Engagement photos are most meaningful when they reflect your relationship as it really is. I love when couples are willing to ditch traditional portraits for an experience that feels like them. Doing it in your neighborhood makes it all the easier to create candid images. When Jess and Matt reached out to me, they said, “We love to have fun and love love love film photos!” Fun and film ended up being the key ingredients for their New York City engagement photos. We spent a relaxed afternoon exploring the West Village. I documented the day on a mix of film and digital.
Carefree New York City Engagement Photos
Even though Jess and Matt plan to get married in the Philadelphia area, they currently live in New York. I was excited to meet up with them at The Little Owl. This restaurant is located in the building that was the exterior of the iconic apartment in Friends. It’s located just off Christopher Street. The Little Owl ended up being an easy place to grab some drinks before walking around the neighborhood. Sometimes it’s nice to ease into a session instead of immediately jumping in front of the camera.
These New York City engagement photos are full of movement and candid moments that feel really authentic to Jess and Matt. They describe themselves as “the most non-weddingy-wedding couple you’ll ever meet.” I wanted their engagement photos to reflect that aspect of their personality as a couple. The images are a mix of playful and romantic in-between moments.
Instead of posing Matt and Jess in one spot for a long time, I gave them space to explore like they normally would. They were able to get comfortable in front of the lens, and their interactions are very organic as a result. Whether Jess and Matt were cuddling on the steps to the Christopher Street subway station or racing across the street, every smile and laugh was a real reflection of their excitement at being together.
Walking around the West Village gave us a chance to get a variety of images. Aside from creating opportunities for different backdrops and poses, it gave me the chance to find interesting lighting. The buildings created awesome pockets of direct sunlight for us to work with. The light gives these New York City engagement photos warmth and energy.
The West Village on Film
Film really suited the breezy, energetic feeling of Jess and Matt’s New York City engagement photos. Film photography has a different quality to it than digital does partly because it comes with imperfections. You might get a light leak or unexpected blurry effect. Those imperfections can be what actually captures the feeling of a session better than any technically perfect photo could. The blurred film photos of Matt and Jess running around the West Village give you a sense of what the afternoon was really like. Even when they’re sitting still at a pizza place, the blurred passersby remind you of how New York is constantly in motion.
Nothing says “New York” quite like giant slices of pizza. Stopping at Bleecker Street Pizza was the perfect way to end Jess and Matt’s New York City engagement photos. They love bonding over casual food like french fries, pizza, and chicken fingers. For their wedding, Jess shared that their goal for the reception “is that no one is wearing shoes and everyones eating grilled cheese on the dance floor.” A stop at the pizza shop portrayed that fun, comfortable side of their relationship.
The film images from this portion of the session are especially charming. Film has the ability to convey such nostalgic, unfiltered emotion. Little details give context, like glimpses into Jess and Matt’s life together. The folded slice of pizza on Matt’s plate and their shadows against a city wall come together to tell the story of the afternoon. That story is more tangible on film. Film images aren’t edited either, so moments documented on film feel very honest. And what’s more timeless than New York pizza?
Would you like me to photograph your New York City engagement photos? I’m a Philadelphia wedding photographer specializing in modern images with vintage appeal. Reach out to me!