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say yes to the sesh: engagements rock

4 a.m.

The Cranberries’ “Dreams” just came on Pandora. The music gods must have seen my office light switch on.

A sweet kind of Saturday morning. (insert smiley emoticons x infinity)

It’s SATURDAY?! What am I doing up and why aren’t the cartoons on? Where are my p.j.s with the built-in footies and my giant bowl of Captain Crunch? I do love Saturdays.

As awesome as this throwback to my childhood sounds, I have better plans, and there’s no way Dora could top them.

The big plans on my agenda today? I’ve got a sunrise engagement session, and I can’t wait…. hence the lack of sleeping thing. When I get tickled to pieces, my body says saynora to R.E.M and hey, good lookin’ to York Peppermint Pattie coffee creamer.

Oh yeah, baby. Sippin’ on that good stuff right now.

I laid in bed at three this morning, and contemplated whether or not to just get up. There was no way I was snoozing again, so I threw my feet over and began moving & grooving to start my day.

I had an idea, and I wanted to share it with you guys. My pumped-upness about these kinds of sessions needed some explaining. (Luuuuuccccyyyyyyyyyy, you’ve got some splanin’ to do!!!)

Yes, proverbial Desis. I do have some very special somethings to tell.

My post today revolves around my love for my clients, their engagement sessions, and why the outcome of these shoots makes my job as their wedding photographer even sweeter. For clients and rising photographers alike, this post is geared toward sharing what I do and why in pre-wedding day work.

For my current & future  el clientes: It’s about shining some light on why I encourage engagements,and their sole purpose in developing excitement for your big day.

For all my aspiring picture snappers: It’s about learning your couple just as well as your camera- they are equally important when it comes to being a successful portrait photog and should each be given just as much attention.

Ok, lovely people. Hop aboard my blog sailboat and let’s take a ride. It’s such a pretty day and the water’s fine…. time to relax and enjoy a good read. I like to call this little entry:

Why Engagements Rock My Face Off & Why You Should Faceless with Me.


Chapter 1: The beginning of why

When I first began shooting weddings, engagements were not something I included in my packages. I thought of them simply as a luxury – a simple  decision couples made.

They wanted one or they didn’t. It was that easy.

It’s not that I didn’t care, because if you’ve worked with me you know I am very involved with my clients. They are great friends, and I have wonderful relationships with all of them.

It’s just that I understood that everyone’s day is different, and so is what they want for it. I just viewed their decision towards an e-session to be just another facet to making their day completely theirs.

Then something started… changing.

I began shooting more engagements, and somehow these wonderful set rose-colored glasses were given to me.

I wasn’t just shooting an engagement. I wasn’t just customizing the wedding day options for my client. I definitely wasn’t just snapping another set of photos for a lovely couple.

These were their photos. This couple’s symbol of where they’ve been, what they’ve overcame, and why they have one hell of a reason to celebrate: THEY’RE IN LOVE!

I think too many photographers can get in a routine. They shoot because they’re hired, and run through the motions of a pre and actual wedding day. This is not to take jabs at anyone. It happens. Just as with any profession, habits and normalcy develop and it’s easy to fall into the motions.

Time to do a little jig and shake out our limbs. Just as I mentioned in a previous posts, all my clients are different and so is their love. Like lots of summer snowflakes, these people who choose to get to know me and ask me to photograph their day already have a place in my heart.

They value my work, and I should do just the same with learning their love story. It’s a very important piece of the wedding day puzzle that can’t go without getting in line.

Just think of it as one of those super important corner pieces.


Chapter 2: The shoot. The love. The stories.

To encourage couples to opt for engagement sessions, I decided to include them in my collections this year. While there are other options available if they choose not to do an e-session, they come highly recommended. However, there is a level of respect important to following the couple’s unique wishes for her day, and I completely adhere to any requests they  may have for their day.

If they ask my advice? I’ll say e-session all the way, dudes with a big  grin.

My bias may show, but the reasons are so worth my emotional inclination.

When couples show up for an engagement, they’re giddy. Like kids they look at one another and laugh in the beginning, not sure of what to do or whose hand should go where. It’s this initial fumble that has me falling in love with their affection for one another.

It’s this playfulness that begins a story for me. These awesome pages open up- details of their firsts (first meeting, first date, and first impressions) slowly unravel. The impressions part is my favorite. We all know how important those are, but hearing them from a couple who is soon to be wed puts even more weight on the topic.

A soulmate is forever and so is the first thought of them.

The recollections are always accompanied with nostalgic smiles, sideways glances, and interruptions in sentences only to be followed with their completion (or correction!) from the other.

Yes, yes, and more YES! I can’t get enough of this back and forth chattiness.

Sometimes we don’t talk much about the past, but often times about the present: their shared passions, their favorite ways to spend the afternoon, and why their day is just gonna rock.

If anything is for certain, it’s that I’ll never experience the same engagement session twice. This is the main reason I freakin’ love shooting them. It makes my job so fun, different, and so extra-specially awesome.

Extra-specially? Yes. I just said that. Whoa…. easy caffeine. I knew you gave me super powers, but other worldly abilities to recreate new words? Nice.


Chapter 3: The answer is in the reaction.

The explanation for my e-session encouragement is something that’s difficult to verbalize and nearly impossible to fully communicate.

Because it’s seen.

Purely visual, and real, and every ounce of amazing to watch.

It’s that Oh my God, I can’t believe we’re doing this. We’re really doing this..Holy cow, we’re doing this! look they give each other. I can’t explain it really, and every couple is different.

Sometimes it’s in the beginning of the session.. sometimes in the end…sometimes when we’re saying our goodbyes.

And sometimes it’s when we’ve already parted, and they think I’m not looking. Those are my favorite.

It seems like when you get engaged you begin on a roller coaster ride of planning, and prepping, and picking (Good grief, the picking! The choices!). You move from one thing to the next, or you just dog paddle around in a sea of stuff, always concentrating on what’s to be done and what’s left to do.

You complete. You check off. You begin the next thing.

Sound familiar?

You don’t get much time to stop and smell the roses, unless you happen to be making a decision about floral arrangements.

Your head becomes filled with planning and the seemingly endless tasks you need to accomplish.

That’s why I make you stop. Or… I suppose these sessions make you stop.

For just a couple of hours. For just an afternoon. For just a moment or two, you can get swept up in the whole reason you’re doing all this. The purpose behind all of your current chaos is this guy who’s sitting across from you in the grass in the middle of nowhere.

For just a while, it’s okay to let go of it all. It’s perfectly fine to quit pressuring yourself and your beau, and it’s only important to just enjoy the moment. That’s why you’re here in the first place- to breathe, to laugh, to feel so overwhelmed with love that your little heart could just pop.

You’re welcome ; ). You looked like you needed an afternoon like that. is what I think when I leave these sessions. It’s this woo-sah moment that makes me never question my decision to be an advocate of such wonderful photo sessions.

Say yes to the sesh. Most definitely.

Now for some images best displaying my words of e-session love above…





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