As a wedding photographer, you know the importance of charts and lists to keep your workflow organized. Without keeping a list of your assignments, it can be tough to complete work on time. Some tasks may fall by the wayside while others are downright forgotten. This can be a problem when your clients are eager to receive their galleries.
Running a wedding photography business is a challenge. You must provide a great client experience while also networking, marketing, shooting, editing, and so much more. So it’s important to have a plan, especially when it comes to your photography sessions.
Today we want to cover engagement sessions. Everything from initial contact to delivery of the final edited images. Great planning and execution of your engagement sessions will mean a lot to your clients. It could also be the deciding factor of whether you’ll capture their upcoming wedding or not.
So read on to make sure your engagement sessions are a positive experience for both you and your clients.
WHERE TO START?
Before you start planning your engagement photography workflow, ask yourself these questions:
- What’s the goal for your wedding photography business?
- What other commitments do you have and how will that affect your timeline?
- How many engagements and weddings do you book, and what’s your ideal number of bookings per year?
- What area are you serving, and what are the expectations of clients here?
- What is your typical client like?
- What’s your business budget?
You may not have all the answers yet — especially if you are just starting a business in this industry. But one important step is to take a look at your style, your business, and your schedule so you can develop a workflow that works for you.
PLAN YOUR WORKFLOW RIGHT FROM BOOKING THE BRIDE & GROOM
Your engagement photography workflow starts as soon as first contact. Keep the booking as simple as possible. Your clients might already be planning their wedding with a lot on their minds, so you don’t want to overwhelm them.
1. Check the Availability of The Date Your Clients Wish to Book
You can put it on the calendar with a question mark against the couple’s name. Once they confirm the booking, simply remove the question mark.
2. Answer All Initial Questions
Your clients might have a lot. So try sending them a ‘guide’ which includes:
- A price sheet
- A “what to expect” page
- Tips on scheduling time on the engagement photography session day
- A vendor list (if any) that allows you to tag other businesses when you share images on social media later.
3. Discuss locations With Your Clients
Some locations might be a part of their love story and they’ll want photographs taken there. If they do not have any specific locations in mind, you can suggest some and let them choose.
4. Discuss Outfits & Make-Up for Them
Ask them which outfits they are planning to wear on the day of their engagement photo session. This can give you an idea about their expectations from the photoshoot. You can plan shots keeping their outfits in mind.
For example, if the bride-to-be plans to wear a flowy dress, you’ll know to create beautiful shots where her fabric flows freely in the wind.
You can also give suggestions on what to wear, listing outfits for your clients that are practical and look great at set locations.
Professional make-up can often make a big difference in photographs. Why not suggest they get their hair and make-up done by professionals? This way, they’ll feel more confident during the session. Great confidence makes for great posing.
5. Think About Your Gear
After you have the required information from your clients, it’s time to think about your gear. List down every piece of gear you’ll need for the session. Write down to the minutest of details because it’s usually small things that tend to skip from our minds first.
PRO TIP: In this digital era, many couples book you and interact with you over the internet. But it’s always good to meet them in person, too. This helps you get to know them and vice-versa. Also, it will help you showcase your other products to them. You can explain other packages, pre-sell albums, and offer discounts. A personal meeting will promote their trust in you.
ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION DAY
Once, you have booked and met your clients — with outfits and locations chosen, you can keep in contact with your them until the day of the shoot. or you can contact them a few days before the booking, to remind them to be ready for the shoot.
During the engagement session, you can go through traditional poses, then move on to more candid shots. Ask your couple to dance together or take a walk, embrace each other, kiss, or enact their engagement. Experiment with shots and see what they are comfortable in. This will help you do a better job when they choose you to photograph their wedding. Don’t forget a shot of the ring!
Be vocal during the session to make them comfortable with you and be able to show true emotion. This way you make friends with them and also get great shots. Remember, authentic smiles shape great photographs.
After the session, let the couple know when to expect their images. Let them know it’s okay for them to speak up and let you know if there’s a pose they don’t like.
Once the couple leaves, you may also jot down a few things that you want to remember on the wedding day. Sometimes, engagements are a full year before the actual wedding, and you don’t want to risk forgetting anything. You need to have it written down somewhere.
POST-SHOOT CULLING & EDITING
Choose the best images by tagging them as ‘My Favorites’ in Lightroom. Edit your favorite shots first and share them on social media. This gives the couple a sneak peek into their engagement photographs and they’ll love you for it!
Then go through all the images and make any adjustments in Lightroom. Go back through a second time for local adjustments, such as removing tan lines or editing out acne. You can share images on social media as you get groups edited.
For engagement photos, you can deliver using an online ordering platform. Send the bride-to-be the link, and also share the final gallery on social media. You can also upload engagement galleries to your online portfolio.
DOES ONE SIZE FIT ALL?
By now you have a fair idea about what an engagement photography session workflow is.
Remember: not all wedding photography businesses are the same and one photographer’s workflow might differ from the other. Wedding photography workflows aren’t a one-size-fits-all deal.
The workflow shared here is a rough sketch for an engagement photography session. So make it your own and start running smoother engagement sessions!
At ShootDotEdit, our goal is to take the “heavy lifting” of photo editing off your plate — giving you more time to run your business, spend time with your family, or even just have a life again!
Click here to learn more about what ShootDotEdit can do for you!