Preparing For Your Engagement Session


An engagement session tells the story of a special milestone in your relationship, but it's not all about chemistry.

As part of our Fall promotions, we're rolling out a great deal on engagement sessions with our partnerthe Knot.

What is an engagement session with Ryan Richardson Photography?

It's part portrait shoot, part fashion show with a couple of ice breakers and bad jokes thrown into the mix. During your engagement session, you'll have a chance to expres yourself and become familiar with posing and your photographer. Above all, to paraphrase a wonderfully clever ad campaign, it's a chance to illustrate your love. Engagement images make great keepsakes and illustrations for wedding guest books or save the date cards.

Apart from the chemistry between two people, there are two important factors to getting the most out of your engagment session: presentation and location.

What to Wear:

It's not just about your clothes, but the face you're putting forward to the world. It's not all about looking great, but telling the right story about your relationship.

Please note that these are all very vague guidelines and not hard and fast rules. We all have our styles and sense of fashion, along with different body types and skin tones. If you're not sure, find a friend you trust and get an honest opinion about a look before committing it to film.


  • Wear colors that compliment, not the same colors. Matching outfits are cute on little kids, but they're more than a little embarassing on adults.
  • Coordinate outfits. It's not just about colors, but styles. If you want to break out that little black dress, don't let him roll out of bed in jeans and a t-shirt.
  • Avoid patterns and logos, they distract the eye from more important elements in the photograph.
  • Be yourself. If you are the couple that goes hiking and biking, you don't have to go black tie. However, if you're known for your Fifth Avenue fashion sense then plan your outfit that way.
  • Bring a little extra (and dress in layers). A quick change of outfits can add a little variety to a shoot and give you more to choose from when selecting photos. It's also good in case a shoot takes an unexpected direction or an outfit isn't quite working.
  • Keep accessories to a minimum as they provide distractions in a photograph. Small earings or necklaces are fine, since they draw the eye toward the face. You may especially want to avoid excessive bracelets or bangles.



  •  As for any other portrait session, consider treating yourself to some professional pampering. Really, what isn't a good excuse for a little pampering?
  • If you're considering a radical new style (like a cute bob), save it for after your shoot in case it goes wrong. Get your hair trimmed, roots colored (if you dye) and make sure that everything looks salon fresh.
  • This means your hands too, for all those pictures where you're showing off your engagement ring.
  • All of this applies to men too. They might not want to pain their nails, but pay attention to your grooming.
  • If you must tan, get it done a few days ahead of time so you still have that special glow but won't look like a lobster (or oompa-loompa) if it all goes south.



Part of the process is picking out a great couple of spots to set the stage for your iamges. The engagement session isn't suited to studio portraiture, it's about having a good time and telling a story. If there's a special place to you, whether it's where you had your first date or where he popped the question a location can add a lot to your shoot. That said, if you can't think of something special to you, there are a lot of pretty places that can give a great flow to your shoot.

Another variable to consider is sharing an activity together and telling that story. Perhaps you like to go to antique fairs or just bake on a lazy Sunday afternoon, many of these shared hobbies can make for a great photo shoot and turn it into somethign that's unique to you as a couple.

Variations on a Theme:

Theme shoots qre quite populat for engagment sesions, since they allow a couple to express some creativity and have a little fun before their wedding day. Perhaps you're building your wedding around a particular idea and you'd like to carry that into the engagement session for the guest book, invitations or other materials. If you're interested in a theme, be sure to let me know ahead of time so we can plan a great shoot built around your idea.

Some fun theme ideas: WWII Vintage, Zombies, Romantic Comedy Montage, gala.

Some terrible theme ideas: Turkish prison, gladiator movie and Thunderdome.