Rossella & Paul | Central Park Engagement Session

It’s times like these that we are living in when our mind often wanders to memories of better days and experiences. For some, that might mean a recent family vacation, special milestone celebration or perhaps even just a trip to the movies. For us, in addition to all of those same types of memories, we also love to think back to some of our more memorable photoshoots. In 2019, Rossella and Paul’s engagement session was right up-there at the top of our list. I welcome you to join me as I reminisce and look back at some of our favorite images from this day.

First off…You can never go wrong with a classic black and white! Did I know when I was shooting this that I would take it in that direction? Honestly no…but what’s more important is the process. What I mean is that most couples aren’t going to be super comfortable in front of the camera right off the bat. So to alleviate some of the pressure, we love to use walking as an “ice-breaker.” By giving them something to do, they focus on the task at hand which takes their mind away from the pressure of the photo itself and allows them to just be themselves. 100% of the time we get some great laughing moments, which we love!

When prepping for our engagement sessions, we always encourage our couples to come prepared for at least one outfit change. We love the idea of mixing up looks but also understand that sometimes the location doesn’t always making changing outfits easy or practical. This is why we offer to bring along our pop-up changing tent. Super easy to setup and breakdown and it just gets the job done when you need privacy in a public place (especially a place like Central Park). With Rossella and Paul, we started with a trendy/chic look…more-so because of what we had in store for them later.

I love how these images turned out…I’m a photographer who just loves to focus on romance so I tend to have my couples closing their eyes, embracing, kissing…pretty much anything that involves just being connected. For me, that’s what it’s all about.

I also love to make sure that while giving my couple enough space to feel comfortable, that I am also picking moments when I get up close and tight for a few clicks. I just feel like it really allows the most intimate and personal look into a couples bond. The power of that closeness really creates feelings of emotion that I’m 100% drawn too.

With my approach to posing, I try my best (bear with me now) to set the stage for un-staged moments during a…well…staged operation. Let’s face it, it’s just not very practical to candidly follow a couple around and expect to be able to capture these types of reactions without any sense of direction being provided. As photographers, it is our job to make these moments possible through a series of well-rehearsed steps and instructions. There’s levels to this game! lol. It’s something that I’d like to think helps separate a less experienced photographer from a seasoned vet.

As we were finishing our walk around the Conservatory Water in Central Park, we cam across the Snack Shack. It was unfortunately closed at this time but if you knew Rossella at all, this was a must-take photo. It was just a funny moment and I love how it turned out with the small patch of green to their right with the bricks, sign and metal roll-gate to the left. I should mention that for this photo we used some off-camera flash to add a bit of life on an otherwise overcast day. One MagMod MagBox positioned up high and off to the right.

So the snack shack photo is where things started to get interesting. We began to feel some drops coming from above and our fears were turning into reality. The rain was coming…and it was going to come hard. Well, there aren’t too many choices to seek refuge which are better than Bethesda Terrace. I knew that we would be able to stay dry and continue shooting, which was key given the wardrobe change that had yet to take place.

Bethesda Terrace is beautiful…it truly is. The hardest part of shooting here is the fact that we (as photographers) have been here so many times that we must fight hard to constantly create something different and unique while also giving each of our couples the opportunity to have that classic photo. The good news about the rain at least was that it drove away a ton of the crowd and we ended up having much less people around to worry about getting into our frame.

For just a few minutes longer, we had some more fun with some creative lighting before the rain really started to come down.

A Behind the Scenes look at creating the images above and to the left 🙂

It’s important to remember that sometimes the best opportunities come during what seems like the worst moments. This is where “the men get separated from the boys.” See the next shot below 🙂

A Behind the Scenes look at the setup for the images above. Gotta love Maria’s dedication, getting out there in the rain and keeping the lights dry!

I’m truly grateful to have such a wonderful team to work with and in this case, my wife Maria was my assistant. I knew I needed a light to place behind Rossella and Paul but how??? Surely, that light would be destroyed by the water. Well…Maria stepped up like a champ and with umbrella in hand, she did what she needed to do and put that light in position while using the umbrella to keep her and the light dry. Without that light, this shot would never have looked half as good. So big-ups to my lady for taking one for the team.

Now…the outfit change…

So, weeks ahead of this shoot, we decided to add an extra element of creativity and style to take things up a notch. We had seen so many photoshoots done before using a parachute dress before and we were obsessed with the look. So we decided to go for it. Go big or go home right??! The issue with the parachute dress was that we had only paid to have it available to us for one day and one day only. So, there was no room for cancellation of the shoot or else we would have been out a cool buck-fifty. As you know, the weather wasn’t in our favor…but thankfully the location was! After some time spent figuring out how the massive Green parachute dress actually worked and needed to be put on, we began to make some real magic happen with Rossella and Paul. With our couple in position, the lights all set and our assistants in place to make the dress move, we went for our Hero image.

We realized that it is difficult to get a great Behind the Scenes image when you need all hands on deck to hold onto the parachute dress and make it fly! But this was our setup!

Despite the fact that we had already come away with what we felt was our “Hero” image for the shoot, we still had some extra time to work with and we figured why not try and take our couple into the rain instead of keeping them under the protection of Bethesda Terrace. Of course we asked first if they were up for it…definitely don’t just assume your couples are comfortable with going out into the rain or doing anything else that might make them feel uncomfortable. Rossella and Paul were down for anything so we went for it.

Not the exact BTS for the above shot since we didn’t have
anyone working the dress from that side but the lighting was the same.

At this point the dress was soaking wet and the weight of the rain made it impossible to move easily! Never mind the dress though, EVERYONE was wet! We called it a wrap and ended the day eating some hotdogs in the car on the way home! What an evening it was though. I really do miss my NY sessions at this point. We will be back at it before we know it though. Times goes so fast.

Enjoy the rest of your afternoon and everyone and hope you enjoyed this article.

-Jesse

Blog Post written by: Jesse, Owner & Lead Photographer