Get To Know Your Photographer Better – The Importance of the Engagement Session | South Carolina Wedding Photography

So…you just got engaged. Congratulations! You’ve just said “Yes” to the love of your life and have finally settled down to start planning the big day. So many big decisions have to be made, like choosing the perfect date to get married on, and all of the vendors that will help make your day even better. It can be very frustrating or stressful, but once you pick out the best people to join you for the biggest day of your lives, things start to fall into place.

Once you’ve found the photographer of your dreams (wink, wink), maybe you’ve already had some engagement photos done. Maybe it was a family or friend that has an interest in photography, or a professional that you just wanted to work with before you found your current wedding day photographer. And that’s okay! But you noticed that the package or collection you chose includes an engagement session. Now, some photographers are flexible if you choose not to use the engagement session or may want to substitute it for a bridal session or some print credit. We all understand. BUT! I am here to tell you to USE. THAT. ENGAGEMENT. SESSION. And here are the reasons why.

JennMarie Photography - South Carolina Wedding & Portrait Photographer | Couples

I include engagement sessions into ALL of my wedding collections. Why? Many reasons. First, I want to know you better. To me, it’s important to form a bond between myself and my couples. You love my work? Awesome! You want to be friends? YES, let’s! You don’t want a stranger documenting your wedding day, you want someone you can trust that will capture everything around your perfectly. Think about it though, your wedding photographer will be spending the entire day with you. So, getting that engagement session with your wedding photographer gets rid of those “I’m kind of nervous in front of the camera” jitters. And you don’t want those on your wedding day…promise.

You’ll also get a good idea of how I am behind the camera. To me, it’s really important that you are comfortable working with me.

Doing an engagement session with your wedding photographer is crucial. The engagement session not only helps break that barrier, but we also get to know you better. What makes you laugh, what prompts work best for you as a couple, are you a “Blinky Bill” (sorry to anyone named Bill, lol) and to easy any anxieties you may have during our session. I also get to deliver images that are unique to your relationship and personalities.

I hear it a lot, “We are really awkward in front of the camera”, “My fiance really hates taking pictures”, or “I don’t know what to do”. Y’ALL, this is where I come in. I have some tricks up my sleeve that make you feel not so posed and give your photos natural emotion and movement, so you’re not just standing there all stiff like mannequins, haha.

Most importantly, take it easy! Think of this as a break from wedding planning. I know that’s easier said than done, but during your engagement session, you don’t need to think about anything other than being with the one that you love and just having fun. Other reasons to have engagements done? Save the Dates, cute new outfit, possibly do makeup/hair trial runs, make it into a date night later, and “Y’ALL, we’re getting married!” pictures 🙂

Angela – Bridals | Rock Quarry Garden – Greenville, SC | South Carolina Wedding Photographer

I let Angela take her time on choosing the best spot for her bridals.  She wanted something in the Greenville area, but still beautiful for her portraits.  She texted me one day saying that she wanted the Rock Quarry Garden.  Why I haven’t shot here before is BEYOND me, this is just a cute hidden gem!  I literally passed it up on the way there, lol.  If you don’t know it’s off on the side of the road by some houses, but it’s technically a Greenville, SC park.  Lots of people have small wedding ceremonies there, many people go to have family portraits made, and even bridals.  It’s actually quite beautiful.

If you haven’t already seen them, Adam & Angela’s engagement session was a DOOZY, lol.  We battled the rain many times and struggled to get their session booked because it literally rained every single time we tried to schedule a day.  You can view their engagement post HERE.   And since Adam & Angela are FINALLY married, I can post these beauties!

We started scheduling for Angela’s bridals.  The day was beautiful, the weather was warm/humid, but we were in the shade so it wasn’t that bad.  As with all of my bridals, we were scheduled for two full hours of shooting, but that came to a close after one hour because Angela got too hot and started to feel like she was going to faint.  This woman is a TROOPER though.  She finished up a few photos at the last bit of that hour and you couldn’t even tell that she was struggling to stand.  She’s amazing.  🙂

Here are just a handful of my faves from Angela’s bridal session!


Thank you Angela for allowing me to be the photographer for all of these moments!  Can’t wait to post up the wedding blog post here soon 🙂


Jenn 2018

Blake & Alyssa – Married | Forevermore Farm Home of the Original Barn & Stables – Moore, SC | South Carolina Wedding Photography

I met Blake & Alyssa in early Fall 2017.  Just our back and forth emails talking about their wedding made me giddy as I felt like we were a wonderful fit for each other.  We met up over coffee discussed all of the details of their big day.  This gorgeous venue, bridal party, their vision on how they wanted things to look and feel.  Blake & Alyssa just felt like long lost friends to me, even in that initial meeting.  We scheduled their engagement session that day and off we went on this wondrous journey.  You can view their fall engagement photos HERE.

