14 FUN LOCATIONS FOR ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS IN NEW-YORK

It’s almost engagement season! And that means newly-engaged couples are going to start searching for the best spot to get their engagement session.

As a wedding photographer, I know there is a lot of confusion in people’s mind. My couples usually either don’t have a clue where to get their photos taken and need my input, or have too many ideas and need to be guided through the decision-process.

That’s completely normal! New-York is very big and the possibilities for engagement session locations are endless. So here are a few of the most fun locations to get your engagement photos taken in New-York.

 

1.Prospect Park

Prospect Park has all the advantages of Central Park (it’s big, green and beautiful) without its drawbacks (its millions of daily visitors). The other good aspect of the park, is that it is adjacent to Park Slope, which is a beautiful neighborhood full of tree-lined streets, cute cafes, and historical brownstones. That gives you the opportunity to get some greenery and some architecture all in one shoot.

2. Gowanus

Right outside of Park Slope, Gowanus awaits with its canals and street art everywhere. The neighborhood is super hip, grungy, and overall awesome for pictures. Take a walk across the canal, find the hidden graffitis, and enjoy the industrial architecture of the area.

3. Greenpoint

Another nice spot for urban shots, Greenpoint is a little more funky than Park Slope and has some breathtaking views on Manhattan. Head to the pier at India Street for some photos with the Empire State Building, or to Java Street for some serious street art. There’s also a non-linear street in Greenpoint that has a spooky-looking haunted house on it, but I keep that one in the vault 🙂

4. Fort Greene Park

Fort Greene Park is always busy in the South, but super quiet on the North side. Plus there are some serious staircases on that side of the park, giving you an interesting backdrop for pictures. Don’t hesitate to walk right outside the park as well, as some of the streets are really gorgeous.

Gowanus engagement photo idea

5. Dumbo

No list would be full without Dumbo on it. Although you can say that it is overly done, Dumbo is a seriously good spot for photos of all sorts: red brick walls, Manhattan in the background, old train tracks, big graffitis, two bridges and a quiet greenway… Dumbo has it all. A little insider tip: don’t go on a week-end, or it will be way too busy to enjoy.

Dumbo engagement photo idea

6. Bushwick

If you want to embrace NYC’s artistic scene, head to Bushwick and to the murals of the Bushwick Collective. That’s where you’ll find some serious graffiti by local artists. Get a drink on one of the many rooftops in the area, such as Elsewhere or Our Wicked Lady, and toast to your upcoming nuptials while your photographer documents the moment.

7. Soho/Chinatown

I have a soft spot for this area because I think it encapsulates New-York. It is a bit grungy, charming, and historic. Start in the winding streets of Chinatown and make your way North, through Cosby St for some cobblestones and Greene St for colorful brownstones. Include a delicious pastry from Dominique Ansel in your engagement session, or dumplings from Mimi Cheng’s for a more local food experience!

Soho engagement shoot idea

8. The West Village

If you prefer a more romantic vibe, the West Village is perfect for that. It’s green but still urban, and the streets are narrow, giving it a true village feel (hence the name, I’m guessing!). As with Dumbo, pick an evening or afternoon during the week if you can; it will be more enjoyable, as the Village does attract lots of tourists.

9. Washington Square Park

Right off the West Village, Washington Square Park is a much needed green patch in the middle of this busy neighborhood. Make sure to plan your session on a week day, because the park gets really busy on week-ends!

fun engagement shoot location idea in New York

10. At home!

What’s more fitting these days than pictures at home? If you have some decent natural light at home, you can always take pictures there. It will add some nice memories in the place you share together, and you can go out for a little stroll in your own neighborhood for a very special and personal engagement shoot experience.

Check out this home engagement session for some inspiration!

11. The High Line/Chelsea Market

The High Line might be a busy spot, it is also very special. Its architecture is very photo-friendly, it has views on the city and the water, and you can end the session in the Chelsea Market for a bite to eat and a refreshing soda (like Paul and Kate, pictured below).

gowanus engagement photo location

12. Central Park: Hernshead and the Ladies Pavilion

Behind the famous Ladies Pavilion, hidden between rocks, you will find the perfect spot for a picture overlooking Midtown Manhattan and the many rowboats on the water. It doesn’t get more New-York than that. You can then walk around a bit towards Bethesda Fountain or head out of the park and hit the pretty streets of the Upper West Side.

