding Photographer | Why are engagements important? | Joe@JTobiason.com

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