A Comprehesive Guide to the Perfect Engagement Session Part 2 // Guest Blog by Taylor Abeel

Part 2: How to Have a Successful Engagement Session

By Taylor Abeel

Hopefully, if you read Part 1 of this series, you are convinced now that you must do an engagement session. So now let’s talk about how to ensure you get the most out of it and enjoy the experience! Here are three ways you can capture the beauty and uniqueness of your relationship through your engagement session photos.

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

  1. Tell Your Story

Every good story begins in the right setting. Start by selecting a location, which either suits your personalities and interests, or has special meaning for both of you. The right setting will set the tone of the shoot and evoke a distinctive feeling in you, which will translate through your photos.

Ideally, your engagement session will have the elements of a story, with a beginning, middle, and end. Think of it as a clip from a movie about you! A good story conveys personality and emotion. It is descriptive in details. There is movement, action, and unexpected moments. This way, when you or guests look back through your album, they will get a taste of who you are as a couple and not just a series of similar portraits with different backgrounds.

You can achieve this story-telling approach by inviting your photographer to accompany you while you do something you both actually enjoy. It can be as simple as making breakfast together at home, hiking in the woods, attending a baseball game, or going out on the town. Be creative and think outside the box!

It is my belief that when you plan to do something you truly enjoy for your photo shoot, you will naturally convey that sense of fun and genuine personality in your pictures. However, if all you do is stand in front of a wall or backdrop, you will quickly run out of “poses” and start to feel self-conscious. Make your shoot personal and invite both the photographer and the audience into your life.

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taylor-abeel-photography-perfect-engagement-photo-idea-tip-guide-planning-san-diego-wedding-00001

2. Be Yourselves

It is human nature to seek inspiration for our lives. However, when planning your engagement session, I recommend that you don’t try to copy exact shots from other sessions or compare your shoot to another one you admired. Every couple and every photographer is unique. Therefore, every photo shoot will be unique.

If you want great photos that look natural, I have found that it is best to let the shoot unfold naturally. It is in those unexpected, in-between moments where the magic happens. It is there that the most genuine and meaningful photos take place.

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taylor-abeel-photography-perfect-engagement-photo-idea-tip-guide-planning-san-diego-wedding-00304

For this to occur, you must be willing to let go a little and trust your photographer to capture your personalities and create images that resonate with who you are. However, don’t be afraid to collaborate on ideas with your photographer. Personally, I love it when my clients share their ideas with me. The more excited you are about a concept, the more it will come across in the photos.

3. Have Fun!

  • Ultimately, the goal of an engagement session is for you to have a relaxing and enjoyable day, make beautiful pictures, and hopefully find yourselves a little more in love than when you started. So, when shoot day comes, leave your worries behind, and just have fun!

That said, I do recommend thinking of a few encouraging things to say to each other during the shoot. Nothing will make your expressions reflect your love for one another like a sincere compliment or an encouraging word. Spend some time before the shoot thinking about why you love and are grateful for each other. Even if you don’t verbalize it (which you should!), you will feel more in love with each other, and this will come across in the photos.

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taylor-abeel-photography-perfect-engagement-photo-idea-tip-guide-planning-san-diego-wedding-00190

At the end of the day, a truly magnificent engagement photo is one that has real people sharing a real moment with real emotions. When you incorporate your own story, setting, personalities, and love for each other into your engagement session, you will end up with an array of beautiful images to cherish forever.

TaylorAbeel

TaylorAbeel

Stay tuned for Part 3, the final in our series, to answer the age-old question: “What should we wear?” If you have questions, feel free to contact me! I would love to hear how your engagement session went and especially see some photos!