Engaging in the Perfect Engagement Photo Session

Photographer Cheryl Richards gives advice for your engagement shots.

Photograph by Cheryl Richards

Photograph by Cheryl Richards

Selfies from that special question-popping moment aside, you can’t capture the true essence of pre-wedding bliss better than with an engagement photo session. Think about it. You’re knee-deep in plans (in a good way) and heart-full with excitement about your future together.

“The time engagement portraits signify is the brief yet idyllic start to a couple’s life together,” says Cheryl Richards, Boston photographer extraordinaire. With a studio across the street from the Boston Public Garden, she knows a thing or two about setting the right stage for hundreds of couples and their engagement photos. “My goal in celebrating each couple’s engagement is to show their connection to one another, their love, and the excitement in being engaged.”

To begin, choose a spectacular location—one that reflects your personalities or interests. Yes, you can certainly visit a photographer’s studio, but why not instead think of a place that has significance to you both and make it happen there? From the Public Garden bridge to a sandy Gloucester beach, make it about the two of you. “Then through composition, distance, and light, the portrait I take reflects their connection rather than the location,” says Richards. “My goal is to reveal their love for one and other.”

Like most good things in life, timing is everything to get that perfect shot. Richards prefers to schedule outdoor photo sessions in the afternoon, when the light is soft and flattering to you and your significant other.

Richards also wants you to let your love do the talking, not your outfit. “I highly recommend that couples wear simple clothing with similar tones and style, but a pop of color can work well, too,” she suggests. Stand together in front of a full-length mirror in your chosen outfits at home before the photo session. Any clashing, and it’s back to the drawing board (and the closet). It’s also a good idea to bring a couple changes of clothing, just in case another mood strikes you during the session.

Although most of her shoots take an hour, Richards suggests being open to the option of playing around. “I have spent full days with couples if we’re on location, whether by the sea or in a place that means a great deal to them.”

And don’t forget Fido. Bringing along props (read: your favorite pets) is a great and unexpected personal touch. “If the couple has animals in their lives, I love what a beloved pet can bring to the shoot,” she says.

Richards also suggests trying to use the same professional photographer for both your engagement session and your big day. “I find it works well if I’m photographing their engagement portrait and their wedding because we have already established a connection ahead of the wedding. It gives also them confidence and ease in front of the camera,” she explains.


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