Are Engagement Photos Necessary?

Let’s be honest. Nearly every wedding photographer and most of modern society will have you believe engagement photos are a must. As a wedding photographer myself, I can definitely agree that engagement sessions have some great benefits and are worth considering; however, they are by no means a necessity.

In this blog post, we’ll cover three main reasons to consider having an engagement session along with three counter-reasons as to why they may not be the right choice for you.

Let’s get started!

couple kissing during sunrise engagement photography session in washington dc

Why You Should Have an Engagement Session

  1. Commemorate the engagement season: Being engaged is a special time in life. You and your partner are working out the final details before officially locking hands forever and starting a new life together. Engagement photos serve as a happy reminder of this quick yet momentous time in life while also doubling up as great images to use on save-the-date invitation cards.
  2. Build rapport: One of the most beneficial reasons for considering an engagement session is that it allows you to begin building a relationship with your wedding photographer. Engagement sessions resemble test-driving a car; they offer a glimpse into the photography experience. Since every wedding photographer is different in their style and approach, these sessions allow you both to get comfortable with one another.
  3. Gain confidence: Being in front of the camera is an initially awkward experience. There’s no way around it. Some people feel more awkward than others which is fine since a seasoned photographer will be able to help you feel comfortable quickly. If feeling awkward in front of a camera is a concern for you, you may want to consider having an engagement session to work out the initial quirks so that your wedding day goes more smoothly.
couple hugging and laughing during engagement session in havre de grace maryland

Reasons to Consider Skipping Engagement Photos

  1. Budget constraints: Engagement photos on their own can be expensive ranging anywhere from $200-$800. This alone could be a good enough reason for couples to skip an engagement session and instead put that same amount toward their wedding photos. That said, some wedding photographers include engagement sessions in their packages which is very helpful. When researching photographers, inquire whether engagement sessions are part of the wedding packages.
  2. Time/schedule constraints: Engagement sessions can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours (most last about 90 minutes) and typically occur 8-12 months before the wedding day. For couples looking to speed up the wedding planning process, engagement sessions may not make sense since they will require more coordination and could delay some events in the wedding planning process. Additionally, couples with a busier schedule may decide to opt out of engagement photos due to their availability.
  3. Preference for candid moments: For couples who don’t care as much for posed photographs, which are often what engagement photos comprise (again, this varies from photographer to photographer), they may choose to forgo the engagement photos and get straight to the wedding day which is filled with candid moments. Additionally, the idea of formal photos for save-the-date cards may not be appealing to couples to already have a lot of pictures of themselves taken by friends or themselves.


Opting for engagement photos offers long-term advantages, but don’t feel pressured by social media or societal norms to consider it mandatory. Evaluate the benefits outlined above to determine if engagement sessions align with you and your partner’s preferences.

P.S. There’s no wrong choice. It’s your wedding/engagement so you can make the rules!

couple holding hands during engagement session

Let’s Connect

Are you looking for a wedding photographer who will walk with you every step of the way and ensure you have an amazing wedding and/or engagement experience? You read the right article and I’d love to document this special time for you and your partner.

You can see more of my work on my portfolio page. If you’re ready to reach out, head over to the contact page on my website to get in touch and check availability. I can’t wait to hear from you!