Why You Should Have an Engagement Photo Shoot {and some pics from mine}

Trust me. People actually do want to see the pictures.

I had always loved browsing the engagement photo galleries of my friends on Facebook. Even distant acquaintances I hadn’t spoken to in years; it was a joy to see high quality photos of them looking happy. But when it came down to my own engagement, the thought of spending money on a photographer to take casual shots of my fiancé and I felt amazingly narcissistic.

But then I got over it. I found that my real-life friends were very keen to see happy cutesy pictures of Liam and me; just as I had been/would be keen to see theirs.

To further justify ourselves, we had the best photos from our shoot turned into a photo-book that doubled as a guest book at the wedding. People absolutely loved browsing the pictures during the reception. Now when we flip though the book, it’s not just pictures of us, but the notes of best wishes and love from our family and friends. 2d90b-dsc_5899

It’s surprisingly romantic.

How could it not be? You’re engaged, thrilled about the wedding and life with your partner, and then you are told to cuddle, hug, kiss, and outright canoodle as much as possible. Our photographer kept saying “Seriously, you guys can’t get close enough” and Liam would hold me tighter, I’d rest my head on his cheek, we’d stare into each other’s eyes. At first it felt a bit much, but for heaven sake this was our engagement! A public declaration of love and commitment is literally what the whole wedding thing is about.


It’s great practice for the wedding day.

I’ve never been camera-shy, you can ask anybody, but Liam was more than a little worried about being photographed. The engagement shoot was a great way to get comfortable in front of a camera, as well as get use to the poses and directions from the photographer. We also picked up little tricks like keeping your fingers just a little bit apart for a relaxed looking hand. Your photographer is likely a pro, and working with them on getting great shots will be a lot less stressful on a day that’s not the most important day of your life.

hand placment

It’s an (other) opportunity to express yourself as a couple.

Our wedding was an expression of who we are as a couple; modern, classic, elegant, travel lovers with a modern classic elegant destination wedding. But we also love canoeing, roughing it in the wilderness, and being silly. We used our photo shoot to express that.

express yourself

It gets everyone excited for the wedding. Including you. 

Most of my engagement felt like a weird waking dream. Internally I was excited, nervous, and very preoccupied with both the planning and the fact that I was about to embark on the greatest journey of my life. But of course the rest of the world just kept spinning like it was nothing. When our photographer posted 9 “sneak peek” pictures from our shoot on Facebook, the overwhelming amount of likes and comments from friends was incredibly reassuring. People said that they couldn’t believe how close the date was getting, how happy we looked, and they started asking questions about what the wedding would be like. Even members of our gym were coming up to us to talk about it! The public announcement made, it was as if the flood-gates were open. Yes my wedding is a big deal. Yes other people care about it. Yes this is exciting! ring

It’s an opportunity to commemorate a special place. 

The cottage has been in my family for almost 50 years, I grew up spending my summers there. I joke that Liam started dating me for access to it … and he’s never outright denied that. He loves the lake and the woods as much as I do and it’s become a special place for both of us. The cottage didn’t work as an actual wedding venue, but using it as the location of our photo shoot meant that this special spot was part of the whole wedding experience.


You get to know your photographer.

Our photographer, Christine Aubrey, was recommended to me  by a long-time friend. We hired her after two e-mails and a brief look at her website -and that could have been it. She would have shown up to our reception, done great work and we would later have some fabulous pictures. But because we spent one lively afternoon together during our engagement, when she arrived at our wedding reception we hugged her like a friend. We offered her a drink, told her to eat some food, and treated her like she was another guest …  much nicer than having a stranger awkwardly walking around with a camera.

Liam and I both felt very comfortable asking Christine to take certain pictures of guests or small DIY details, where we might not have felt as at-ease had we not known her. A real professional will always do a professional job, but we certainly got more out of the experience having gotten familiar with our photographer during our engagement photo shoot. She also got to know us a little too, and I’m sure that will be reflected in the reception photos. I can’t wait to see them!



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