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Had my shoot this weekend with Lex and Tina (from the last update).  We met up at their apartment in Bay Ridge and visited some of their favorite local haunts where they told me about the neighborhood as I photographed them.  Apparently a lot of mobsters live in Bay Ridge.  Who knew?  Lex also introduced me to a favorite childhood candy of his, koroba. It tasted a little bit like a cross between candy corn and yema, a Filipino treat made of milk and egg yolks.

Our first stop was a botanical garden area where they like to spend time on the weekends. We walked around for a bit before Lex showed us a secret grove—a favorite place of his—that we sneaked into by way of hopping over a wrought iron fence.  The same fence, incidentally, that the bench below was situated in front of.  It was the oddest thing, a long row of small benches on the sidewalk, all facing an overgrown fence and trees.  My only guess is that the benches were set up long before the botanical garden, because without all the trees you actually have a decent view of the water.  Then someone came along and put up the garden but left the benches.

Of all the photo shoots involved in a wedding, the engagement session is probably my favorite.  It’s just you, the couple, and your camera.  No scores of guests to maneuver, no poorly-lit “No Flash Photography” chapels to shoot in, no families to corral for portraits, no blink-and-you-miss-it photo op events that you can’t reshoot (“Sorry, could you do that whole “I do” thing again? I had to switch cards.”).  Just you and them, enjoying a nice relaxing day outdoors, sunny and stress-free.

What I like most about engagement sessions, though, is that you get to see the couple at their most natural and unguarded.  The wedding day, for all its momentousness and memorability, is a pretty hectic day for the guests of honor.  They have to simultaneously deal with caterers and guests and florists and cake makers and ministers and deejays and everyone in-between, all while getting dressed and made-up and fussed over and, oh yeah, staring at the precipice of a lifelong commitment to another human being.

It can be a pretty busy day.

Which is why the engagement shoot is so much fun.  It’s just the couple being themselves.  In the midst of all the planning and strategizing and organizing, it’s a day that they’re pretty much required to leave it all at home and go out and have fun.

All in all it was a great session and Lex and Tina were a lot of fun to work with, very affectionate and obviously very much in love.  The wedding itself proves to be a memorable experience as well, as it’s going to be a Russian Orthodox wedding and I’m very excited to shoot it.  I’ve never shot a Russian wedding before and it looks like a very bright and ornamental ceremony.  It should be a lot of fun.

And if I’m lucky there might even be more koroba at the reception.

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