The holidays are upon us. The time for celebrating, spending time together – and gettin’ engaged.

Engagement portraits are more than just a quick shot to have something available for an announcement or a display at the wedding. They are a way for the bride and groom to get to know you as a photographer. It’s an open invitation to learn more about how you operate, and what type of customer service you bring to the table.

Keep these 8 things in mind before you book your next appointment for an engagement portrait session.

1. Never include your engagement session as a part of your wedding package. By making it a separate entity, you are giving it more value, and you are also taking away the bargaining chip for wedding clients that may not want or be able to use an engagement session.

8 Keys To A Great Engagement Portrait

2. Many photographers have different pricing structures for weddings and for portraits. Keep your pricing structure the same for any enlargements within the engagement shoot as you have for your weddings. The last thing you want to do is confuse a bride and groom on pricing when they are deciding on whom to hire for their wedding.

3. Don’t take the standard in-studio portrait or head out on your common grounds where you do your traditional portraits. Make your engagement portraits unique to the couple. Ask your couple two questions: “How did you meet?” and “What do you two enjoy doing together?” Between those two questions you’ll be able to find a variety of interesting places to use as your portrait location. If they love baseball, head down to your local stadium and use the surrounding area within the portraits. It will make it more unique to your couple, and give them more reason to buy.

4. Showcase your talents. Take some close up, some far away. Use the background wisely. Take the images from different angles. Have them look at the camera on some, and into each other’s eyes on others. In other words show your variety and your talents as a photographer. The more you take, the more you have the chance on selling.

5. Offer destination engagement packages. For some people the wedding is all about the celebration. Having a great portrait is a separate session. You’ll never be a destination photographer unless you plant the seeds now. Create a package that allows you to travel anywhere with your couple and create a magical final portrait.

6. Showcase what you plan on selling. If you have a studio, how large is the engagement portraits on your wall? Do you have options for framing, matting, and collages? If you’re a virtual studio, do you have a page on your website where you can show couples your different options? It’s hard for people to visualize what you mean without actually seeing it.

7. Give plenty of options. How about a signature board at the reception? An album customized to go along with their wedding albums? Invitations? Thank you notes? Wedding favors? The list can go on and on with a little brainstorming.

8. Plan for a perfect portrait. Discuss clothing, backgrounds, props and location. They may never think of bringing horses into a portrait unless you suggest it. Be wild with your ideas. Look through magazines and online for ideas and inspiration. Nothing is more fun than having a couple say YES and allowing you to do something way beyond anything you’ve done before.

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