If you’re currently engaged and considering whether or not to do a shoot before the wedding I say absolutely do it! Weddings are certainly expensive and this is an additional cost, but if you can make it happen it’s worth it. I’m so in love with how these photos turned out, but they’ve also come in handy for other parts of wedding planning (wedding website, stationery, announcements, etc).
When I found out Mary Costa was visiting the east coast for a short trip, I knew we had to book our session with her! Here are some of my favorites from our shoot together plus a few tips if you’re looking to shoot in NYC!
1. Shoot early in the morning on a weekend. Like 5:45am early (or whenever sunrise is). Yes that might mean you have to wake up at 4:30am, but this will ensure that the spots you want to shoot in are as empty as possible, especially if you want a touristy spot.
We started in Washington Square park in May which was empty when we arrived, but people started coming around 6:30am – 6:45am. By the afternoon there were hundreds and hundreds of people in the park and there was no way we could’ve gotten the photos we did if we shot then. The early morning will also give a nice soft light to all your photos, so it’s worth it!
2. If you feel awkward in front of the camera, consider having a prop. Depending on your prop, make sure you have it ready to go the night before. Party City didn’t open at 5am when we were on route to the shoot and their balloons didn’t hold air for more than a few hours, so I had to buy a helium tank and fill them up myself. Prep as much as you can! Your photographer can also give you direction with what to do with your hands and how to stand if you’re feeling nervous (Mary was such a pro at this).
Also take your start time into consideration if you want your hair and makeup done. I did mine myself, and even splurged a little on new makeup, instead of trying to figure out how to book services at 4am.
4. Have a few spots in mind and within close distance, either walking or by a 5-10 minute cab ride. This will give variety to your photos and you’ll be able to capture multiple sides of the city. We didn’t plan on taking the photo above, but came across it when were on route to another location. The street was nearly empty and the perfect moment presented itself!
5. Back to planning ahead– have your photographer check the lighting on your locations to be sure you won’t be in direct or harsh lighting (or change the time of day you arrive). I really wanted to take our photo at the Color Factory murals and the timing happening to work out for the morning shoot. It’s a place we’ve done several photoshoots in front of for the blog/Instagram, so it was nice to go there and just have fun with it.
We also planned our outfits ahead of time to color coordinate with the mural! I say pick the backdrops first then coordinate your outfits after that.
6. When thinking of where you want to have your photos taken, consider walking the route before the shoot. You may stumble upon something new you love, or your favorite mural may have been tagged and you’ll have to pick a new location. Things change here all the time! It doesn’t hurt to check an events calendar either. There are graduations, festivals, and races and the last thing you want is for them to get in the way of a paid shoot.
7. Lastly, have fun with it! We left our shoot feeling very in love and excited to be getting married. New York is the perfect backdrop in general, so at the end of the day, you’ll walk away with perfect photos because they will be of the two of you!