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Hey, I'm Chelsea.

I'm a Chicago wedding photographer and videographer who's on a mission to take the stress out of wedding planning, one anecdote, gif, and movie
quote at a time.

If you’re dipping your toes into the world of wedding photography, you might notice that most photographers (at least Chicago-based ones) include complimentary engagement sessions in their packages.

You might be thinking “We already took photos at our proposal, so we don’t need an engagement session.”

While I completely respect when couples opt out, I’m here to point out why you need an engagement session with your wedding photographer—even if you’ve already had your photos taken.

What Is an Engagement Session?

Engagement sessions are photoshoots that happen before your wedding. They’re photos of just the two of you—and hopefully your pets. They are different from a proposal shoot, where a photographer takes some photos of you getting engaged.

Chicago engagement sessions typically happen along the lakefront or in some iconic spots, but they can also take place in your home or your favorite neighborhood haunts. It’s truly up to you how formal or casual you want these photos to be.

Why Is an Engagement Session Important?

1. Overcome Camera Shyness

It’s natural to feel a little awkward whenever a camera comes out. It’s something that everyone—myself included—stresses about. An engagement session is a great way to overcome that anxiety and relax in front of the camera.

How does that happen? Well, engagement sessions give you a chance to:

  • See firsthand how your photographer poses. Are they someone who gives motion-driven prompts, or do they have you hold still in more editorial-style poses? Either way, you can confirm if it’s the style of photography you want on your wedding day.
  • Point out any insecurities. This is where you let your photographer know what your good side is or if there are parts of your body you want to minimize in photos.
  • Establish what your PDA comfort level is. Let your photographer know if you want to keep things G-rated (no kissing) or if you’re up for some PG-13 levels of PDA.

2. Get To Know Your Wedding Photographer

Engagement sessions are a great way to get to know your photographer on a personal level. In-between photos, we’ll crack jokes and chat about life. We might even keep the conversation going over drinks once the session’s over.

The point is: engagement sessions are when wedding photographers stop being a stranger with a camera and start becoming a trusted friend you’ll get vulnerable in front of.

That means that when you get emotional on your wedding day, you won’t feel awkward that I’m in the room snapping photos. You’ll be able to live in the moment and be authentically you. And that is how I get candid photos that truly capture the essence of your wedding day.

3. Document the Important Things in Your Life

One day, you’ll move out of your first apartment together. Or the building where you had your first date will get torn down. Or your fur baby will cross that rainbow bridge. 

Suddenly, the little, mundane moments you’re experiencing right now will be cherished memories. Your engagement session is a great chance to document these details. 

Go ahead and take photos at your favorite bar or include your pets. It will be incredibly special to have these professional photos to look back on and spark memories.


“Chelsea has such a warm, calming, positive, and chill energy that made her the perfect person to spend our special day with. She made us feel so comfortable in front of a camera and did an incredible job capturing so many special moments.”

Steph & Eric


What Do You Do With Your Engagement Photos?

Once your photos are delivered, you might be wondering what to do with them. Here are what most White Quill couples do with their images:

  • Send Save the Dates. Keep in mind that save the dates are typically sent 6–8 months before your wedding. I recommend booking your wedding photographer a year in advance if you know you want to use engagement photos for your save-the-dates.
  • Create a Personalized Guestbook. Guests sign along the blank spaces around your engagement photos, giving you a physical keepsake to set on your coffee table and flip through. Check out Artifact Uprising’s Wedding Guestbook and use WHITEQUILL15 to save 15% at checkout.
  • Decorate your Reception. Displaying your engagement photos in frames is a great way to add a personal touch to your reception decor + fill up space at entry tables.
  • Hang Photos in your home. Last but not least, you can print out your photos and put them in the cute Target frames you impulse-bought last month.

All in all, an engagement session is an important step in the wedding planning journey. It helps you get comfortable in front of the camera, build trust with your photographer, and preserve the everyday details of your life.

If you want to chat more about wedding packages—and the complimentary engagement session I offer to every couple—don’t hesitate to reach out!