A Comprehensive Guide to the Perfect Engagement Session Part 1 // Guest Blog by Taylor Abeel

Nicole George Events // Taylor Abeel Photography

Nicole George Events // Taylor Abeel Photography

I asked my good friend Taylor Abeel, Owner and photographer extraordinaire of Taylor Abeel Photography, to write a little piece about engagement photography. I respect Taylor for not only his beautiful photography, but his eloquent and intentional approach. I trust no one else to share advice! However, I came to realize that when you ask a professional photographer with years of experience on the matter, this type of expertise is too great to fit into one teeny post. So, we're breaking up his guidance into a three part series over the next few weeks!

Part 1: Why You Should Book an Engagement Photo Session

By Taylor Abeel

What do you think of when you hear the words “engagement session”? “Sounds like fun, but… not essential,” or “Now there is something we can cut out to save some money!” Having been through the wedding planning process myself, I totally get it. However, with more than a decade of experience as a professional wedding photographer, I am convinced that booking an engagement session is one of the best ways to ensure the success of your wedding photography experience. Engagement sessions are to weddings what dress rehearsals are to live performances: they really are that important. Here are the top three reasons why you should have an engagement session and how to get the most out of it.

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taylor-abeel-photography-perfect-engagement-photo-idea-tip-guide-planning-san-diego-wedding-00307

  1. Developing Trust

Believe it or not, hardly anyone will spend more time with you on your wedding day than your photographer. Your entire wedding experience, and the memories you carry with you from that day forward, will be inseparably linked to the relationship you had with your photographer . . . for better or worse.

Chatting over coffee or drinks before booking your photographer is certainly a great start, but it is no substitute for actually working with your photographer on a shoot. The best way to do this is with an engagement session!

Not only will you get to know your photographer better, but you will also have the opportunity to experience what it is like being in front of the camera. You will become familiar with the way your photographer interacts with, directs, and “poses” you. The engagement session will help you determine whether or not your photographer is able to bring out the best in both you and your fiancé.

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taylor-abeel-photography-perfect-engagement-photo-idea-tip-guide-planning-san-diego-wedding-00092

2. Ensuring Compatibility

The right photographer will not only produce technically beautiful images in accordance with your style, but he will also complement your personalities. If you are a quiet, easy-going couple, a rock-star photographer who pushes you to get crazy, jump around, and be loud will make you anxious and uncomfortable. Conversely, if you are the wild and crazy type, a reserved and unassertive photographer may fail to capture your adventurous spirit. The whole experience may end up seeming either infinitely boring or positively nerve-wracking.

An engagement session is a great way to prevent this from happening on your wedding day. If, after your engagement session, you find yourself second-guessing your choice of photographer, you can still back out before it’s too late! Any photographer worth his or her salt will not force you to stay with them if you are not satisfied. Just make sure you know their cancellation policies before you book them.

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taylor-abeel-photography-perfect-engagement-photo-idea-tip-guide-planning-san-diego-wedding-00180

3. Testing Hair and Makeup

Finally, the engagement session is like the dress rehearsal for your big day. It is the perfect opportunity for you to do a trial run with your hair and makeup artist. In my experience, this is one of the biggest culprits of a derailed wedding day schedule.

On occasion, I will show up to a wedding ready to start photos, only to find that the bride is nowhere near ready. Why? She had to re-do her hair and makeup because she wasn’t happy with how she looked. Don’t let this be you!

Use your engagement session to get these things right before your wedding day. And, while you are at it, ask your makeup artist to help you determine which colors look best with your skin tone. Wearing the right shades of makeup makes a world of difference in front of the camera!

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taylor-abeel-photography-perfect-engagement-photo-idea-tip-guide-planning-san-diego-wedding-00411

Final Thoughts

Booking an engagement session really is the best way to foster trust and confidence in your wedding photographer, as well as to make sure you look your best on your wedding day. When you see the fantastic images from your engagement session, you will be able to rest easy, forget all about the camera, and simply enjoy your special day!

TaylorAbeel

TaylorAbeel

This is the first installment in the three-part series, A Comprehensive Guide to the Perfect Engagement Session, by Taylor Abeel. Stay tuned for the next two installments: How to Have a Successful Engagement Session” and “What to Wear for Your Engagement Session.”