All our full day packages include a complimentary engagement session. We are often asked by potential clients if not using the engagement session will result in a discount on their package. The short answer is that it is complimentary (free) and does not carry any monetary value.
The long answer... well, we've compiled that into the top five reasons you should take advantage of your complimentary session:
1. Get yourself some sweet photos!
Sure, that seems pretty obvious answer but there is more to it. Yesenia's favorite time to do engagement photos is pretty early into your engagement. You still have the excitement of the proposal and visions of your perfect wedding are swirling through your head adding to the romance we would be able to capture. Our engagement sessions are really focused on the connection there is between the two of you and there is something pretty amazing about that.
2. A chance to show the world how much your love should be envied.
The engagement session is all about you and your love... the perfect time to start sharing your love story! We start our engagement planning with a questionnaire so we can really get an idea of who you are. We want locations that mean something... clothing that will coordinate with your wedding colors... a session about who you are as a couple! Once we gather that info, we work with you to build a session that really is all about who you are as a couple.
3. a dry run for the big day.
Chances are you haven’t had your photos taken by a professional before, so how do you know what to do? On your wedding day you’ll be surrounded by cameras, not just the one you hired. With everything that is going on during the day, it’s great to have one less thing to worry about. Whether you are camera shy or a photogenic vixen, the e-shoot is a great opportunity to instill confidence and build comfort in front of the camera. It can be daunting to have a camera follow you, it happens to all of us, and it’s best to get that anxiety out of the way in advance. In no time, you’ll stop focusing on the camera and more on each other. Your nerves will calm and your stress will float away. Your interactions with each other will become more natural and you’ll learn to avoid the innate reflex to stiffen up and smile directly into the camera. And since you've gone through all this during your engagement session, it makes wedding day photography a breeze!
4. letting us get to know who you are.
Not only is it good practice for you, it’s also a great trial run for us. It allows us to see how you interact; to learn if you are timid or big on the cuddling. We'll learn about your personalities, whether you are goofy or serious, and how much direction you’ll need or want. It’s a great time to learn about your love story, chat about your wedding plans, and push to see how affectionate you can get in front of the camera. The opposite is also true, you’ll be able to communicate what you like and don’t like, as well as your preference for angles, expressions, and lighting based on what we provide in your engagement gallery. All this will allow us to tailor the photos to make your images more personal and memorable on your wedding day.
5. we kind of rock so it gives us a chance to show you that too.
It’s great to let us get to know you but it’s more important that you get to know US. You'll get a taste of our shooting style and learn how we will direct you. It will be very similar to your wedding day so you’ll know exactly what to expect. You will likely see us more than anyone else on your wedding day … including your fiancé! The e-shoot is a perfect ice breaker to transform your photographer from a stranger a temporary bestie. Establishing a relationship with your photographer (and all your vendors for that matter) is so important, we can't even express how much.
Now for the fine prinT.
While we would love to accommodate every engagement session planning request, we do have policies set from experience for our complimentary sessions. We know... bummer, right? Trust us when we say that it is for your benefit. If we have to spend lavish amounts of money on a location permit or fee or include unlimited travel time to the location, we'll have to start charging for our engagement sessions and that raises the costs of our wedding packages. It's possible that would not allow us to work with amazing clients like you. And that's the last thing we want!
Let's start off with a story. Our couple scheduled their engagement session date around a visit from the out-of-state groom-to-be months ahead of time. 10 days before their scheduled date, we were firming up locations and times and they requested to do their engagement session on the ledge of a mountain with a sweeping view of Lake George. That sounds pretty amazing, right? Well, it is... under the right circumstances, we won't deny that. The problem came that the mountain they chose was a 1.5 hour drive (each way) to the trailhead, and 1.7 mile hike (about 1-1.5 hours of hiking each way) to the summit. Even worse, their session was schedueld on the day that the snowpacolypse was forecast to leave three feet of snow in it's wake. Add in that the trailhead itself was on a very steep dirt road that isn't very maintained in warmer weather and we raised some safety concerns. In the end, Yesenia didn't wish to be featured in one of those "I survived" episodes, so we suggested some alternatives: Do the session later (in June) when the trail would be minus 2-3 feet of snow. Or choose alternate locations that had the same sweeping views but with a 15-minute walk on an old logging road from a main road closer to our homes which we knew would be well maintained. The couple declined and decided that another more adventurous photographer was for them. And that's okay. It's better to know that we can't meet your expectations before the wedding than after.
