21 Mar

Why Engagement Photos?

Posted by Brent Looyenga
Will & Lisa, Luna Restaurant Wedding, Spokane Wedding Photographers, Wedding and Engagement Photography

The Why Series: Engagement Photos

This is the fourth installment of an ongoing series of posts called “The Why Series.” These are where I explain why I include certain things in my wedding packages, and why they are so important. Things like why I include two photographers, why digital files are so great, and why all-day coverage means more than ten hours, and why that’s essential for what I provide.

Every wedding package I have includes the engagement files, as well. The importance of these extends beyond the simple value of having beautiful engagement photos, and I can’t wait to tell you why an engagement session before your wedding is so helpful. Simply put, engagement photos allow us to work together before your wedding. Read on!

With every wedding package I offer engagement photos of varying degrees, some sessions are longer, some shorter, some include a slideshow, and I’ve even been known to make an engagement video. But there are many reasons for me to include these with my wedding packages beyond giving my clients some amazing images. In short, the best reason engagement photos are included can be summed up with a single word: relationship. By including engagement photos, I allow the couple and myself to work together before their wedding. The nervousness of wondering how I’ll direct, or what I’ll say, or how they will look, etc., will be gone. It allows us to get to know each other and develop a relationship to the point that when I arrive at a wedding, we’re not being introduced — we’re catching up. I think of Corbin and Abby, where we had a beautiful shoot in downtown Spokane and then moved to the Spokane airport for more photos. We decided to carpool to the airport, so I was able to talk to them, hear how they got together, and learn more about who they are. I think of how, after the photo shoot was over, Corbin took me in his plane over Spokane. We have a history now (even if it is short). When I photograph their wedding this summer, I won’t be introducing myself to them, I’ll be catching up, and that’s incredibly valuable.

This is helpful for the couple, too. Because we work together before the wedding, they get to understand what it’s like not only to be photographed, but also how photo delivery works, how the website is easy to use and share, and how the editing process works. It takes the guessing out of the biggest day of the couple’s life. They know how I act, how I edit, how I deliver, and how I communicate. Because of this, couples tend to be more relaxed and more casual; as a direct result, they look better and more natural in their photos.

Certainly, there is value for the couple in having photos they love where they aren’t wearing a tux and a white dress. Engagement photos aren’t as bound by time as wedding photos are. They could have taken place a year after your wedding, or a year before. When someone walks into your house and sees an engagement photo on your wall, they don’t think of your wedding, they think of the couple, and there’s great value in that. This is a small reason why I include engagement photos, but it adds to the pile.

Another great reason I include engagement photos with every wedding package is because most couples want photos with their invites and save-the-date cards. Including the photos makes this an easy bonus, and allows them to feel like they “have the ball rolling” with regards to planning and invites.

Perhaps one of the reasons I include engagement photos is the for the value of the relationship to me, personally. It’s certainly nice to have the photos, and to be able to give them to clients, but by far I love the relationship aspect of the engagement shoot better than anything else. By the time the whole thing is said and done, I don’t want to be photographing two clients, but two friends.


Brent Looyenga is a Spokane Wedding Photographer based out of Coeur d’Alene. He loves people and specializes in wedding, engagement, family, and senior photography. You can like Looyenga Photography on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

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