13. A Community Garden in Alphabet City

For something really quiet and very New-York, try to get hold of one of the community gardens around Alphabet City. You might need to know somebody that is part of one or pay a small fee to use the space, but the result will be worth it. The photos below were taken at 6BC garden.

fun engagement shoot location idea in New York fun engagement shoot location idea in New York

14. Coney Island

The beach, the ocean, ice cream cones and the old school Cyclone, but also the boardwalk, the Luna Park and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog… All are solid reasons to head to Coney Island for some fun and colorful pictures

fun engagement shoot location idea in New York fun engagement shoot location idea in New York

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

maison may wedding

Need help picking the right photographer? Here are 7 east steps for you.

When you’ll start searching for a wedding photographer in New-York, you will quickly notice just how many websites you’ll come across. We are everywhere. And our number keeps growing. We are an invasive species!

You will probably get overwhelmed with the many choices offered to you so I decide to write this little blog post to help refine your search a bit so you can choose the perfect wedding photographer for you.

1. Have your venue and price point down

Before you start your search, you should book your venue. That will set your wedding date in stone. Without that major criteria, it will be impossible for us to tell you whether or not we can be there for your wedding. Second, set a budget. And a realistic one. Price will be the major deciding factor in all your wedding-related decisions, and you’ll need to have a good understanding of how much things cost to avoid disappointment. To give you a very rough idea, good wedding photography coverage should not cost you under $3500 for a full day (8 hours) of coverage in New York State. If this gave you instant cold sweats, I encourage you to read this extensive guide, as it will help you understand why wedding photography costs so much in New-York.

maison may wedding

2. Know what style you want

There are a myriad of wedding photography styles out there, and you’ll want to know what you are looking for before you can even zoom on any wedding photographer in particular. That’s pretty great, because it will give you lots of options to choose from. But it can also make things a bit confusing! Are you more into traditional or photo-journalistic wedding photography? Are you drawn to darker, moodier images, or to bright photographs with an airy feel?

I wrote a little guide highlighting several major wedding photography styles so if you are unsure of what wedding photography style you want to go for, check it out HERE. It should help!

choose the right perfect wedding photographer

3. Hit up your social circle

Now that you have an idea of what style you want, it’s time to start researching actual photographers. Maybe you’ve even found a couple you already love while looking for the various styles of wedding photography out there, and you want more options. And there is nothing better than real life recommendations! By asking past brides and grooms for their recommendations will assure you great and trusted service. Nobody would recommend their vendor if they were not happy with them, so these recommendations are gold.

You can also ask your like-minded married friends, coworkers, and acquaintances for their recommendations. “Like-minded” is the keyword here, because you’ll want the recommendations to come from people who are more likely to share the same inspirations and vibe as you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to people you might not know so well; former brides and grooms know how stressful picking vendors can be, so they will probably be more than happy to help you.

arrow park wedding photo example

4. Get to know your photographer

Once you have a solid list of wedding photographers that check all the boxes, it’s time to learn about them on a more personal level. You will be spending lots of time with your wedding photographer on your big day, so you will want to find someone that makes you comfortable!

First, head to the “About” or “Information” page on their website. Some photographers like to get very personal and detailed in this section, and some like to keep things succinct and efficient. This is where you will get your first glimpse into their personality but also their way of working. You might also find out that you have things in common, which should help you connect with them ahead of the first contact. This is also where you should find information about their pricing.

Look at their Instagram and Pinterest as well, these will help you connect a bit more with your prospective photographers.

diy summer wedding 501 union

5. Time to write some emails!

If you are dead set on one photographer after these first 4 steps, email them asap to make sure they don’t get snatched by someone else. But if you want to email a few (or even a bunch), don’t feel bad about it; we know you guys are testing the waters and comparing quotes.

