An Engagement Portrait with Katie & Ryan in Riverside


Ryan and Katie at the end of our 2-hour photo session appears to have forgotten about us lurking in the background.

Katie and Ryan drove an hour and half from San Diego over the weekend to meet with me.

Brave souls they are to trust a complete stranger whom they’ve never met to do an engagement portrait.

I just spoke to Katie over the phone. One of my former students Jayme who’s doing extremely well in her photography business, was the intermediary.


Tim helps out by holding a reflector at our 1st setup. We added the strobe with silver umbrella to “warm up” the skin tones and boost the contrast because everything just looked “flat” due to the overcast sky.


The weather wasn’t on our side.

It was on the cool side, extreme overcast and to top it off, Lake Evans did not look its best.

But all my students from my Digital Wedding Photography class offered at UC Riverside Extension Center, Najma, Tim, Hernan, Jose, Jesus and Helen were ready to work.

The week before we photographed the grand opening of the Nati Fuentes Centro de Niños Child Care Center at Boardwell Park.

I even scored a free lunch for everyone!

Najma made her 1st pictures with just available light and the reflector filling from below.

In keeping the setups as simple as possible, I used one 800w/s White Lightning head with a silver umbrella and my portable battery a couple of reflectors.
The strobe was triggered wirelessly by one remote. Since I had only one, we had to take turns.

At first everyone was playing nice and passing it around. Before long, no one, you know who you are, wanted to give it up!

Since this was the culmination of our 4 Saturdays together, I thought it was quite fun and hopefully useful.

Katie and Ryan as with most subjects warmed up to us eventually. The cloud cover dissipating, no doubt, helped as Katie changed into a dress for our last setup.

Helen’s picture made with the strobe shows how much the use of a flash can add very pleasing catchlights and more contrast.

It’s actually a testament to how nice a couple they are.

Before long we were kidding around and you can see from the pictures that everyone actually enjoyed themselves.

Jesus who’s been married a while, started handing out unsolicited marriage advice.

Even Jose had words of wisdom. I can only say this to Katie & Ryan, “Don’t listen to these paparazzis.”

5 thoughts on “An Engagement Portrait with Katie & Ryan in Riverside”

  1. These look great!! Thanks to everyone! We had such a great time; this was an incredible and memorable experience for us! And yes, we were very nervous at first but who passes up free engagement photos!! Thank you all for being so professional and putting us at ease. We could not have asked for a better day!

  2. Jesus,
    If it was a true look at “wedding photography,” we’d have bride and a groom and a real boda. Thankfully you guys were very motivated and made the class a lot of fun. I was dreading the 4 long Saturdays. Please stay in touch and share the blog with your friends and family!

  3. Pete,
    What an amazing and fun time. Thanks for the true look into the world of “Wedding Photography”. I learned a great deal and made some friends, as well. Let me know you’ll be teaching another class. Muchas gracias!

  4. Hernan,
    This turned out to be a fun class because you guys were motivated. One of these days I’ll stage a wedding for this class! But it may taking some finagling. lots of wheeling and dealing. Good luck on your photographic journey! You’re well on your way.

  5. I would agree that the weather was not on our side. This is the type of weather that most of the times makes me put my camera away. That’s when creativity with reflectors and portable lights comes to play to avoid all pictures being flat. There is no way some one can tell a couple that drove an hour and a half for a photo shoot to turn back because of the weather. Improvise with what you have and you will only get better for the next gloomy day. The on-hands training was great. Thanks Peter!

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