is engagement photos worth when it's *NOT* the wedding photographer?

posted 3 years ago in Photos/Videos
  • poll: We can't use the same photographer. How much an engagement session worth?
    Get a cheap, less professional engagement session - for fun and nicer STD pics ($150~200) : (40 votes)
    58 %
    Pics are always important. Get something better ($400~?) : (16 votes)
    23 %
    Don't get one and use a regular pic for STD. If it's not a test run, it's nor worth the money : (7 votes)
    10 %
    Use a regular pic for STD and later get engagement session just for test run. : (1 votes)
    1 %
    Other thoughts? : (5 votes)
    7 %
  • Post # 3
    246 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    Hello! Why ar eyou not using your photographer for the e-photos? Besides getting good pics, setting up a e-photo shoot helps you get comfortable with your photographer and his style. I say yes def take some shots but i would not go crazy spending money. I shot with my photographer and it cost extra $175 for the engagement pics…havent received the pics yet though, but i am glad we did it

    Post # 4
    926 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    Do you know anyone who has a nice, big ole professional looking camera?  My best friend does and I “hired” her to do ours for $50.  They turned out great, got lots of nice photos, and they look professional.  I wouldn’t spend more than $100 on engagement photos personally.  Try asking around if anyone knows anyone, you might be surprised.  If you end up going with a standard photo, I recommend doing a STD on a really nice quality paper (it’ll help the photo look more professional).

    Post # 6
    493 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    @Mee:  I have a couple different thoughts on this…

    First of all, Save the Dates look WAY better with professional photos on them.  Why bother getting a nice, amazing STD only to put a low quality photo on it?

    I can’t really advise on the $150 photographer without seeing some of her images. In my personal opinion, $400 is high for a single portrait session, and I say that as a photographer… that being said, that really is the going rate for professional results.

    And for just about anything I might hire someone to do…. I’d much rather pay someone the going rate to do a professional job, than pay someone less, but still a pretty good sum, to do a crappy job.

    Would you feel comfortable sharing some of the photographer’s images?  I can tell you right off if they are worth paying $150 for or not.  I personally charged that rate for quite a while after I was delivering $500+ quality results, so I know it’s possible to find that… but RARE.  I’ve also seen photographers that charge $150 or more that don’t know what the heck they are doing and are just ripping people off. 

    Just in general, I’d definitely get some pro photos of you guys in the area where you live!  They will be more meaningful to you in a location you know, and you can get some fun, amazing shots that you might even like better than your wedding photos – you never know.

    Post # 7
    188 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    I did this exact same thing. Our wedding is in another state, so we had e-photos done locally for $100. The photographer wasn’t as good as our wedding photographer,  but it was great to practice taking pictures together. We also ended up using our e-photos for a bunch of things, like Save the Dates, our guest book, and even on our wedding website. The pictures don’t need to be amazing since they are just engagement pictures, so I highly recommend this option!

    Post # 8
    4732 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    Hire a professional, get beautiful images. I personally cannot justify spending ANY amount of money on sub-par photography, so for me, even $150 for a cheapie photographer would be a total waste. You might as well have a friend shoot them for that.

    That being said, I always think if you can swing it, spluring on a pro (Even if they aren’t your wedding tog) is a good idea. Rarely, outside of epics, do couples ever have quality photos of themsevles together in non-wedding attire. 

    Post # 9
    3806 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    I voted for other. 

    We didn’t use our engagement photos on the save-the-date. I hate being cold. I don’t like wearing a coat nor do I want to take photos of me wearing a coat. So we waited until May to take our engagement photos (incl in our package). We actually took some photos in December at Sears and I used one of those for our save-the-dates. 

    So you have other options.

    Now, the engagement photo session is sort of a good way to learn how to work with your photographer and how to take direction instead of trying to figure it out on your wedding day, so it’s good for that… 

    But I wouldn’t spring for the extra cost if it wasn’t included.

    Post # 10
    550 posts
    Busy bee

    First, why not have an StD without a photo? That’d save you that trouble, and plenty of nice options are available.

    Second, if you’re really just looking for that one great shot, go with the $150 option or a photo you already have and like.

    My story: We paid $135 for our post-wedding photos (in lieu of engagement photos — we didn’t do any save-the-date-type stuff), and at first I was disappointed that there were only a few I loved and a few dozen I liked, but then I realized I only NEEDED a few I loved — what was I going to do with the other 100 images, anyway? When I looked at it that way, we got a good value for our money — a few excellent photos!

    Post # 12
    493 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    @Mee:  Glad to help!

    First of all, EriG is atrocious.  There’s simply no other word for that.  This is the photographer I point to when I talk about people that don’t know what they are doing and rip off clients.  I wouldn’t have this guy take my photos for free. He’d have to pay me – and then I could give him lessons in some fairly basic things.

    I don’t know what to say about Simply Swift.  She’s clearly an amateur.  So does she deserve to charge any money for doing photos?

    The engagement session you linked is not terrible.  I wouldn’t call these photos professional, but I probably would not call them atrocious.

    These, however, I would:

    First of all, they were definitely shot at the wrong time of day… and not just the wrong time of day, the WORST time of day, it looks like noon.  See the second row of photos, and the harsh shadow under her chin in the one on the right?  You should absolutely never see that in professional protrait photography.

    Second, they’re fairly uninspired, uncreative, and were definitely shot with amateur equipment.  My instinct looking at this session is that $150 is throwing your money away.  I sure hope that’s not what this poor woman paid.

    And I know this is probably not relevant for your session, but this girl has no business shooting newborn or indoor photography for money.  Her work there is terrible.  She needs desperately to learn to use a flash.

    As I said, the engagement session is not quite as bad, but for the moment, I would advise you maybe to keep looking around for other photographers.  At a bare minimum, I believe you can find this level of quality for much less than $150 – if you can’t find better quality for a similar price.  This is about what you’d get if you had a friend with a cheap DSLR to take photos for you, and that’s what I’d advise rather than hiring this photog, but you said you don’t have that, unfortunately. 

    If you find any other photographers you’d like me to take a look at, I’d be happy to!  I know you can find better, or at least cheaper for the same quality.

    Post # 13
    6407 posts
    Bee Keeper

    To me that seems like a very unnecessary expense.

    Post # 14
    1773 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    We had engagement photos from our photographer and a different photographer and I adore all of the photos, I say do whatever you want!

    Post # 15
    4732 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    @Mee:  Unfortunately, that tends to be the nature of the beast. Good quality photography is expensive to produce, and that cost has to be passed along to the client. I can tell you that I’ve NEVER had client regret doing engagement photos, and those who were on the fence were very happy to did it. Where are you located? Most photographers have networks and contacts all over, with as many of us on the board maybe someone might have a referral for you. You’re welcome to PM me if you don’t want to post your location in the open. 

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