The first contact is ver important, so make sure to include your wedding date and a bit of information about you and your wedding. Mention your photographer by name, and avoid the generic “hi” or “hello”. Wedding photographers need to feel excited and engaged with you too! Finally, ask to see a complete price list. This is when you will start weeding out some photographers that are out of your price range.

diy summer wedding at arrow park

6. Meet your prospective photographer(s)

Maybe the previous step got you really connected to one photographer in particular. That’s great! If they are available on your wedding date, are within your price range, their style matches your tastes and you liked speaking to them by email, you probably found the perfect photographer. You don’t need to meet a bunch of them; once you found a good fit, stop looking (just like with your wedding dress) (or, you know, your significant other!).

Whether you are set on one photographer or several, you should meet them. The first live contact is important, so be sure to meet them physically or via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, or by phone.

Have a list of questions to ask them, but don’t overdo it. You’ll want to let the conversation unfold organically. However, there are important questions you should cover. Here are a few:

  • Ask them about their booking process: what does the contract look like? What is included in it?
  • Ask them about payments: what is the deposit and when is the balance due? How do they want to get paid?
  • Ask them about the photo rights; although it is super rare, some photographers don’t include high-resolution images in the price you agree upon! So make sure that you get downloadable high-res images.

fall wedding at bluehill at stonebarn

Words of wisdom: go with your guts

This guide covers all the important steps you should take to make the best decision. But like everything else in life, you also need to trust your instinct. You are choosing a human to come and capture your day of love; your heart needs to have a say.

There! You now have 7 easy steps to find the perfect photographer for you. It might feel like a lot, but don’t worry, you’ll make it in one piece. And if you want a bit more advice on how to get the best out of your photographer, here is a little article I wrote for the Greatist!

intimate wedding at Bacchus Bistro, Brooklyn

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY STYLES EXPLAINED

Don’t really know what style of wedding photography is right for you? Read on!

Wedding photography has become very popular these past two decades, and newcomers on the market really shook the industry. While you didn’t have many options in terms of styles back in the early 2000’s, you now have a plethora of them to chose from and the choice might become overwhelming.

To help you set the ground for your decision-making process, here’s a comprehensive list of the most common wedding photography styles, with a few venue ideas most commonly associated with them.

 

Traditional

This is the oldest, most classic style of wedding photography, and lots of couples are still very into it. Traditional wedding photography includes more posing than other styles with a strong focus on portraiture. Photos are more staged and take more time to set up. Pictures are crisp, bright, and colors are true to tone. If you like to be in full control of your look on your wedding day and if you like to have lots of quality family group shots and portraits of yourself and your loved ones, traditional wedding photography might be the best option for you. This style tends to stand the test of time better than other styles that follow trends and hypes, but it might be a little too simple for you if you are looking to let loose and explore things creatively on your wedding day.

Candid

Candid wedding photography, or photo-journalistic wedding photography, is more fitted for couples who are interested in having the story of their wedding day told through authentic, organic images. The focus will be less on the details of your dress and more on your grandpa and your little cousin having a fun dance off. There will also be less images of people looking straight into the camera but there will be more real emotions on the pictures, and that includes those big laughs with all your smile lines showing. But if your heart tightens and your eyes water when you see photos jam-packed with emotion, then documentary wedding photography is for you. It tells your story like it is, with its pretty things and, sometimes, its funny things too.

wedding photography styles examples

Moody

This one is trending. You will probably see it everywhere you look, even without searching for it. Moody wedding photography consists of darker, dramatic, intimate imagery. There might be some epic cliffs involved, or a small cabin in the woods. There will be more passionate kisses, more “serious” emotions, and maybe less smiles. This style of photography merges with documentary photography, since your photographer will want to pull real emotions out of you. If you want a good idea of what moody wedding photography actually looks like, you can search for “Dirty Boots and Messy Hair” on Google Image.

Although moody wedding photography is very in right now, it doesn’t mean it will fade away. Some photographers will always tend to look for pockets of light and interesting shadows and edit their photos in a darker manner than others. It’s up to you to decide whether you are into this style because it is really what you like, not just because your favorite wedding website is into it.

wedding photography styles examples

 

Bright and Airy

We take a huge leap on the spectrum here, because bright and airy photography is the polar opposite of moody photography. No more drama, no more shadows. Pictures are bright, soft, ethereal. They are light-hearted (do pictures have a heart??) and sweet, but not cheesy. Bright and airy photography works better outdoors, but it can be successfully used anywhere with the right photographer. Just like traditional wedding photography, the bright and airy style has a classic feel to it with colors that stay true to tone, although they will be brighter. It is perfect for couples who are having a sweet, romantic weddings but make sure you are really into this style, because the photos might feel overexposed to experienced eyes.

