For Brides: 4 Reasons to Have an Engagement Session (With Your Wedding Photographer!)

Maymont Park Engagement Session Richmond, Virginia Wedding Photographer


Spring is right around the corner (I hope, I hope!) and we are getting so excited for our upcoming engagement sessions with our 2016 & 2017 wedding couples! Not only is winter oh-so-cold, but the trees and flowers are lacking their life. Spring is such a joyful time of the year for us, because we actually want to leave our house, go outside with our cameras and get back to being photographers!

With spring on its way, but not quite here yet, we wanted to start a blog series just for brides! And not just Rowlands Photography brides, but all brides! After just celebrating one year of marriage this past November, we still remember what it was like to plan our own wedding. The upcoming blogs in this “For Brides” series will include topics such as: tips on having the best engagement session, how to plan a nearly stress-free wedding day schedule, what you should bring the morning of your wedding (that most brides forget) and how to have the best bride and groom portraits on your wedding day. Let’s get started!

For Brides: 4 Reasons to Have an Engagement Session (With Your Wedding Photographer!)

1) Get to know your photographer!Rowlands Photography_0475

Imagine this: Here you are, getting ready on your wedding day with your best friends of 10+ years, your sisters and your mom, soaking in every emotional moment with one another as you are realizing that you are hours away from marrying the man of your dreams, which is making you teary and emotional with excitement and nervousness…and there’s a stranger in the corner of the room, just watching you.

How. Awkward.

THAT is how you could feel about your wedding photographer if you haven’t already been in front of their camera for your engagement session or *gasp* never met them at all prior to your wedding day.

As a former bride myself, I remember feeling at such ease knowing that the photographer I was already comfortable with from our engagement session was there to document our day. The time spent during an engagement session is quality time that you get to spend getting to know the person that will follow you around all day on your wedding day. Truly, other than your bridesmaids and maybe your mother, your photographer is going to be spending more time with you than anyone else on your wedding day. It’s so important that you spend time getting to know your photographer before your wedding day, whether that’s over coffee or just over social networks. You don’t have to become best friends with your photographer (though it would make your day even better), but you should genuinely like your photographer. Why? Because they are helping you to commemorate one of the most important days of your life! The better the relationship you have with your wedding photographer, the harder they will try on your wedding day to capture it in the best way possible. In the same respect, you want to know that your wedding photographer is going to love & serve you in the best way possible, so initiating a relationship with that person is one of the best ways to ensure they will do just that.


2) Learn the poses that you will do on your wedding day 

Learning Wedding Day Poses during your Engagement Session Virginia Wedding Photographer

For the average 20 something in 2016, most people are use to being in front of a camera. Whether it’s for a quick selfie with your best friend or a group photo with your family at Christmas, photos are a common, sometimes every day, occurrence in a person’s day-to-day life. We tag, we share, we post photos ALL day long on various social networks.

But when was the last time you were asked to stand face-to-face with your boyfriend and smile, but not kiss, and then slightly lean your foreheads together, and then kiss, and then pull away and smile again, etc…? It’s not something we do every day, right? This is why having an engagement session with your wedding photographer is crucial for learning the poses your photographer will most likely ask you to do again on your wedding day.

Not only will you be more comfortable in front of your wedding photographers camera this second time around (because remember, you’ve already gotten to know them during your engagement session and now you’re totally besties), but your after-ceremony portrait time can be cut in HALF because you already know exactly how your photographer wants you to pose! The quicker you can finish up your portraits with your new hubby, the sooner you can get into your reception and get the celebration started with your friends and family! Good things, all around!


3) Add extra decor to your wedding in easy way

DIY Guestbook Ideas for Weddings - Engagement Session - Rowlands Photography_0480



After your engagement session with your wedding photographer, you will most likely be posting and sharing all your favorite images on Facebook and Instagram. Your friends will be tagged, everyone you know will be commenting on them…and then what?

PRINT YOUR PHOTOS. Yes, print them. Like, on paper. 

In a day and age that everything is accessible online, it is not a common occurrence that people get their photos printed anymore. They often end up saved into a folder on the computer and forgotten about until it’s “#tbt” and you want to post them again.

Don’t let the photos from such a sweet moment of your relationship get forgotten about! These are cherished moments that you should be able to hold in front of you, flip through and reflect on when you were just blissfully engaged to the love of your life. Also, even though you think that everyone has seen your photos online, your sweet grandmother may not have made her way to a computer to see them. I guarantee that she would absolutely love to see them incorporated on your wedding day decorations, in some way. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Print your favorites and frame them individually and use them as table decorations or even just near the card table
  • Get a canvas made (for your future home) and use it as a decorating piece in your venue
  • Print them and give them as gifts to your mom, dad and grandparents; whoever is in your wedding that you want to thank in a special way
  • Make a book with all your engagement photos and use it as a guest book! (We did this and I LOVED the results! See example photo above.)

There are so many unique ways to incorporate your engagement photos in your wedding day that will allow guests to get a second look of the two of you before, when you were just two souls, and then as you wed and become one soul 🙂


4) Commemorate a special place

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The day he proposed is a day you will never forget. You will always remember how his hands shook in nervousness and he will always remember how beautiful you were when you cried from excitement. Some engagements are elaborate and planned, while others are simple and spontaneous. Regardless of your proposal story, your story is all yours and your engagement pictures should be a reflection of your story together.

If your proposal took place on beach, ask your photographer if you can do photos on the beach! If you proposal took place privately in your own home, ask your photographer to do your engagement photos at a place that is special to your relationship (i.e. a location you used to visit together, the place you met, the park you used to visit as a kid, etc.). Your photographer will be full of ideas of beautiful locations all over the area, but the most important part of taking your engagement photos is that they are real, true and genuine. Picking a location that has value in your relationship can be just the thing to make those sweet moments you share together even sweeter!


Michael & Chelsea






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