So many photographers these days include engagement sessions in their wedding and elopement packages, but why? It’s a common misconception that engagement sessions are just for getting a few cute photos to put on your wedding website and save the dates. So why should you even have engagement photos taken? Do you even need engagement photos if you’re eloping? Why do so many photographers insist on doing engagement sessions? I’ll show you with this incredible engagement session from the first weekend in May in Newport, Rhode Island.
Why should you have engagement photos taken?
The first and most important reason to have engagement photos taken is so that you can get used to being in front of the camera. It’s very different having a professional follow you around and kiss each other over and over again rather than when your friends snap a few photos when you’re out to dinner together. It can feel super awkward! And nobody wants to be feeling awkward on their wedding day! You will get a grasp on what poses feel good, how to be more relaxed and act naturally, and get to see exactly how all those prompts and poses turned into beautiful photos (or what not to do on your wedding day – stiff arm anyone?) It also gives you a chance to get to know your photographer better – how they operate, what type of direction they give, and who exactly this person is that’ll be third wheeling with you on your wedding day.
During this engagement session in Newport with Katherine and Jon, they felt a little unsure of what to do at first so I started them out by just taking a little stroll around downtown Newport to see the sights and loosen up a bit. Then, as the night went on and the sun went down, they got way more into it, and you can see just how natural and fun it was!
Do you need to do an engagement session even if you’re eloping?
I mean, you never HAVE to do anything, but I highly encourage it for the same reasons above. You’ll get comfortable in front of the camera, and get to know your photographer better. Not to mention, it’s also another excuse to celebrate the two of you and this time in your life. You’ll only ever be engaged once for a short amount of time, but you’ll be married forever!
Katherine and Jon are eloping this summer with their closest friends and family, and they still wanted to do an engagement session with me. We also made a whole day of it and had lunch and took a break for drinks halfway through the afternoon. It was a great time to get to talk about their day and check in with how they were feeling after all those photos!
How long should your engagement photo session be?
Every photographer is different, but I like to make a day of it (or at least an afternoon). The photos themselves only take about 2ish hours total, but I use it as a time to get to know my couples better. After all, I’m going to be there on their wedding or elopement day all up in their business capturing those intimate moments. That calls for a little drink and chat sesh at the very least. Make your engagement session a mini-adventure! Go to a fun brewery that you’ve always wanted to try, spend the afternoon in a cute little downtown area, go bar hopping, try some delicious food, go on a tour… do whatever the hell you want!! Make it more than just going into the woods for a few awkward posed photos. Let your photographer document the two of you making incredible memories together and escape the stress of planning your big day for just a little while. Remember why you’re doing all of this in the first place.
Tips for having your engagement session in Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is one of my favorite locations to photograph, It’s relatively small and easy to navigate, but there is so much variety in its locations. Here are just a few of my favorites:
- Downtown Newport – Bowen’s Wharf, Thames Street, Brick Alley
- Ocean Drive – Brenton Point State Park
- Cliff Walk
- Goat Island
- Salve Regina University
- Fort Adams State Park
- Second Beach (Middletown, RI)
Downtown is super busy so if you want photos without people in the background, just walk up and down the side streets. They have a similar New England charm without the crowds. The same goes for photos (like the one below) on the docks. Just wander around a bit, and you’ll find some adorable little docks to take photos on without all the people.
The busiest times of year are between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and in the off season a lot of place close earlier, but it’s still just as beautiful in the winter especially along the coast. Think epic wintery sunsets on Ocean Drive! For more inspiration check out these photos from our epic Newport engagement session that lasted all afternoon. What a bunch of rockstars Katherine and Jon were!
If you want to plan your epic engagement session with me too reach out here! Can’t wait to chat soon! Cheers, lovers!