 

Alternative/Artistic

If you are into making your wedding photos an experiment, artistic/alternative wedding photography will be a really fun option for you, and film (analog) photography will take things even further. With this style of photography, some technical rules might be broken in order to give cool and weird effect to your pictures. This could mean a lot of things: motion blur, light leaks, or grainy images. In fact, these images are gaining in popularity and lots of companies and apps such as Looks Like Film and Huji Cam are now offering image filters or presets to mimick alternative styles often associated with film photography. These photos might not fit on your family home’s mantle, but they will be one of a kind. This style is perfect for people who gravitate towards photo-journalistic photography with a twist.

 

wedding photography styles examples

 

 

There are more types of wedding photography styles out there, but this should help you figure out what you are into in a general sense. And of course, these styles are not mutually exclusive; you might find photographers who love still portraits (traditional) and edit with darker vibes (moody), or photographers who shoot film (artistic) with a photo documentary feel (candid).

 

Your venue can be a factor in your choice of wedding photography style

 

I am really not a fan of putting things in boxes (although that’s all I’ve been doing so far in this article), and I am a fervent supporter of CHOICE. Your wedding is your choice, and you can pick any photo style you want for any venue. There are a million ways to do things and I really want you to understand that point. It’s your day, nobody else’s. That being said, some venues might influence your photography choice. And if you want to make sure your venue matches your photography choice, here is a non-exhaustive and subjective list of venues types for each photography style.

Traditional wedding photography might work better in a chateau, a country club, a private estate, or any venue that has a grand feel to it.

Candid wedding photography can really work anywhere but might be a good fit for slightly less formal affairs such as backyards, outdoor weddings, or City Hall elopements. But this style is very adaptable and has more to do with its subjects than its surroundings.

Moody wedding photography works well for elopements in nature, or in industrial settings such as old factories. The city can also be a great background for some moody shots full of cool shadows, so City Hall elopements are a good venue for this style.

Bright and Airy wedding photography is a good fit for any outdoor venue in nature, such as barns or lakeside estates but can also work well in country clubs or chateaux.

Artistic/alternative wedding photography will work for industrial or quirky venues such as art galleries, old factories, or any sort of elopement.

And hat’s it for today! I hope this article helped you figure out a general route you want to take before picking your wedding photographer. All you have to do now is research each style on Pinterest, Instagram or Google Image, and save a few images for reference. Once you know what you want, you will be able to make an informed decision on which photographer to pick. I am currently working on an article about that, so stay tuned, and I’ll post the link here when I am done.

Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions or input about wedding photography styles, I am always happy to guide you in any way that I can!

MAISON-MAY WEDDINGS

Maison-May: a gorgeous wedding venue, in the heart of Fort Greene, in a beautiful brownstone

 

maison-may weddings inspiration

When you get married in New-York, there are many routes you can take as far as the atmosphere and general style of your celebration go. If you want to embrace NYC’s history, you can opt for one of the many industrials buildings around the city, such as  26 Bridge (a former metal factory). You can also pick the bucolic route for a breath of fresh air with a farm-to-table venue minutes from Manhattan, such as Blue Hill at Stone Barns. You can even go a little crazy and book a movie theater or a music venue to say “I do”; the Music Hall of Williamsburg would be perfect for that.

All these options are great options. Whichever one you pick will give your guests a unique glimpse at what makes New-York so special. But today, I want to highlight another great option available for people who want to fully embrace New-York’s vibrant restaurant scene as well as its charming architecture: Maison-May.

Before I keep going, I want to say that this is not a sponsored post in any way. Although I have shot at Maison-May a lot and got to meet and love all the people that work there, I did not receive any kind of incentive to write this. They are not even aware I am doing it! Now that this is out of the way, let’s dig in.

