A lot of people ask, “when should we book our engagement session?”. They’re asking because we include them with all of our wedding services, but regardless of whether you’ve hired us for your wedding, or you’re just hiring someone for the engagement photos, there’s no right or wrong answer here. After knowing how much notice your photographer needs, there are three main points you’ll want to consider: How far out your wedding date is, How you’ll use the photos, and what season you’d like to see in the background.
How far out is your wedding?
Engagement photos aren’t engagement photos unless you’re engaged when they’re created. That’s not to say post-wedding shoots don’t have their own kind of special value, but engagement photos exist to help commemorate the whole period of time between dating and marriage: The courtship.
You’ll want to make sure you have enough time to hold your session before your wedding day shows up. But how far out from your wedding day depends mostly on how you plan to use the images
How will you use the engagement photos?
Some couples are excited about their engagement session because of the keepsakes it will produce and memories it will make. Others, plan to use the images in albums, or as decorations on their wedding day.
If you plan to use the images on the wedding day, it’s important to make sure you’ve allowed plenty of time to hold the session, for the turn around on the images, and to choose, make or order the decorations. If you’re going to be using engagement photos for save the dates, or invitations, I recommend holding your session 6 to 10 months in advance of your wedding day. If you need the images for the day of your wedding, plan to hold your session 2 to 3 months out.
If the engagement photos are not crucial for the wedding day itself, you can hold your session a month or less in advance of the wedding day. This comes with a special advantage. It creates a fresh experience with your photographer that will be more familiar to you on your wedding day and make the photography experience more comfortable.
What season do you want in the background?
Holding your session early has the benefit of flexibility for choosing what season you want, and by extension, what kind of attire you wear.
Some couples prefer the variety of clothing shooting in different seasons affords them, or the locations that become more reasonable in nice weather. On the other hand, some couples like to keep things simple, by shooting in conditions similar to those on their wedding day.
Weigh these considerations when you decide when to hold your engagement sessions. If you have specific needs for the photos on the wedding day, or particular locations and attire are important to you, plan to shoot as early as possible. On the other hand, if there’s no pressing need for the images, don’t do it early just to get it off the list. Use it as a way to improve the wedding day itself.