lesley & reece | engagement.

I was editing an engagement session while on a flight recently, and I noticed the guy sitting in the seat next to me casually watching as I flipped through the images.

“So what kind of photo shoot is this?” he eventually asked me.

“It’s an engagement session,” I replied. When my reply was followed by a blank stare from my fellow passenger, I remembered that these things are not always a familiar concept to the average single dude. I explained that these sessions are typically with an engaged couple whose wedding I will be shooting the following year, and that we do this session sometime beforehand not only so that they can have some professional photos together from something other than their wedding day, but also so that we can all feel more comfortable together and simply get to know one another.

“So it’s kinda like y’all are dating,” he said, matter-of-factly.

I nodded and laughed a little.

“Yeah, actually, it’s exactly like that.”

As a single woman in my late twenties, I have been on my fair share of first dates. And you know what? Meeting one of my couples – a couple who either has chosen me to photograph their wedding, or who I hope will choose me to photograph their wedding – feels exactly like a first date. Both parties are little bit nervous, and a little bit worried that they’ll do something wrong, or embarrassing, or that they simply won’t vibe well with each other.

I emailed back and forth with Lesley prior to them booking me to photograph their wedding next year, but we had yet to meet in person until their engagement session. As I made the drive to our location that evening, I felt a familiar sensation – I noticed my palms were a little clammy, I glanced at the mirror to see how my intentionally messy bun looked far more than was necessary, and I found myself running through poses in my head the way one may mentally go over talking points prior to a date.

The thing to remember about dating, and in turn, about a photographer meeting one of his or her couples for the very first time, is that they’re usually a little nervous, too. It’s the good kind of nervousness, the anticipatory kind – the kind that may throw you for a loop a bit at first, but once you settle in and get comfortable, you find your groove and realize you’re even enjoying yourself.

So, when it comes to my session with Lesley and Reece? This evening was the great first date that you go home and rave about to all your friends. It was the date that starts with both parties being a little bit nervous, and those nerves dissipating once you realize you get each other’s jokes, and that they’re super laid back, and that they’re exactly the kind of person/people you could see yourself spending a day with just hanging out. Lesley and Reece were fun and engaging and hilarious and totally sweet with one another, and a pleasant reminder of how lucky I am to end up with clients/dates like these.

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