James Paul Correia Photography wrote today’s guest post. Thanks James, this is a wonderful source for brides.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Now that you’re engaged you must be busy planning the details of your big day, from flowers and invites to vendors such as photo and music. With all that is going on it can be easy to overlook this unique stage of your lives. It’s a time filled with anticipation, joy and love; capturing this moment in your life can often be just as exciting as your wedding day.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Whether you are keen on having your photo taken or not, the numerous benefits of taking part in an engagement shoot (popularly referred to as an e-shoot) may not be immediately apparent, so here are a few reasons you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity for that pre-wedding photoshoot!

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 1. Get yourself some sweet photos!

Sounds pretty obvious, right? But as time inches closer to the big day you start to find yourself getting busier and busier. Early in the engagement is the perfect time for an e-shoot; while the excitement of the proposal and visions of the future are still fresh in your mind, that emotion will be clearly evident in your photos.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Sure you’ll have photos on your wedding day, but this is different! Your wedding is the day planned for a party with your family and friends, but this shoot is all about YOU. While the wedding day will flash before your eyes, the e-shoot is slow paced and allows you to really soak in the time you have together. Grabbing those raw emotions just between the two of you is a rare opportunity and you’ll be glad to have this to look back on when you’re old and grey. Also, wouldn’t it be great to have some fab photos of you NOT in wedding threads? Wedding gowns and tuxedos aren’t exactly our everyday attire.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 2. A chance to let loose and get creative.

You have an opportunity to take some truly unique photos, different from any you’ve had before, so make good use of it! Start with the location and pick a place that means something to both of you. It can be where you got engaged, a first date or just a very memorable date, where you met (maybe your highschool/university). It can be any place that puts you at ease, something familiar that naturally makes you feel good, such as the zoo, a beach, or even your regular coffee shop. Where ever you decide, make it mean something to you.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Don’t forget to get creative! You can create a theme (bake some cookies together) or bring props (maybe you are Scrabble junkies). Whatever it is, think colorful, let loose and tap into your imagination.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 3. Your photos are actually pretty useful!

Speaking of creativity, your photos aren’t limited to the confines of a picture frame! Many savvy do-it-yourselfers are using their e-shoot photos in many crafty ways. Use them for save-the-date cards, receptions seating charts and table indicators, wedding programs, guest books, or even just a really awesome coffee table book for home.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 4. Practice for the big day.

Chances are you haven’t had your photos taken by a professional before, so how do you know what to do? On your wedding day you’ll be surrounded by cameras, not just the one you hired. With everything that is going on during the day, it’s great to have one less thing to worry about.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Whether you are camera shy or a photogenic vixen, the e-shoot is a great opportunity to instill confidence and build comfort in front of the camera. It can be daunting to have a camera follow you, it happens to all of us, and it’s best to get that anxiety out of the way in advance. In no time, you’ll stop focusing on the camera and more on each other. Your nerves will calm and your stress will float away. Your interactions with each other will become more natural and you’ll learn to avoid the innate reflex to stiff up and smile directly into the camera.

If you want to really make it a true dry run, try coordinating your e-shoot with your hair and makeup trials; it will allow you the chance to see how they show up in photos.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 5. Letting your photographer get to know YOU.

Not only is it good practice for you, it’s also a great trial run for your photographer. It allows him/her to see how you interact; to learn if you are timid or big on the PDA. They will learn about your personalities, whether you are goofy or serious, and how much direction you’ll need or want. It’s a great time to learn about your love story, chat about your wedding plans, and push to see how affectionate you can get in front of the camera. The opposite is also true, you’ll be able to communicate what you like and don’t like, as well as your preference for angles, expressions, lighting, and editing styles. All this will allow them to tailor the photos to make your images more personal and memorable.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 6. Getting to know your photographer.

It’s great to have your photographer get to know you, but it’s more important that you get to know THEM. Get a taste of their shooting style and learn how they direct you. It will be very similar to how they direct you on the wedding day so you’ll know exactly what to expect. Chat with them about your wedding plans and get tips about planning out the schedule. Your photographer has seen it all and probably has a ton of advice on how to organize the day and minimize rushing and delays.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Lastly, think about this, you will likely see your photographer more than anyone else on your wedding day … including your fiancé! The e-shoot is a perfect ice breaker to transform your photographer from a ‘stranger’ taking your photos to a ‘friend’ taking your photos. Establish a relationship with your photographer (and all your vendors for that matter). Get to know his personality & hobbies to the point where you feel comfortable enough with them that you’ll look forward to spending time with them on your wedding day.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

By the end of it all you’ll be ready for anything the day throws at you, you’ll have some fantastic photos and you’ll be pumped for the big day! Keep Smiling!


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  • Katie @ Lovebird Productions

    Such a good article! I don’t think new brides realize the importance of having an engagement session. Passing this along to a few new brides :)

  • Marit

    Such a great topic! We have many more great guest posts in the pipeline that you will be able to share with your brides. :)

  • Jackie Lamas

    4, 5, & 6 are the reasons I tell my clients it’s so important to have an engagement session done. Great post!

  • http://www.marithanson.com/ Marit

    Thanks, Jackie! It is so important for brides to feel comfortable with their photographer and vice versa.

  • http://www.whiteivoryphotography.com Sandra Mikalauskas

    Great advice. I always give my clients about how important an engagement session is. It helps set the stage for successful wedding photos!

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Stealingsugar stealingsugar

    I can’t stand seeing pictures of people kissing…ewww!