Most of my clients are traveling from out of town, and as a NYC elopement photographer it is my job to educate them about the city – good places for ceremonies, City Hall waiting times, how long it’s going to take us to get to Battery Park from their Midtown hotel… etc. I realized this year that there was one big thing I haven’t been proactive enough with and that is educating my clients on where we should go for portraits.
I was having a quick phone meeting with one of my clients in early spring, a couple days before their wedding – finalizing the timeline and answering last minute questions. As we were going over their pre-wedding questionnaire together, I realized they had a gaping hole on the timeline. “So where do you want to go for portraits after the ceremony?” I asked. She paused for a second and then rattled off a list, “Oh we can go to Bethesda Terrace, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park.” I wrote the places down as she listed them off, and began organizing them into the timeline. As we continued our conversation, I realized… these places didn’t sound like a good fit for this particular couple at all. Both the bride and the groom were artists, and struck me as being a little bohemian. All I could think about was taking them to Soho and the West Village. The last thing I could imagine was putting them in front of Bethesda Fountain – it just seemed a little ill-fitting.
As we started to wrap up the conversation I asked, “So… why did you pick these particular spots for portraits?” She told me it was because she’d seen those places on my blog and figured they were good places for portraits in NYC. I told her what I was thinking about – SoHo and the West Village, maybe DUMBO if they were willing to go to Brooklyn, cobblestone streets, maybe walking far west to some industrial looking areas. “Oh that sounds wonderful!” she exclaimed. We rearranged the timeline, and the results were so much better than what we would have gotten had we tried to navigate the black hole that is Times Square. My clients were happy – their photos were a perfect match to their personalities – and I got to be creative.
But it was then that I realized – so many of my clients are picking spots because that’s what they see on TV or on my blog or other wedding blogs. And those spots are not necessarily the right fit. So I want to challenge you and myself a little bit more… we all have to start thinking outside of the box. I don’t want your photos to look like everyone else’s. You are a unique couple – the fact that you’re eloping sets you apart already. New York is a huge and beautiful city full of little gems and corners that are so much better than the crowded touristy spots everyone gravitates toward.
Let’s just pick a cool neighborhood and wander around. Let’s venture into Queens or Brooklyn. Let’s hop the Staten Island Ferry or sail over the East River in the Roosevelt Island Tram! I promise you I’ll capture the essence of New York City no matter where we are, and you’ll have photographs that truly reflect who you are as a couple. You’re not like everyone else. And I’m not like any other photographer. Let’s get off the beaten path and make some magic.