The Wallflower Photography Blog

Photo of engagement guestbook sitting on table with feathered fountain pen, created from engagement portraits and used at a wedding, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

A few days ago we featured highlights from Natalie and Nathan’s engagement portrait session at Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park here on the Wallflower Blog.

For engaged couples, having an engagement portrait session is a great idea for two main reasons. The less obvious reason is to get used to working with your photographer, and your photographer with you. After all, us photographers are placed in a rather odd position at weddings. At a gathering of the bride and groom’s favorite people in the world, we’re the people they barely know who get to have more one-on-one time with them than just about anyone else. The experience of an engagement portrait session can be really valuable in making our brides and grooms feel a little more comfortable in front of the camera, which makes the wedding-day portrait session more pleasant (even fun) and results in better photos.

The other reason to have an engagement portrait session, of course, is that you get a bunch of great photos! Sure, you’ll also get great photos at your wedding, but that’s totally different. You really want a balance of wedding and casual photos of yourselves in your homes and living spaces.

I often get asked for ideas on what to do with engagement portraits. Here are just a few:

  • Use them on save-the-date cards, or even informal wedding invitations, so all your wedding guests can see what the “other guy/girl” looks like.
  • Place small framed photos (5×7 or 8×10) at key places in your wedding decor. I’ve seen them placed on the guestbook/sign-in table, the gift table, the favors table, and on each dinner table.
  • Have us add text and/or graphics to a favorite photo, and print it large on canvas or aluminum, to create a personalized welcome sign for arriving guests that you can later display in your house.
  • Integrate them into a slideshow to be played during the dinner hour that starts with photos of the bride and groom as babies, follows their growth through the school years, and then the dating years, and ends with their engagement portraits. These are always so popular at wedding receptions! We’re capable of creating really awesome wedding reception slideshows, so if it sounds appealing, just ask!
  • I saved the best for last: Have us turn them into one of our newest products, the engagement guestbook!

At the top of this post is a photo of the cover of Natalie and Nathan’s engagement guestbook. It measures 10×10 inches in size with 20 pages (10 spreads), and a photo cover bound with stitched black leather. Open it up and we have a large photo with names and wedding date to serve as a title page.

Photo of title page of engagement guestbook, created from engagement portraits and used at a wedding, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Then the remaining pages feature more engagement photos selected by our clients, presented in a variety of different page designs, most of which have large white spaces around them for wedding guests to write personal messages and blessings to the bride and groom. Here’s one spread, photographed late in the day after several guests have written messages on the paper pages.

Photo of inner spread of engagement guestbook, showing messages and signatures written by wedding guests, by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

I’ve always felt that generic, off-the-shelf guestbooks were rather boring and pointless. How often are you going to take that book down from the shelf (or out of deep storage in the attic) to flip through? But if the pages are loaded with great engagement portraits, AND have those handwritten messages from loved ones, it’s likely to get viewed, and treasured.

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