Casey Fatchett is a wedding photographer who has photographed many couples while the actual proposal is happening. Here, we talk to Casey about the challenges (and fun) of shooting an engagement and how he uses slideshows.
Typically men aren’t the decision makers when it comes to booking a photographer, yet they book you for these secret engagement shoots. How do you effectively reach these men who are about to propose?
You have to let them know that it is a service that is available to them. Most guys have put so much effort into getting the ring and planning how they are going to ask, it can easily slip their mind that they may want a professional to document it. I use social media and connect with companies who help men plan proposals to help get the word out.
The biggest challenge is not to stand out. Even if you are seen, you should not be ‘noticed’ – does that make sense? I don’t wear anything that is going to draw attention. I pretend to take pictures of other things. I have had my wife tag along to make it look like I am taking pictures of her when I am actually shooting over her shoulder. Once the proposal actually starts to happen, I can move around a lot more since all attention is on the ring at that point.
When you get booked to shoot an engagement, do you end-up shooting their wedding and engagement photos as well?
Some couples also book me to shoot their wedding as well, and I offer them a partial credit for what they paid for the proposal photos towards the wedding package.
Do you think shooting engagements helps differentiates you as a wedding photographer? If so, how else do you differentiate yourself?
I think being with a couple from the time of the proposal is a great advantage. You are with them from the very beginning of their engagement. You know more of their story, and they are more comfortable having you around to take pictures of them. I also differentiate myself by being very ‘stress-free’ in terms of offering packages that have no time limits so couples don’t have to worry about over time and choosing whether or not to have me for the ‘getting ready’ photos or until the end of the reception.
You have made slideshows that showcase engagements you have shot. How else do you use Animoto slideshows other than a recap?
I use slideshows for weddings, engagement portraits, other portraits clients. One service I offer for my musician clients is to use their photos to create a ‘music video’ for them using their original songs. As a reseller, I also use Animoto slideshows to help network with other vendors. If there is a vendor or a venue I work with a lot, I create a slideshow showing their work as sort of an online commercial. It helps us both, they get something nice to show their potential clients, and their potential clients see my photos and my branding!
Any last tips to photographers who are interested in shooting actual engagements?
It is a difficult niche to get involved in because you really have to work at spreading the word about the service so that people know you are even there – much more so than with weddings or portraits. But if you work at it, it can be a great revenue source and a fantastic way to meet potential wedding clients from the moment they get engaged!