Is an engagement session really worth it?


Engagement photo at the Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland Museum of Art

Why take engagement photos?

Have you ever wondered, “is an engagement session really necessary?” 

Most couples have and honestly, it makes sense. Being in front of the camera can be scary. I often hear, “we never look good in pictures”, “I’m always so awkward in front of the camera”, or concern that the groom just isn’t going to dig frolicking around taking pictures because family pictures went so well during the holidays… 😉 

Now don’t get me wrong, I know many a groom that is as gung-ho as the bride or, at the very least, is willing to take one for the team (shout out to my groom who grew a 70’s inspired mustache for his bride to complete the styled engagement look!). But occasionally, I have a bride that isn’t quite sure how well the groom is going to take the idea of an engagement session in the Alps and she’d like to have her pitch ready.

Ready, set, catch. See what I did there?? 😉 

Reason number 1: Opportunity for us to get to know each other.

If you’ve spent any time with our team at all, we’ve probably talked about this. Working with us, I cannot overstate the importance of this one. We are NOT that photography studio that shows up on your wedding day and snaps a few pictures and taps out. We actually want to get to know you both. Why? Because ultimately photography is storytelling. At least in the way that we do it. And in order to tell a story we need to know something about you as people, as family, as friends. I started this wedding photography studio over 14 years ago with the idea that you need beautiful imagery yes, but nothing will be as valuable in the end as documenting the real celebration with the people you love. Whether we’re photographing in Cleveland, Ohio or we’re adventuring somewhere around the world, my team can’t pull that off if we don’t know who you are as people. 

Over the course of your engagement on the way to your wedding day, the team will spend hours communicating, planning, and getting to know you both. Traditionally, I will spend a lot less time with one of you. Having both of you in one place is a really big deal. Getting a feel for you guys as a couple is huge. Watching how you interact, how you look at each other, what you laugh at, it all helps us tell your story. The more foundation we have, the stronger the relationship on your wedding day, and that’s a win for everyone. 

Reason number 2: Freedom to get comfortable in front of the camera.

Because most people aren’t photographed on a regular basis, (unless they’re a model, go you) it’s natural for there to be a few jitters in front of a camera. That is totally normal and totally expected. The most important thing to note here is having your photos professionally taken is NOT the same as the snapshots or selfies you’ve had in the past. It is an entirely different experience and one that I think you might be surprised how easy and fluid it really is. You’ll never have to wonder where to put your hands, you’ll never have to wonder where to stand. Even though we are editorial engagement photographers we’re always riding that balance of discretion and comfort, making sure that you know exactly how to feel confident in front of the camera. 

What you will do is a whole lot of laughing and remembering why you fell in love in the first place. Also, there is a 75% chance you’ll make me cry (if I’m the one photographing) when you share some of your love story with me. Bonus entertainment. 😉 It also means that on your actual wedding day when we walk into the room both you and your partner are going to be totally relaxed and excited to see all of us. It makes my heart happy when we walk in a groom’s getting ready room and he introduces us to his groomsmen by saying; “these guys are awesome, it’s not like getting your photo taken”. Win. 

Reason number 3: No pressure.

No matter how brilliant your wedding timeline is (and believe me, if you’re a Dragonfly bride, we will work with your planning team to make sure that the timeline is brilliant), there is still a strong pace on a wedding day with a lot of unknowns. An engagement session is absolutely stress-free in that we can explore, take time, do something really different and there aren’t any other things on the agenda.

Reason number 4: Good coffee.

Here is the thing, we really need to keep everyone happy on an engagement shoot day. Obviously, right? Right. If we spend more than, oh say 5 or 6 minutes with anyone on our team we will probably stop off for a good cup of coffee or bring snacks with us. Because, hey, if we’re going to be friends and all… NOTE: this especially applies if we’re scheduling a sunrise engagement shoot. 😉 

Reason number 5: The Sign-in Album.

Swoon, swoon. I wish at this point in your reading you could pick up a sign-in album and fully appreciate the beauty that it is to behold. This is hands down one of my favorite reasons that engagement sessions are a wonderful idea. A sign-in album is my favorite way to display your engagement images at your wedding. It’s a super gorgeous album that when laid flat would have an image, or a spread of images on one side, and the other is blank and ready for guests’ notes and signatures. I LOVE this option because it allows your guests to see the beautiful engagement images that we made, something they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to participate in, sharing your love story before the wedding. It also allows you to capture your loved one’s well wishes on something that is going to be classic and not go out of style. As ‘cute’ as all those Pinteresty sign-in ideas are, where are you going to stack 300 cards, fingerprint paintings, glass ornaments, etc. in real life? Exactly, this is something that becomes artwork to pass down and reminisce on the people who celebrated with you. 



Lastly, here are a few great locations to when you’re thinking through your engagement session in the Cleveland area. Again, if you’re a Dragonfly couple then this is something that we’re going to walk through together but sometimes it’s helpful to get a visual of what locations can become through the lens.


Downtown Cleveland Photo Locations

Cleveland Cultural Gardens

Playhouse Square

Cleveland Museum of Art and University Circle

Cleveland Modern Museum of Art Area

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

The main event is you

No matter what you decide on location remember that it’s really about the two of you first and foremost. Again, great photography is about telling a story of the subjects, in this case that’s you and your relationship. That although the right locations are absolutely key I do think ultimately the location is more of a bonus and backdrop to the two of you. It’s almost more important that you’re loving what’s around you, enjoying your time together, and generally having a good time. The better time you’re having the more relaxed you’ll be and that will show through even more than the best location would.

Hopefully, this was a little help in seeing the incredible value of an engagement session. 

error: This image is Copyrighted and is owned by Dragonfly Photography.