a man sitting on rocks and a woman looking at the camera in front of Boulder's mountains


Why You Should Have an Engagement Session

Featuring a Boulder Mountain Engagement Session

Last night I met up with Cynthia and Tom to do an engagement session for them. I met them at their home and we headed out to one of the most scenic areas of Boulder, Colorado–up Flagstaff Mountain. As the light sparkled and then dwindled, we walked to scenic locations to get images of them posing, snuggling, walking, sitting in the light. As I photographed them, I learned a bit more about them–I was reminded of how they met, where they’ve lived, their sense of style, their wedding plans. I learned how they react to being photographed by me. It was a fun time for me, and I hope it was a fun time for them.

When we got back to the car to head down into Boulder, I asked them this: what if instead of engagement session, I pushed for a dinner out with my clients? I have been thinking about treating my wedding couples to a pre-wedding meal so that we can chat about the wedding, last minute details, how the couple met and their love story, but broader things too like interests, future dreams, careers, music, politics…

Cynthia hesitated, and then explained reasons she enjoyed the photography session. I took away that she enjoyed getting to know her soon-to-be spouse through photography. These were special moments to be shared only with them, and it was fun to see Tom in this light. She liked working with me and knowing that the wedding day photography would be even easier. She liked the idea of having professional photos of her and Tom that didn’t involve wedding clothing. She elaborated more on several points, and I hope I summarized a few of them accurately.

So, without further ado, I’ve put together a list of top reasons to have an engagement session with your wedding photographer:

Top reasons to have an engagement session with your wedding photographer:

  1. We get to know each other better.
    I get to learn more about your wedding day, and hopefully you’ll pick up a few things about me. This way, when I am witnessing and capturing the intimate moments of one of the most amazing days of your life* I won’t be a complete stranger.
  2. I learn some of your photography quirks.
    I don’t need to know these things, but it sure is nice. I’ll know if you’re “a blinker” (as I call them!). I’ll know if you feel awkward or comfortable with more or less posing direction from me. I’ll know if your glasses have some sort of filter on the lens that makes it hard to see your eyes in pictures. I’ll learn some of the body parts that you are a bit self-conscious of so that on your wedding day, I can adjust my photography just so.
  3. You get to see me in action.
    You will be more prepared for what to expect from me on your wedding day. You’ll have a better sense of what I mean when I adjust poses so that I can photograph you more efficiently on your day (and get you back to the people you should be spending the day with sooner).  You’ll know that I mumble to myself when setting up scenes to make sure I am accounting for what’s in the frame, adjusting my camera settings, moving around…and that you should just ignore it! Or laugh?! You’ll learn that I tell the worst jokes in the world.
  4. You’ll be a photo rock star on your wedding day.
    As in, you’ll be even more comfortable posing for wedding photos on your wedding day as the e-session requires a bit more posing/acting/time than the authenticity of wedding portraits.
  5. You’ll have more photos of you.
    You can give these photos as gifts to very close family members (Does that sound a little vain?! But I know my grandma loves the framed image I gave her from my e-session!). I encourage my clients to dress up, look dapper, bring props…these images will serve as a reminder for who you guys were before marriage, before all the craziness that can happen if you choose to have a family, buy homes, focus more on careers, etc.*Please note that in point 1, I did say one of the most amazing days of your life. Although I think weddings are absolutely spectacular and special, I hope that your life (and my life) is full of these types of days! The first full day of marriage, the birth of children, getting a new puppy or kitten, lying on the beach in the Caribbean with absolutely no cares, hiking a 14er, getting to spend a day with a dear old friend, witnessing an incredible performance by your favorite band…I hope that life is full of days that rival and surpass wedding day.

So, after a bit of thought, I do think an engagement session makes the most sense. If for some reason you cannot do one, I think a meal with your photographer is a fine option and better than nothing. If you are hosting a destination wedding in Colorado and cannot meet me before the day of, we should chat on the phone before you come into town to go over everything one last time (instead of just emailing).

Thanks again to Cynthia and Tom–I am so excited for your wedding!!! Below is a very quick sneak peek of two images I pulled from our engagement session last night.

All images © Susannah Allen 2016

add a comment

  1. Cynthia says:

    What an insightful blog post! This definitely captures the heart of what we experienced during the engagement session, and I love these photos. Thank you so much for a fun outing!

  2. Jim Beard says:

    I love my niece!!! I hope she and Tom spend many happy years together!!

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I've been photographing families professionally since 2006. I am a wife, mama to 2 boys, companion to 2 cats who are named after members of the royal British family, a former preschool teacher. I love running, hiking 14ers, sparkly clothes, the band Phish, river float trips, St. John USVI, farm CSAs, and Colorado blue skies.