Since the dawn of his photography business in 2008, Ryan Southen has traveled the world pursuing his passion: capturing people and environments. In particular, Ryan draws viewers into moments of easy intimacy in his portraits, and introduces his audience to lesser-known artistic feats in Detroit, MI and far beyond. Ryan cares deeply about forming lasting relationships with his clients, which translates into creative shoots, painstaking editing, and striking finished products -- whether for your special day or your next ad campaign. In addition to shooting weddings, Ryan has delivered high-quality commercial images for large businesses, foundations, and architecture firms throughout the Midwest. Despite becoming an award-winning photographer (The Knot 'Best of' Hall of Fame), Ryan wants you to know that he's a true Midwesterner (read: friendly and approachable). He looks forward to collaborating with clients on projects to ensure they leave not only with a visual story that exceeds the industry standard, but also with a positive experience from Ryan Southen Photography.

Select Clients

  • The Kresge Foundation

  • Mort Crim Communications Inc.

  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

  • City of Detroit

  • Detroit Water and Sewerage Department

  • Comerica Bank

  • Eastern Market Corporation

  • MGM Grand Casino Detroit

  • Henry Ford Hospital

  • Iron Ridge Holdings

  • Fives Group

  • Interscope Records + Eminem

  • The German Marshall Fund

Architectural Clients

  • Gensler

  • Synecdoche Design

  • Harley, Ellis, Devereaux

  • 2MArchitects

  • Hopkins Burns Architects

  • A3C Architects

  • Walbridge


  • BBC

  • Architectural Record

  • HOUR Detroit

  • DBusiness Magazine

  • Metro Detroit Bride

  • Coney Detroit

  • Nikon World Magazine


Wedding Testimonials


"Ryan is truly a talented photographer! I'm convinced he could get the same shots he did for our wedding with a disposable camera! He has an eye for creativity and light and he really knows what he's doing. He's extremely laid back, easy to work with, easy to communicate with, and very professional. We felt like we were hanging out with one of our friends the entire time! As a makeup artist, I have worked with hundreds of photographers but when it came to picking our wedding photographer, I was super picky. We would hire Ryan a million times over again! I can truly say that he is worth every penny and the only downfall?? You'll have a hard time choosing which photos to frame for your house because they are all just beautiful!" - Meredith


"We found out about Ryan through a different photographer that we loved but she was already booked on our wedding date. I’m so glad we found him. Ryan was just wonderful and everything we were looking for in a photographer. Deciding to opt out of the engagement session, my husband and I went on a bike ride with Ryan instead to scope out possible wedding photo locations and get to know him better. This was Ryan’s suggestion, and from this experience we truly feel we found not just a wedding vendor, but a friend. He made the day of the wedding fun and easy. He worked a full 12 hours with no complaints and captured amazing photos from beginning to end. Every time I look at our wedding photos, I feel myself living the day all over again. Ryan has a vision that is so unique, and he knows Detroit front to back! I can’t say anything but great things. If we could do it all over, we would choose Ryan again." - Lena


"My fiancé and I first encountered Ryan's work at an extended family members wedding. We were floored by the incorporation of architecture in their engagement and wedding photos. In our search for a photographer we always held others to that standard, and were hard pressed to find anyone who executed it as well as Ryan. Not only is he talented, but he is easy to work with, is willing to plan around your hectic schedule, and goes above and beyond to make sure you are comfortable. As a guy who is terrible at smiling on command, he made my life easier with a little charm, a little positivity, and possibly some mockery at my own expense. He is knowledgeable, flexible, and amazingly talented. My wife and I couldn't be happier with our choice of photographer. Thanks, Ryan... I'll work on the smiling for when it comes time for family pictures with the kids." - Andrew


"Ryan Southen is the best there is! Ryan is not only amazingly talented but he's an overall great guy. Aside from our candid and formal photos, he captured the historical elements and architectural design of our Detroit engagement and wedding, elements that were important to us. He was easy to communicate with and extremely professional the day of. He has an amazing eye and a big heart. I would recommend him to my family, friends and the stranger sitting next to me. Look forward to working with Ryan again soon." - Courtney


"Ryan is the cream of the crop. I don't want to give too much away because he is the ultimate package in a photographer (engagement/wedding were the services he provided for us, but we saw his work with kids too A+++++). Looking over the ceremony/reception pictures we were pleasantly surprised at how he was able to capture each special moment and emotion, Ryan is a true ninja. With all of the planning stress that comes with a wedding, Ryan's high level communication and laid back nature are a rare combination. If you need a photographer and Ryan's available, do it." - Steve


"Ryan was incredible to work with. He is open with communication and we talked a lot leading up to the big day. I sent him a photo list with time schedule and he was perceptive to my wants and open to my direction, which I really appreciated. We had so much fun together the day of our wedding. His work speaks for itself - artistic, beautiful, delicate, capturing ever moment perfectly. We are so happy with how our photos turned out and I would highly recommend Ryan as a wedding photographer, or for any other kind of photo session for that matter!" - Ashlie


"Ryan is so talented and has an incredible eye for unique shots. He is down to earth and instantly puts you at ease. We were so glad that we had him to film our engagement photos before the wedding day as he helped us figure out how to avoid awkward smiles and poses, while letting things happen naturally. He patiently handled all of our demanding family members and friends. Ryan was super flexible with our packed wedding schedule and scouted out perfect photo backdrops/lighting beforehand. We love his style and cannot wait to see all of our finished wedding prints!" - Sumir


"What can I say about Ryan? He's the BEST!!! He makes you feel so important and beautiful! The reason I chose him over many others, is his organic photos. No fake posing; and constant intrusions, he hangs in the back. You barely know he's there; but he doesn't miss a thing, no opportunity slips by him! He's so easy going; and a blast! More importantly he's right from the city, so he knows where to go; and knows great photo opportunities! He's the best; and I would highly recommend him!" - Sherri


"When it came to choosing a photographer for our wedding, Ryan was an easy choice for us! I looked for months on end and when I came across his profile on The Knot for Grand Rapids, the style of his photography really caught my eye as super artistic. When we met him in Detroit where we live, we hit it off immediately and he offered to travel to Grand Rapids to shoot our wedding day. Not only was he fun to work with, he was able to capture so many special candid moments throughout the day when we didn't even notice he was taking photos. We received so many compliments from people who noticed him in the background, and not in our face, documenting the highlights of our day. The finished photos were returned to us very quickly and we are so happy with the way they all turned out. I would easily recommend him to anyone!" - Aniela


"This may be my favorite review to write, or memory to revisit really. We looked extensively at the different photographers and their work, but Ryan and his talent stood out to us the most. We saw his work online and had friends who were working with him on their recent wedding. He has a gift. Not only does his talent speak for itself, but he is SO great to work with. He has a great eye, of course, but he puts you at ease during a potentially stressful time. Nervous brides who are camera shy: hire Ryan. Brides (& Grooms) who want something more unique and beautiful than the standard wedding photo: hire Ryan. Thank you, Mr. Southen, for being such a joy to work with on our special day." - Felicia