Then we get to the wedding day.  It was a gorgeous, sunny (but dang was it hot!) May afternoon.  There was a slight breeze every now and then that I think we ALL enjoyed whenever it grazed through.  Forevermore Farms is a gorgeous venue with not one, but TWO options for your wedding.  They have the Barn and the Stables.  Blake & Alyssa chose the Stables.  Alyssa and her bridal party got ready in this little area outside of the stables, away from Blake’s vision.  His area was in the stables right off of the dance floor.  I arrived just as Alyssa was gathering things together for their reception.  Everyone was all dolled up with hair and makeup all ready, just needed to get dressed.  Everyone finishes up and we move onto the first look with Alyssa’s dad, and move onto the ceremony and the rest of the day is history.

So, finally to show off these gorgeous wedding images in the JMP blog.  I tried to keep it simple, but that was impossible.  This is a fair warning, this post is photo heavy, haha.  But without any time to waste, here are what I feel shows off the love and fun filled day celebrating the marriage of Blake & Alyssa 🙂

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OH!  Before I forget!  This was a total surprise to almost everyone at the wedding (I’m not sure if anyone else besides the three of us knew about it), but Alyssa and her dad planned a shake up to your usual father-daughter dance.  They started it off with Journey’s “Lights” and somewhere in the middle you hear this scratch and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” starts playing.  Y’ALL they coordinated this dance together and it was perfect!  So glad that I was there to capture this greatness.


These people were having the time of their lives and to be honest, I felt like getting out there myself, haha!  When I left, they were still partying it up!  I’m so thankful that Blake & Alyssa chose me to document this wonderful time in their lives and I get to share it again and again!  I wish you both the absolute best in your lives and marriage together 🙂


Jenn 2018

Ben & Karina – Married | The Dutch Barn – Greer, SC | South Carolina Wedding Photographer

Meeting Ben & Karina was fun.  It decided to rain on us outside of the Starbucks that we met at, haha.  We discussed many details of their big day (venue, style, what they were looking for, etc.) and spoke of how they met.  I think they told me that they met a music festival.  Karina, don’t kill me if I’m wrong, lol.  It HAS been a year since we talked about it, haha.  Just working with them on their wedding day was enough to tell me that they are more than perfect for each other.  I never got the chance to work with them prior to the big day, and that’s totally okay.  We got along so well and were able to communicate better than most couples that I’ve worked with.

The wedding day came and I somehow managed to show up matching the bridesmaids dresses without even realizing it, haha!  Made me blend right in 😉  I arrived to the girls getting their hair and makeup done…Karina was getting her hair started (makeup was already done by the amazing Alores Norris of House of Flawless.  Ladies were gathering together in a room in Ben & Karina’s ADORABLE home, dresses were hung in front of the closet just waiting to be worn.  Or photographed…..whichever you prefer, haha.  Ben was getting ready somewhere else so I was gonna see him when we arrived at The Dutch Barn for the ceremony 🙂

Their day was beautiful and perfect.  We ALMOST got rained out!  It was trying to rain on us the whole time as their ceremony was outdoors and while we were getting all formal photos.  Thankfully we just had a sprinkling of rain and the day went amazing!  I’m so thankful I was chosen to photograph their wedding and am happy to be sharing these with you!  Here are just a few of my favorites from Ben & Karina’s wedding 🙂


Just another note….their wedding cake, WAS AMAZING.  It was so simplistic, one layer was peanut butter cake with peanut butter icing and the other was chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.  Before I left, Karina was so nice and cut me a slice to take home.  Y’ALL!  I got home completely exhausted but 100% wanted to devour that cake, lol.

Ben & Karina, thank you so much for including me on the most special of days.  It was truly a joy getting to know you both and photographing your wedding.  You are such a wonderfully beautiful couple and I wish you the absolute best in your marriage and lives together 🙂


Jenn 2018

Josh & Jenny – Married | Calvary Baptist Church – Simpsonville, SC | South Carolina Wedding Photographer

Meeting Josh & Jenny was a whirlwind because of their distance apart.  Josh was in Michigan working and trying to find a job in the Greenville area, so I only meeting Jenny at first.  I was initially contacted by Josh because, as Jenny told me, he likes planning things out, so she just let him do it, lol.  Which was a great change for me.  I like speaking with both the bride and groom in the planning process, and there’s been times when I won’t meet the groom until the day of the wedding.  But they were both part of every process every step of the way.  It was just refreshing.  Also?  Josh & Jenny are just the kindest and sweet couple anywayyy, so they made me feel like I had the easiest job in the world.   I also photographed their engagement photos, you can see those HERE.

I arrived at their gorgeous venue, which was Calvary Baptist Church in Simpsonville.  I don’t typically enjoy photographing in churches due to the lighting, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were lots of windows in the front foyer and plenty of lighting showcasing them during the ceremony.  It was a lovely day.

Josh & Jenny opted for a first look, which I always recommend, for that extra intimate moment together before the big moment.  But theirs was just as wonderful as any other.  I try not to intrude on their moment, so I keep a little bit of distance away if I can.

Without going on forever and ever, here are some favorites from Josh & Jenny’s wedding 🙂

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I want to thank you, Josh & Jenny, for asking me to be a part of your wedding.  It was truly a pleasure meeting and working with you and also meeting your wonderful families!  I wish you both the absolute best in your lives together and marriage 🙂