Tips + Techniques

Make Engagement Photography Magic at Lake Como

March 21, 2024

By Elisabetta Redaelli

Any time a couple is interested in having me be their photographer, I do a little happy dance. My couples place so much trust in me to capture their epic photos and portraits in my signature Lilly Red style. And I know that it can be a little bit intimidating or overwhelming to suddenly be in front of a professional’s camera. That’s why I always get so excited when couples do put their trust in me to make engagement photography magic happen for them. It’s also why I work so hard to develop a genuine relationship so they always feel comfortable and confident in front of my camera. 

That’s what happened when this fabulous couple trusted me to be their Lake Como engagement photographer. Keep scrolling to see the engagement photography gold we created and to hear tips on how you can do it, too.

© Elisabetta Redaelli

How I Structure Engagement Portrait Sessions in Lake Como

In the weeks (and even months) leading up to any kind of portrait session, whether it’s a full wedding day or an engagement session, I help my couples get ready to be in front of my camera. 

That includes walking them through locations and ideas I have for their session. 

Most of my engagement sessions include at least two locations and two outfits. Having two locations and two outfits provides plenty of variety for their final gallery.

© Elisabetta Redaelli

The First Location I Scouted as Their Lake Como Engagement Photographer: Villa Monastero

The beauty of a couple trusting me as their Lake Como engagement photographer is that I am a Lake Como native. 

I know this area like the back of my hand! So when I get to know couples in the months and weeks leading up to their session, I start thinking about ideas and ways to create a special session with them based on their personalities. 

For this couple, the first location I scouted was Villa Monastero. It’s a gorgeous villa built right on the lakeshore. I knew it would be a perfect spot for their classic, yet glamorous aesthetic!

© Elisabetta Redaelli
© Elisabetta Redaelli

Bold, Fashionable, Fun 

Once my clients book with me for engagement sessions, one of the most commonly asked questions I get is, “What should I wear?” 

So many photographers out there are leaning toward neutral colors and matching outfits among the couple. 

But I always tell my clients to lean into bold, fashionable, and fun! As a former fashion photographer, I always love seeing my clients’ personalities shine through their clothing choices. 

And rather than matching, I tell my clients to try to find outfits that complement each other. It’s a way to look cohesive without looking too matchy-matchy in photos. 

This couple took the advice to heart. Between his muted yet classic and luxurious suit and her bold magenta dress with bright red roses, they couldn’t have looked more fantastic in their photos at Villa Monastero!

© Elisabetta Redaelli
© Elisabetta Redaelli

The Second Location I Scouted as Their Lake Como Engagement Photographer: The City of Varenna

Whenever my couples travel to Lake Como for the engagement sessions, I never just want to stay at one of the many villas dotting the lakeside. 

Instead, I love for them to experience more of what makes Lake Como so incredible. So for their second location, I suggested we explore the city of Varenna.

© Elisabetta Redaelli

One of My Favorite Ways to Capture More Personality: Incorporate Fun, Meaningful Props

One thing I love about being a Lake Como engagement photographer is finding ways to incorporate more creativity into my couples’ sessions. 

A lot of the time, many couples want to experience Lake Como on the water. So I suggest we take the classic Riva boats out during our session together. 

But there are so many other fun options to incorporate into an engagement session! For this one, the couple wanted portraits in a vintage Porsche. 

It was such a luxurious, yet classic prop which fit in so well with their overall aesthetic!

© Elisabetta Redaelli
© Elisabetta Redaelli

Engagement Photography Magic

It’s sessions like these that have me falling in love with the magic of Lake Como engagement photography sessions all over again! 

Between the bold, fun fashion choices, the prime Lake Como locations, and getting to use a vintage Porsche in their photos, it was an incredible photography experience.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared on Elisabetta Redaelli’s blog.

Elisabetta Redaelli, also known as Lilly Red, is an Italian-American, award-winning destination wedding photographer known for evoking the romance and energy of the Italian Renaissance masters. A Rangefinder’s Rising Star of Wedding Photography in 2021, Elisabetta has photographed celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. She recently taught a seminar and photo walk at WPPI.

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