As a result, we decided it was time to establish some policies for our complimentary sessions:
Our complimentary sessions are 60 mins long. That is 60 mins from the time we arrive at the location. Having the maximum amount of time we can with each couple is key to getting great photos. We are strangers when we arrive. Strangers with cameras in your face while asking you to snuggle up to your love... nothing and we mean, nothing, is more awkward and uncomfortable for most couples. The first 15 minutes is really about getting to know us and it's not until mid-way that the magic really starts to happen. Using part of that time for travel and moving locations means that time is cut short. It's also for this reason that secondary locations must be within a five minute drive unless we've discussed beforehand. Additional time may be purchased at $100 per hour.
Our (without charge) service area is 30 miles from Bolton Landing. In our effort to keep our costs down, our time spent in the car has to be limited. A 3-hour drive for a 60-min session just doesn't fit into that. We do travel outside of our service area for amazing locations that get our creativity flowing but any travel over an hour incurs a travel charge of $75.
Outfits matter. While this couple was okay with engagement photos in casual hiking gear, it's really not what you hired us for. You chose us as your wedding day photographers because of what you saw in the galleries on our website. We have a modern but rustic and romantic style. That's not saying that mountain top images don't fit our style... because they do! We just think of dreamy, flowing gowns and touching intimate photos along with it.
Time, Weather and Location are key. Part of producing amazing photos is planning ahead. Time of day is a factor during certain times of year (think mid-summer at noon on the lake and the glare and brightness that could detract from your images). Weather is a concern as most of the time with engagement sessions we don't have an alternative to move indoors as is the case with weddings. Add in that we have 20-30 lbs of equipment with us at any given time and long hikes or swampy locations may not be ideal. Choosing a wooded location on an overly sunny day will provide shadow casts from the trees or result in an overly bright backdrop where you wanted to really capture the feel of the woods.
What's included with your session. Your session comes with 30-40 edited images that may be shared on social media prior to your wedding date via our gallery site. We allow five downloads prior to your wedding so that you may design save-the-dates (we also offer design service for free). All other wedding related print press products must be purchased through YM Photography. It's not about making additional sales but ensuring that our product is presented in the best manner possible. There is no greater feeling than when one of your guests approaches us for their wedding day needs because they saw, loved your images and met us on your wedding day. Displaying substandard products can hurt our reputation for quality service and products. The entire gallery will be available for download (with print release) when your wedding gallery is available.
Engagement session galleries are delivered 2-3 weeks from the next business day following your session.
FINAL THOUGHTS FROM YESENIA.
I'm a romantic at heart. It's why photographing weddings is my life's passion. It's why I'm picky about the venues I work at and the couples I work with. There is nothing more disheartening to me than to have client pick a gorgeous location... get visions of a sweeping field with a mountain view and the beautiful romantic images I could create there... to show up at the session to have the couple dressed in football jerseys. So two years I decided that pre-session planning was key in maintaining my standards and goals and giving clients images they will love for a lifetime. My job is to ensure that I am giving you a product that not only meets your expectations but exceeds it while infusing the style that brought you to me.
Soooo.. I'm going to show you the difference. And like my incredibly bad senior photo, it embarrasses me to show my earlier work (thankfully I wasn't doing weddings at the time) but I feel it necessary to illustrate the difference between my early, just-come-as-you-are free for all sessions and some sessions I have done that show what can be accomplished with a mix of your vision and my experience.