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Engagement Sessions
by Jen Bebb

The engagement session appears to be taking on a life of its own with today’s photography-savvy couples. While the purpose of the session remains the same, what can be done with the images afterwards is limitless.

Photographers and couples alike find that the engagement session is a great way to learn to work together. Most photographers have learned the hard way that some couples are uncomfortable or freeze in front of the camera. Some couples are conditioned to smile every time a lens is turned their way, while others blink. This session helps photographers iron out those kinks—learning what the best way is to approach each couple, how best to direct or guide, and what kind of interaction works best.

In turn, you get a chance to work more intimately with the person, or people, who will be with you for the duration of your wedding day. This is an important step to establishing a relationship of trust that is integral for photographers to best do their job. Openly communicating about what helps you relax or what makes you feel the most comfortable is very important at this stage. Your photographer wants to know how to best work with you to create the kinds of images you expect.

And while learning how to “dance” with your photographer is an important reason to have an engagement session, today’s couples have many different ways to creatively use the images they make with their photographer.

One of the biggest trends we are seeing, with nearly 75% of our couples choosing this option, is the blending of your engagement images and your guest’s wishes. You choose ten to fifteen of your favorite images and your photographer can create a book that combines those images with blank space for your guests to record their thoughts and dreams for you. The guests will spend more than a passing moment poring over the images and commenting on how amazing the two of you look. You invite them to be part of your celebration in a way that is much more permanent and intimate than simply signing their names in a book that quickly gets put in a drawer. The engagement guest book is a piece of art, typically designed to complement your final album. It’s a book that can sit on your coffee table or book shelf for years to come.

An alternative that we see slightly less often is the signature matte. When you choose an option like this one, your photographer will enlarge an image for you and supply you with substantial matte around your image. Your guests are able to sign the matte and you have a permanent, wall mounted record, of your wedding guests.

The final item we frequently see is the single framed print to display at the wedding. With this option, you choose one or two images which your photographer will have printed for you. Most often mounted on an easel near the guest book, you can take this home with you to hang right away.

There are a number of other increasingly popular ways to use your engagement images. You can send you guests a save-the-date card with one of your images on it, use the images on your actual wedding invitation, and have them on your programs. We have seen some couples use different engagement images in place of numbers on the tables at their wedding reception and/or as place cards to mark where each guest will sit.

The most important thing to remember is that this is your wedding. It’s a celebration of the love and relationship that the two of you have. Using your engagement images to personalize your wedding is a unique way to incorporate your personalities into the celebration.>


Jen Bebb and her husband Steven form Bebb Studios and are professional wedding photographers from Vancouver Canada. Voted one of the Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the world.

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