6 Reasons You need an Engagement Session

You recently got engaged. Congratulations!!! The engagement period is one of the most exciting and memorable times of your life, but with the excitement comes the need to make all the preparations for your wedding. For some couples, this is a joy. They love collaborating on their vision and finding the right vendors to help bring that vision to life. For others, though, the process can be stressful, particularly when trying to decide how to best allocate their budget. While there is no correct way to go about making these decisions, in the opinion of this wedding photographer, one investment that all couples should absolutely make is to book an engagement shoot with their photographer.

It’s important to start by stating that different wedding photographers approach engagement shoots differently. Some photographers build engagement sessions into their packages while others offer them as an add-on for an additional fee. Here at Brad Gillespie Photography, all of our wedding photography collections include a complimentary engagement session since we see this as an essential service for the reasons outlined below. If you’re currently searching for a wedding photographer in Columbus, Ohio and would like to learn more about us and what we offer, check us out

So why do you need to book an engagement photography session? Here are the 6 main reasons:  


Perhaps this one is a bit obvious, but it’s important to note nonetheless. During the engagement, your love for your fiancé radiates for all to see, and this radiance results in stunning images. Not only do these serve as an heirloom for your kids and grandkids, they can also be used in very practical ways for your wedding. It’s common practice for couples to use their engagement photos for save the dates and wedding announcements, but they can also be used to create a custom guest sign-in album and to create large prints to decorate the entrance to your venue or for cocktail hour decorations.

1. Engagement Sessions Produce Beautiful Photos

While your wedding day will be one of the most joyful days of your life, weddings can be long, tiring, and hectic. You want to be surrounded by people you know and trust, people you know have your back and are going to do everything they can to make your day as meaningful, smooth, and enjoyable as possible. Of all the vendors you’ll work with, your photographer is likely the person you’ll spend the most time with throughout the day. Wouldn’t it be great, then, if you had the chance to get to know and build rapport with your photographer ahead of time?

2. The engagement session helps you build trust with your photographer

I love engagement sessions for this reason. While the main goal is to capture beautiful portraits, they give me a chance to get to know more about my couples and for them to learn more about me. While it’s certainly not a requirement, I often leave engagement shoots feeling like I made two new friends. Additionally, it gives my couples a chance to get a sense of how I approach a shoot, how I interact with them while directing and posing, and what they might expect on the wedding day. The end result of all of this is that we are much more comfortable with each other on the wedding day, and this results in significantly better wedding images.

Arguably the most common thing wedding photographers hear from couples is something like, “I don’t feel comfortable in front the camera,” or, “I don’t know how to pose,” or, “What do I do with my hands?” If this is something you’ve felt, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone! My couples are not professional models. A major part of my job is to help you feel comfortable in order to capture natural, flattering images of you and your partner that you will cherish for the rest of your lives. 

3. Learn and Practice Posing Techniques

The engagement shoot plays a vital role in this process. Here at Brad Gillespie Photography, the first 10 minutes of every engagement session is spent teaching you our posing framework. After practicing the framework during the engagement session, we now have a common language we can use on the wedding day, saving us time and providing an opportunity to capture more creative and a wider variety of images on your wedding day. Plus, you will feel more confident, again resulting in better images.

You want to look your best on your wedding day; that’s why so many brides hire hair and makeup artists. As I mentioned earlier, it’s important for you to be surrounded by people you know and enjoy being around on your wedding day. You and your bridesmaids will likely spend several hours with your hair and makeup artists, and this gives you the chance to get to know their personalities and styles before the day comes.

4. Engagement session are a great time for your hair & makeup trial

Additionally, one of the most common places for a wedding timeline to get pushed behind schedule is during hair and makeup. Often, this is simply because the couple did not allocate sufficient time for all of the bridesmaids to finish getting ready. Having a trial run the day of your engagement shoot gives you a chance to assess how much time it might realistically take for your hair and makeup artist(s) to do their work. This, in turn, can help you and your wedding planner craft your timeline with sufficient time for each part of your wedding day.

Lastly, you will likely love the way you look after having your hair and makeup done professionally, so why not get your engagement photos taken when you’re looking your best? Plus, you’ll have a chance to evaluate if there are any details you want changed ahead of your wedding day. 

Let’s face it, most couples are not professional photographers. And yet, when meeting with couples for the first time, many wedding photographers ask them what kind of photographic style they’re looking for. Maybe this has happened to you. You might have browsed enough bridal magazines or viewed enough pictures on Pinterest to identify images you’re drawn to, but it’s rare for me to sit down with a couple who can clearly articulate the specific photographic style they’re looking for.

5. Further refine your vision for your wedding

I do my best to preemptively address this by having couples create a mood board of images that speak to them. We review this mood board before the engagement session to make sure we’re all on the same page, but the reality is that there are bound to be some photos from the engagement session that speak to you more than others. This is part of the inherent value of an engagement shoot: it gives us a chance to sit down, review the photos, and determine which ones you find most powerful, evocative, and meaningful. For example, there might be certain poses you love while others accentuate a feature you’re not the biggest fan of. You might get excited about environmental portraits but not be drawn to close-up shots. Whatever the reality is for you, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have those discussions before the wedding day? That way, I can focus on capturing wedding photos that I know you’re going to absolutely love. 

Life gets busy, especially during wedding planning season. For many working couples, it’s hard to find time to get dressed up and go out. Scheduling an engagement session provides the perfect excuse! When done well, your engagement shoot should feel like going on a date with the person you love most in the world, especially if you choose activities that you enjoy doing together and / or locations that have special meaning to you. Had your first date at the wine bar down the street? Awesome! Let’s reserve the table you sat at and have a glass waiting for you when you get there. Love going on hikes with your dog? Wonderful! Get Lassie all groomed up and looking her best, and let’s find a pretty spot at a local Metro park. Your engagement session should reflect who you are, so why not have fun while doing it?

6. Have Fun!

kind words 

more testimonials


Lindsay & Kyle

We really appreciated how flexible he was with changing plans and moving around to multiple sites for photos. Everyone in our wedding party commented on how fun and comfortable getting photos was. Brad even made sure that we were enjoying our reception and not just taking pictures with guests, which we really appreciated. Our photos turned out beautiful and really captured our personalities.

"Brad was wonderful to work with! He made the wedding stress-free and fun"


Cincinnati, Ohio


wedding location

kind words from past clients

2025 wedding collections begin at $3400, and the average couple invests $4500 for complete coverage. 

As part of my desire to craft an experience that is tailored to you, I design custom collections for each and every couple. 

For more details on your wedding photography investment, please contact me. I'd love to get to know more about you and to create a custom collection for you! 



Join the fun

Looking for wedding inspiration, pro tips and some of our favorite resources? Join us on Instagram. Each week, we share tips, tricks and a whole lot more!

Join us on Instagram

Weekly Resources for Brides