Most wedding photographers will list an engagement portrait session under their services. Some photographers will throw in a “free” engagement portrait session when you book them for your wedding. I put free in quotes because while the shoot itself may not cost anything you’ll have to pay for any prints you order.
An engagement session can be shot any time before your wedding and many couples will use these photos on their save-the-date cards or wedding website. If that’s what you’re thinking of doing you should book the shoot at least six to nine months before the wedding so that you have time to order save-the-date cards with the photos on them.
An engagement shoot is also a great way to get to know, and get comfortable with, your photographer. Remember that he or she will be with you -- literally in your face -- all day on your wedding day so it’s important that you hire someone who doesn’t annoy you.
If you are expecting your wedding photographer to shoot your engagement session make sure those details are in the contract, including if the shoot is in a studio or on location, how much it will cost to do the shoot and how much print orders will cost.