I HEAR IT ALL TOO OFTEN — “ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS ARE A REALLY HEFTY INVESTMENT AND WE JUST DON’T THINK THAT THEY’RE WORTH THE MONEY”

As someone who is in the thick of wedding planning herself, I completely understand the struggle of making sure your budget stays under control. Between catering, decor, and floral design, it’s easy to get carried away and feel the need to make cuts to items that don’t feel like they are quite as much of a necessity.

When I asked on Instagram “what is holding you back from booking an engagement session?” every single bride who answered responded with “budget,” which prompted a ton of conversations on this topic! The reality is, I don’t think that the true value of an engagement session is talked about nearly as much as it should be!

Bias aside, I think that an engagement session is a crucial step in making sure you’re getting the most out of your wedding photography experience. So much so, that I’m breaking down my top three reasons why you should reconsider slashing it from your wedding budget —  and none of those reasons have anything to do with save-the-dates or wedding websites!



Scotsdale Farm Engagement Session | Niagara Wedding Photographer | Honsberger Estate Wedding | Kayla Yestal www.kaylayestal.com

1. IT GIVES YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET TO KNOW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER ON A MORE PERSONAL LEVEL

One thing that is so important to realize before even booking your wedding photographer is how much time you’ll be with that person on your day. Beyond their soon-to-be husband or wife, I am always the person who my brides see the most. From those giddy getting ready moments in the morning all the way to the teary-eyed speeches during your reception, you’ll be relying on your me for a lot more than beautiful images! Booking an engagement session gives you the opportunity to get to know me beyond the small talk so that you can feel comfortable relying on me for emotional support through those moments on your big day.

Oftentimes, without one of these sessions, the only other time I see my couples in person before their wedding day is during their initial consultation. With most couples booking their vendors over a year in advance, this can sometimes mean that they feel disconnected from me after such a long stretch of no in-person contact. Being able to have that extra hour or two together in between that first meeting and the wedding day is the perfect refresher! We’ll spend the evening connecting on a deeper level, and in all likelihood, will end up feeling like old friends (complete with inside jokes) on the big day.



Sherwood Inn Engagement Session Photographed by Muskoka Wedding Photographer Kayla Yestal www.kaylayestal.com | Sherwood Inn Wedding | Sherwood Inn Wedding Photographer | Muskoka Engagement Session

2. IT IS THE BEST WAY TO MAKE YOURSELVES MORE COMFORTABLE IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA

When you feel awkward in front of the camera, adding another hour or two of strictly couples portraits to your photography experience probably sounds like the last thing you would want to do. The truth is, this session can actually help get rid of all of this awkwardness and anxiety altogether!

Engagement sessions will always make you feel at ease during wedding day portraits because both of us will know exactly what to expect! Working together ahead of time will give you a sneak peek into how I approach posing, will calm your nerves about things feeling unnatural, and will give me a ton of insight into how I should approach shooting the two of you in order the get the best results.

I even find that I need less time for portraits on the wedding day if the couple has had an engagement session with me because we have already worked the kinks out! They tend to be so familiar with what I need from them in order to get the best images, and they don’t spend any time second-guessing themselves with those awkward “am I doing this right?” thoughts.



Scotsdale Farm Engagement Session | Niagara Wedding Photographer | Honsberger Estate Wedding | Kayla Yestal www.kaylayestal.com

3. YOU HAVE A RARE OPPORTUNITY FOR A TRIAL RUN

Just a few weeks ago, I received an email that was along the lines of “We booked another photographer and just got our engagement session gallery back, but realized that she wasn’t a good fit for us. Are you still available?”

This is heartbreaking to me for so many reasons, but the biggest one is that I can’t help but think what would have happened had they not booked an engagement session. I’d love to think that all of my brides who have booked me will be completely happy with their images, but what if they didn’t do enough research and we actually aren’t a fit stylistically?

Engagement sessions are the only opportunity that you have to test the waters with your photographer. It gives you a very rare chance to provide them with feedback and potentially chance course if necessary. Getting your photos back from an engagement session and realizing that you have some things you aren’t happy with is a very small problem. The same situation with your wedding day images could turn into a lifelong sore-spot when reminiscing on your love story.

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