Maison-May: general information

 

Maison-May (or Maison-May Dekalb) is a French restaurant in the heart of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It was created by Catherine May, a French transplant who has been in New-York for decades now.

Address: 246 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

Phone number: +1 718-789-2778

Closest subways: the G at Clinton-Washington, or the A/C at Lafayette Avenue.

maison may wedding

Why choose Maison-May?

 

1: It’s a one-stop shop option

Maison-May is a gorgeous brownstone wedding venue with lots of original details: hardwood floors, a fire place, and crown molding in every room. Not only does this appeal to architecture lovers, it is also a great advantage if you are having a budget wedding or don’t know how to decorate the place. Maison-May doesn’t need much work to make it look great, since it is already charming as it is. Most of the couples whose wedding I shot there decided to go for small centerpieces and very few extra floral arrangements. This can really help you keep your budget in check all the while letting the place stand out on its own.

 

2: The cute backyard

Tucked away in the back of the main room, you will find an adorable backyard, with its string lights and wooden fence. You can’t get more Brooklyn than that. The backyard is on the small side, so 60-80 guests would be your max unless you want your friends to fight for a glimpse of your ceremony. But it is one of the main assets of the venue, as it gives you the chance to tie the knot in a peaceful outdoor spot in the heart of Brooklyn before heading back inside for your reception. You can also install a tent out there in the winter, so you can have your dream Brooklyn backyard wedding at any time of the year.

boho-maison-may-wedding

3: The food!

Maison-May has solid food ethics. All the food is locally sourced and prepared with love in the kitchen. There are many gluten-free and vegetarian options, as well as pastries and other French traditional dishes. And who doesn’t love pastries?! As of a few years ago, Maison-May started offering wedding cakes as well and since it is a restaurant open all week long, you can go and try the food for yourself before making your decision on the venue.

maison may wedding

4: Its prime location

Located in the heart of Fort Greene, the restaurant is easily accessible and not far from Manhattan or most neighborhoods in Brooklyn. It is also steps away from Fort Greene Park, which is super practical for your family photos.  The tree-lined brownstone streets adjacent to Maison-May are also great backdrops for some typical Brooklyn wedding photos so you don’t have to stress yourself by hurrying to Dumbo or Prospect Park for your pictures; you can spend the whole day within blocks from your venue, and do everything by foot.

maison-may weddings

All in all, Maison-May is the ultimate venue for couples who love good food and want to celebrate New-York’s classic architecture while focusing on quality time with their guests. I personally love shooting there and have been lucky enough to do it quite often. Here are some of my favorite weddings shot at Maison-May:

Sukie and Mike’s Fall DIY wedding

Alison and Kathryn’s winter love party

Juwita and Mike’s boho celebration

LAUREN AND TOM: AN INTIMATE ENGAGEMENT SHOOT AT HOME

GET UNIQUE AND INTIMATE PICTURES (AND INCLUDE YOUR PUPS) WITH A LAID-BACK AT HOME ENGAGEMENT SESSION

Lauren and Tom wanted to get their engagement photos done at home a few weeks before their wedding, and it turned out to be a really great experience. They lived in a beautiful brownstone in Prospect Heights with a private yard, and were about to move to Maine a few months later so Lauren could go to grad school so it was a wonderful way to celebrate their home and their time in Brooklyn.

It was also a very good way for me to get to know them; being able to spend time in their home allowed me to get a glimpse into their personalities and what mattered to them, so I could adjust the way I worked and focus on the important things to please them to the max.

Engagement sessions can feel a bit overwhelming, no matter how relaxed your photographer is, and having someone new in your home asking you to cuddle among your personal belongings can need a bit of getting used to. Lauren waited for the shoot to cut Tom’s hair, and give him his wedding haircut (which was about 3 weeks later). That’s something she usually does for him, so it was a good way to keep them busy while I shot away, and a way to capture this sweet habit they have created over their years together.

Once this was done, we had already shot a bit so everyone was at ease with each other. They spent the rest of the session playing with their dogs, sitting on their stoop, and being overall super cute.

Those two love birds are now happily living in Maine, and I wish them all the happiness in the world with their furry fam!

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