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The importance of the "Get To Know You" Engagement Shoot

The engagement shoot as it has been known for many years has become an endangered species. It has been replaced with something much more dynamic and fun, the "Get To Know You" shoot. An engagement shoot is nothing new to the world of wedding photography, but only recently has the "Getting to Know You" approach become the dominant style for the engagement shoot. This makes perfect sense as photojournalism has also become the in-demand style for wedding photography.

During a Getting to Know You shoot we focus on getting to know our couples (as the name suggests), but in addition they get to know us as well - during the process of the shoot our relationship turns into a friendship, which is very rewarding for Enna and I. When we take pictures our goal is to tell the story of our couple's relationship and personalities - the shoot is no longer about making one formal image to hang on the wall or print in the newspaper. We often meet in the late afternoons to take advantage of the best light of day, and after the shoot it is not uncommon for us to stop at a pub for a drink or two:) What better way to be more comfortable in front of your photographer's camera on your wedding day than to spend a few hours with them having your photo taken and getting to know each other over drinks and food!

When our studio was new Enna and I charged separately for the "Get to Know You" shoot, but not every couple included it in their package and we missed having an established bond with those couples on their wedding day. We also noticed that that those who did the GTKY shoot laughed more, felt more natural, and interacted more passionately with their guests on their wedding day. So we made the "Get To Know You" shoot a complimentary item for all of our brides and grooms. The result of which has surpassed our expectations. Not only have we been able to create more intimate images, but we have also made closer friendships with couples who now invite themselves over for Sunday brunches, invite us to concerts, and Enna's favorite - out for great meals :) But the core reason of the complimentary shoot shines through so much in our wedding day images. The smiles and laughing is genuine and the emotions are intimate because trust has been established. The trust our couples have becomes a sort of camouflage for us on their wedding day, as they have an established comfort zone in front of our lens.

Over the past few weeks I have been traveling around meeting up with some of our 2009 couples for their GTKY shoots. I always encourage our couples to go someplace special to them. Here are some of my fav's from 3 recent GTKY shoots.

Nicole & Dominick

Nicole & Dominick live just outside of NYC. We met up in their favorite neighborhood and went for a fun walk. Their wedding will be at the Harbour Oaks Estate in RI next summer and is sure to be nothing short of amazing. How do I know this? Because they have strong bonds with family and friends. As a photographer I am always asked to talk about amazing weddings and people will expect me to talk about the huge flower arrangements, designed lighting, designer gowns and other fantastic details of the wedding day. But regardless of fashion designers, locations, and other big-budget items, I always talk about the people and the love they share... nothing beats that!

Gretchen & Paul

Gretchen & Paul are our 2009 Valentine's Day couple. That's right, they are tying the knot on the most famous day of the year for Love at the Ballroom Veronique. They invited me to the bridge where Paul proposed to Gretchen. We had a tough time getting our schedules in sync, so when it rained, and I mean it rained hard, they had no intention of trying to reschedule. They marched right on out with umbrella in hand and had a blast! I love the Red Sox vs. Yankees image. As you can tell from the fun they had in the rain to the established sports feud, these two have a great sense of humor and are very carefree, totally able to go with the flow:)

Noelle & Dane

What do you call someone who lives in Cambridge, works in cambridge, and just plain ol' loves Cambridge? A Cambridge-ite? A Cambridgian? What ever it is, these two fit the bill:) Noelle & Dane met and fell in love at The B-Side Cafe, which unfortunately closed its doors forever just a couple of weeks ago. We were fortunate to get in for a few photos (and drinks) before they closed for good. The photo of them sitting at the bar with the support beam between them, is the exact spot where they first saw each other and met. Their wedding will be... where else... at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge!! One random fun fact discovered between us, Dane works with my cousin-in-law and good friend Joe! Here are some cool shots of them taken around the Central Square area of Cambridge...