bride and groom stand on dge of cliff captured by james white hunter valley photographer

Are Engagement Photos worth Doing?

I’m Getting Married, Are Engagement Photos Worth It?

Sooooo, how did they do it?! I want to know all about the proposal! This is what get’s me out of bed in the morning, hearing peoples love stories, and getting excited about their weddings! Weddings are totally my jam! No surprise, I love weddings. I’m basically Ross from Friends (not sure if that’s an insult or not…he is a doctor after all!).

If you’ve been following me for a minute, you already know my stance on this question, but I still see it all the time. Are engagement photos worth it? I have plenty of information to help you answer this question! Should we dive right in, and look at all the pro’s and cons? I promise to try and provide a balanced argument this time! I’m going to try keep this concise for you guys, let’s do this!

1. Overall Benefit for your Wedding Day!

Let’s not mince words, there are no cons to this one! Having an opportunity to work with your photographer before the big day is always a great idea. You do a trial makeup and hair run, yes? You also do multiple dress and suit fittings. Many people even do trial ceremony runs with event coordinators or celebrants. Why? Because it is important to feel comfortable on the day. Knowing in advance what is going to happen is key to this!

By taking the opportunity to get some engagement photos done, you are giving yourself the opportunity to see how your photographer works. You are also, very importantly, giving them the opportunity to work with you, and assess how to get the absolute best out of you.

TLDR: You won’t feel awkward on your wedding day, you will feel confident, and you will cherish your photos forever!

2. Engagement Photos are Multi-Purpose!

How? They are just photos after all. In the past, many of my clients have opted to use these images, predominantly for 2 reasons. The first is they are often used on ‘save-the-dates’. This is perfect, as it reminds people exactly why they are attending this wedding, they can see your love, and it sits on their fridge until the wedding! Secondly, I often walk into wedding receptions to see a display of amazing engagement photos lined up on the guestbook table. This looks beautiful, and again, as guests sign the book it reminds them of the beautiful couple they are their celebrating.

Now, of course, let us not forget a third point…they are beautiful photos! They will serve you forever! Just as you will look back on your wedding photos, you will also look back on these engagement photos. They capture a really special time in your life, as you plan for the future together. Cherish this!

TLDR: They can be used on stationery such as ‘save-the-dates’ and as a display at the wedding. They are also beautiful to have around your home!

3. Combination of trials!

What the hell does that mean James?! Well, remember above we discussed how you would 100% get a hair and makeup trial (if you aren’t, check out why you NEED to!)? Why not combine that with a photographer trial? You have two options basically.

First option is to pay money, usually a few hundred, to get the hair and makeup trial done. Then look at yourself in the mirror to assess it, or have someone take a poor quality photo on their phone and you judge whether these people are the right people for the biggest day of your life off that.

The second option is, you pay a few hundred dollars for hair and makeup, then you make your way to a local beach, National Park, forest, cliff, and do an engagement photoshoot. Obviously this way, you will get to see professional images showing how the hair and makeup look. This is exactly how it is going to look in your wedding photos. There is no better way to assess the hair and makeup than this, and at the same time, assess your potential wedding photographer.

TLDR: Why not do an engagement photoshoot after your hair and makeup trial. Instead of wasting all that money, get a photoshoot, see what they really look like in professional images. Then you can choose whether these vendors, including photographer, are right for you! 3 birds with 1 stone!

4. But what about the cost?

The magic question. Before we start here, I want to remind you of a very important point. There are 2 ways to look at cost, first as a pure nominal value, second as a relative value. This is hugely important, not just for photography but for every vendor you will deal with so please check out this link and read more about how to assess the price of things for your wedding.

So, the cost. Well, yes, let’s not beat around the bush. Nominally speaking, good photography is not cheap. But on your wedding day, do you want cheap? This isn’t just some party you can redo, it’s the biggest, best party of your life, with hopefully no do-overs ever! Some photographers may charge as much as $1,500 for an engagement session including all images. Luckily for you, my engagement sessions are included in all my wedding packages (which you can view here). So if you book me in for your wedding, you get a complimentary session, how good is that?! On top of that, if after that session you realise you can’t stand me (never happened!) or you hate the photos, I will refund your deposit, and suggest some other photographers for you. Risk free!

TLDR: The real cost with engagement photos comes from not doing them. What if you pick the wrong person? What if you have clashing personalities, or ideals? It is well worth the cost. 


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