Danielle & Colin’s Brooklyn Engagement session started out as a gorgeous sunny (nearly) spring day. Although, somehow by the end of our time together we were finishing the shoot in the middle of a late afternoon snow squall. Danielle & Colin were complete gems, going with the flux and flow of the weather. It was after all a memorable experience, and we were still able to get beautiful all over Greenpoint.
We structured where we would shoot by the places that meant something to both Colin & Danielle. First, some pictures in front of their apartment in Brooklyn, the first home they both shared with each other. Next to Diamond Lil, one of their favorite little cocktail bars (with the most fun interior!) We strolled around McGolrick Park where they often spent lazy summer afternoons and then finished the day down at Hurricane Point, one of the best spots to catch the New York City skyline. Incorporating places that they frequented gave a whole new depth to their photos because it wasn’t just pretty backdrops, but places that actually meant something to them, places where they shared memories.
As much as I love shooting with an indistinct neutral background (think large field or snow blanketed pasture) to allow for the subjects & emotion of the photos to be distinct and take center stage, I think there is something to be said about using places that are important to you.
Whether it’s an in-home session where every little detail of your space has meaning (like this beautiful tiny house maternity session I shot) or the park where you take evening summer walks with your dogs, or your favorite cafe where you grab pastries and coffees on Saturday mornings. It’s all important & holds the potential to add an extra layer of depth to your shoot.
It also makes your session that much more unique. It’s easy to get caught up taking photos in places that everybody else does. We’ve all done it – pinteresting the most scenic/photographable places in our area.
There isn’t anything wrong with that – your photos will undoubtedly still be stunning. But how special and that much more interesting will your photos be if you choose a location that holds significance to the both of you.
When you think about your session this way, it opens up a whole new level of possibilities. It also makes your photos stand out even more because they won’t just be carbon copies of every other engagement session. Super popular locations can also be tricky to get photos at without a bunch of extra people milling about in the background.
(If you need help in getting ideas for unique shoot locations, I wrote a little bit about incorporating out-of-the-box locations, especially in your favorite local private businesses in this blog post here.)
When thinking about choosing a location, keep in mind the sentiment that it evokes. Maybe you want to have your session somewhere that feels very “New York City” (lots of walking/street pictures, skyline, subway ect) because it’s where you both live and you want to memorialize the iconic parts of it. Or maybe you’ve spent the past couple summers vacationing up in the Catskill Mountains and love the idea of having a little slice of that preserved.
Whatever you choose, never feel you have to force something that isn’t there. Forget what everyone else is doing. Ask yourself if in 10-20-30 years you’ll look back on your photos and think “everything about this photo emanates who we are as a couple”. If it does, you know you’re on the right track. Follow that feeling rather than following the trends.
At the end of the day, it is the connection between you two in a photograph that holds the most weight. That much is true. But why not add even more depth to your photographs by making every aspect of your session personable.