An Engaging Photo Shoot

Engagement photos are a must-have for many couples. Pittsburgh provides the backdrop for these personal sessions.

Photos by Steven Dray


After Matt Krusey and Jessica Eiben got engaged in May 2012, they realized they had no high-quality photographs of themselves together — only casual snapshots from vacations or family gatherings.

“We wanted something that would show who we are as a couple. And we wanted to put them on our wedding website,” says Matt.

The couple contacted Steven Dray, a photographer who had done engagement photos for a friend. He asked about the kind of shoot they’d prefer and the locations they were considering. They chose their boat, which they keep docked behind the Cork Factory in the Strip District.

“We thought it’d be good to [take pictures in places] that are part of our everyday life,” says Jessica.


Matt, who grew up in Monroeville, and Jessica, of South Park, also included their dog, Bodee, in some of their pictures.

“He’s kind of a part of our family. That was very important to both of us,” says Matt. “Jess really wanted him in the pictures — to showcase our growing family, I guess we’d call it.”
More couples nowadays want to bring their pets along, according to Dray, who works out of a home office in Coraopolis. He notes that couples also are opting for locations that are special to them and showcase Pittsburgh.


He won’t be shooting Matt and Jessica’s wedding in May because they’re planning nuptials in Mexico. But he says he offers an engagement session in all of his wedding packages, adding that couples almost always request it.

“It’s a great way to meet the couple before their wedding and get to know the couple, get them comfortable before the camera,” he says.

“You can use those photos for Christmas cards, or  . . . just to have a nice picture of the two of you together. I think engagement shoots really capture a lot of people’s personalities; they’re more relaxed than they would be on their wedding.”


Local photographers weigh in with advice:

Choosing a location is important and can say a lot about you as a couple. Find somewhere that you can let loose and be yourselves. Coordinate your clothes, and wear something you are comfortable in. Remember, be confident and have fun.
Rachel Tokarski


Be yourself. The best images are of genuine moments that you share as a couple. Wear clothes that you feel good in. You will wear the confidence in your photos. Choose a photographer that you connect with so that you can relax and have fun, which equals amazing pics!
Meaghan Elliott


Practice posing. Being comfortable in front of the camera will make the shoot feel more natural, and being able to go from playful to intimate poses will allow for a large variety of photos!
Anastasia Steinman
Laurel Mountain Photography LLC

Categories: Bridal Buzz