Should You Do An Engagement Session?


Engagement sessions are a huge favorite for us here at Michael & Kate Photography. Why? Because they are so stinkin’ FUN and they are a huge creative outlet! But let’s be real. Not everyone loves them as much as we do. So if you’re on the fence about whether or not to include an engagement session in your wedding photography package, let me at least give you three reasons we believe they are not only a great idea, but a must have as part of your wedding photography coverage.

First and foremost, engagement sessions give us all an opportunity to work together BEFORE your wedding day. This alone allows us to build a great relationship between us and our couples. Not only will we arrive to your wedding day already knowing one another, but you will have worked with us and seen images of YOURSELF that we shot! You will already have a great sense and understanding of how we work, and your wedding day won’t be the first time you find yourself in front of the camera.

Engagement photos serve a purpose. These photographs are a beautiful way to announce your engagement, use in your save-the-dates, on your wedding website, and they make a wonderful guest sign-in book. Not only will your wedding guests enjoy looking through a beautiful sign-in book dedicated to you, but they will leave you notes throughout all pages of the book that you will cherish forever.

Engagement photos are sentimental. I am fortunate to have photos of my mom and dad throughout their lives, from babyhood to adolescence and beyond. But I don’t have a single photo of my mom and dad TOGETHER before their wedding day. If I did, you bet I’d hold it near and dear.

Michael and I love that we can show our young daughter our engagement photos. It gives her reference to our lives before she came to be. And she really LOVES looking at our photos. She loves looking at our wedding photos too, but there’s something about our engagement pictures that she really gravitates to. In her very sweet 4 year old mind, it’s hard for her to imagine that mom and dad weren’t always married. It’s a way for us to tell her about her own family and our story of how we came together. Not only is it another way for us to bond, but it’s a way for her to understand who mom and dad were “when we were young” as she says. Lol.

Summer Mini Session are here!

Let's kick off summer together! Summer Mini Sessions are now available.
These sessions are a great way to get outside with your family as we head into our favorite season of the year. Choose from three dates at three different locations and let’s spend 25 minutes together as we capture moments that will be family favorites forever.

The Summertime Mini | $250
Book a 25 minute session and get any 4 digital images.
The Complete Collection | $400
Book a 25 minute session and get edited digital images of your complete session.

June 8 | Coronado Sand Dunes
June 9 | Scripps Beach, La Jolla
June 23 | Eucalyptus Grove, La Jolla

Spaces are limited. Contact us TODAY to reserve your spot!

Where's the Sun?


Every November, I am jolted by the only meaningful signal that summer is no longer here in San Diego: Daylight Savings has ended and the sunset is now at 4:45pm. 4:45PM! The afternoon is hardly over by then, and the night seems to arrive waaaaay too early.

We get use to it, eventually. And slowly, before we know it, it is March and the time change happens again, and with it, our sunset is pushed back to a respectable hour.

But when planning a fall and winter wedding, we often forget how long the night can be. A 4 o’clock ceremony sounds perfect and allows for a 6pm dinner, which will have you dancing by 7:30. Plenty of time to visit with friends and family, dance to your favorite songs, and wrap up the evening by 10pm (a time when the majority of venues need the sound turned low).

But here’s the rub:

A 4pm ceremony during our late fall and winter months could mean you are taking pictures in the dark.

So be sure to take the sunset into consideration as you plan your ceremony time. Need help? We’d love to help you with our custom Ultimate Wedding Day Timeline so you get the most out of your wedding and don’t miss those important photographs that need the light of day.

3 Must Read Reasons for Formal Portraits


Why Family formal portraits can’t be missed

I have this very distinct memory at our own wedding hearing several close family members groan as we gathered everyone for formal portraits. In my own head — at that moment — I was stressed. I wanted to rush through these “must do” photos so that we could run down to the beach and do portraits of Michael and I — the photos I deemed most important. The sun was sinking low, and the time it took everyone to gather felt like an eternity.

Fast forward nearly (gulp!) a decade later, I look back at these formal portraits with total gratitude.

You see, since our wedding, things have changed (seriously, I can’t believe we’ve been married nearly 10 years!!). My grandmother has since passed away, our niece and nephews have nearly grown up completely, and Michael and I are definitely not 20 somethings anymore! These photos stir in me nostalgia and disbelief at how much has happened in the short decade since. And the truth is, this will be even more so ten years from now. Only then, I’ll be able to share these photos with our own kids, and eventually (hopefully) I’ll share them with my grandchildren.

So in a nutshell, here are our three reasons why these photos can’t be missed and why I love them more and more as the years (very quickly!) go by.

1. The people in these photographs matter.

We often get asked by our brides and grooms who they should include in their formal portraits. Generally speaking, your closest relatives should be included. These are often the people that raised you, comforted you, and helped you become the person you are today. Additionally, these are the people that most likely helped you through the process of planning your wedding. What a gift to be in a portrait with them on your wedding day.

For most of our clients, they are as follows:

Your Parents and/or Step Parents
Your Siblings, your siblings spouses and their children

Certainly, you can opt to have other important people join in these portraits. Just keep in mind that each group takes 2-3 minutes to photograph, and we only have about 25 minutes to complete the formal portraits.

2. The formal group portraits make beautiful gifts for family members that attend your wedding, especially if you want to send them a thank you gift.

3. These photos document your family for future generations. Think about it. Years from now, your children (and your children’s children) will look at these photographs and see family members who are no longer with us. They get to see what their relatives looked like when they were young! It’s a beautiful documentation of your family’s legacy all in a single, beautiful portrait that will be looked at for decades.

Our Ultimate Wedding Day Timeline

One of the first things we talk about to our brides and grooms is a timeline. We have a number of reasons why we think a timeline is important. First, it helps our couples organize their thoughts on how the day should play out:

Do they want to see each other before the ceremony? Do they want to attend cocktail hour?

Secondly, it helps to know where everyone should be and at what time. It’s formal portrait time and no one can find the father of the bride?!

And most important, it reduces stress. Our Ultimate Wedding Day Timeline helps you keep track of how long certain tasks take (like bustling your dress), and helps everyone know what’s coming up next. Plus, we buffer in a little breathing room so you aren’t rushing from moment to moment. Because we want you to live in the moment. And that is the BIGGEST reason we talk about a timeline at the very start.