As a photographer focused and passionate with a creative approach to documentary style wedding photography, I approach an engagement shoot a little differently than just a standard portrait session. Rather than trying to create a series of posed photographs (not that I think that is wrong), I hope to create an environment that allows the couple to forget about me (even if its only momentary). Usually, we find an urban setting or some location where we can walk and discover interesting backgrounds. The goal is to treat the shoot as if I were following them around on a date. If necessary, I will offer suggestions along the way to cuddle, kiss, embrace, etc, but as time goes on, my clients start to relax and enjoy themselves. I try not to approach a shoot with preconceived ideas. I avoid trying to re-create something that I’ve done with another couple (but often I am asked can we do a photo like the one we saw on your website). I don’t ever come prepared with a list of “standard” poses. For me, a perfect e-session would be completely spontaneous, fresh with new ideas.

If you’re a new client of mine and wondering if you should schedule an engagement shoot with me, my answer to you is: YES! I love shooting e-sessions! Not just because I love every opportunity I get to photograph people in love…Sure, I admit it. I am addicted to love and I am addicted to finding unique and real moments, brought to life by the unique personalities of each of my couples. What can I say: I am an artist and my camera is my paint brush! There is so much good that results from the photo shoot, let me count the ways:

1) It gives me a chance to get to know you and for you to get a chance to know me and see me in action. It’s like a dress rehearsal before the wedding! I have found that this is so helpful. Especially if your groom had zero participation in choosing me as your photographer. He might have looked at my website and that’s about it. The e-session will be an eye opener for him! And this will pay big dividends come wedding day. For those who are seeing me in action for the first time, there is always a twenty to thirty minute period of getting use to having a camera follow them around. The opposite is true for my e-session clients. On the wedding day, they are much more relaxed. They seem better prepared, find it easy to tune me out and enjoy themselves. This allows me to capture the natural, documentary style moments that I thrive on.

2) It is energizing and fun! I will make you feel like Rock stars! The shoot is all about you, your relationship, your dreams, your hopes, your lives! I give you my very, very best to find great moments that encapsulate your love for each other. I can guarantee you that if you let loose on this shoot, we will see fireworks!

3) You will get so many great images from the shoot, you will be overwhelmed and so will your family and friends! I love to make slideshows from the 90 minute shoot and set it to music. I promise you, you will shed tears!

4] We can use those images in a variety of ways, not to mention, creating great canvass art to put on display in your home. My clients have had us make custom guest signing books filled with their e-session images, place a favorite image in a frame with an extra large matte for their guests to sign, and had us make a DVD slideshow of the images to display during dinner at the reception.

5) The e-session will help your family and friends to understand and appreciate my style of photography before the wedding day. Why is that important? First of all, I am certain that my style is nothing like the photographer your parents had at their wedding! You would be surprised how often I show up at at wedding and the bridal party or the parents are clueless about my approach to photographing the event. For whatever reasons, these VIP’s are the last to know and are often shocked that I am not directing and posing people along the way. When they see the results from the engagement shoot slideshow that we put online months or even a year before the wedding, they become educated and ready come wedding day.

6) Lastly, there is a trust factor that develops from doing an e-session because we invested time together preparing for it, spent time together shooting it and hanging out with each other apart from the wedding day. As a result, the shoot gives us an opportunity to become friends before the wedding day. It might seem trivial, but having a friendship in advance helps us both to feel at ease on the wedding day. It could be the difference in making your wedding day photos from great to being a masterpiece.

Below are samples of one of my favorite E-sessions last fall in downtown Royal Oak, MI of a super terrific couple, Rose & Sam. Also, you can check out their slideshow by clicking here.


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One Response to “Reasons why I love Engagement Photo Sessions!”

  1. Rosemarie Chirco says:

    Thanks so much Ray for posting our pics. We had so much fun shooting with you and can’t wait for the wedding this September!! For all of you couples out there that are contemplating doing an E-Session with Ray, I say go for it, it is so much fun and it really does make you feel like a movie star for the day since you have this camera following you around all over town. He was really able to catch us in our natural enviornment walking around Royal Oak with our dog Rocco, he even loved getting photographed by Ray!!!!

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