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Danielle’s NYC Engagement Session Secrets You Wish You Knew

nyc engagement photos

I Was a Little Nervous Heading Into My NYC Engagement Photo Session

I’m not naturally comfortable in front of the lens … so let’s just say I was a little nervous heading into our New York City engagement session.

That said, Cengiz assured us that if we prepared well and showed up with a playful attitude, he’d do the rest.

Fortunately, Guillermo and I put a ton of thought and planning into our shoot and so we couldn’t wait to kick things off.

We had seen Cengiz’s portfolio and spoken with him on numerous occasions; it was well understood that we’d have to put on our game faces and be fearless to get the images we desired.

Why Did I Choose Cengiz?

Guillermo actually stumbled upon Cengiz and Adagion while secretly researching on how to propose to me.

Needless to say, immediately after becoming engaged, Guillermo proudly surprised me with the perfect photographer for us.

Cengiz’s work speaks for itself. It’s original, daring, creative, and truly artistic. We knew that by working with him, we’d be investing in art that we could showcase for years to come.

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What Does “For The Sake Of Imagery” Really Mean?

If you’ve been following Cengiz’s work for some time, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of “For the Sake of Imagery” (that nobody else has). If not, I’m sure you will be soon!

At its most basic, it means being willing to think and walk outside the proverbial box.

For example, I had to dig deep down to access my inner gymnast from middle school days in order to balance confidently along a super-thin wall in the heart of Times Square … all while being watched disapprovingly by policemen, and with taxis and buses dashing by within only inches from us.

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Believe it or not, I was actually shaking as I stood on that wall. But my focus was squarely on sharing that special moment with Guillermo who was right beside me relishing in the experience.

Ultimately, you should never do something you’re not comfortable with or that could be dangerous, but if you want photos that nobody else has and a transcending experience that you’ll cherish forever, then it’s important to do things that most people would not attempt.

Hence, for the sake of imagery.

Here’s How I Prepared For My NYC Engagement Shoot

For two people who consider photography one of the most influential of art forms, an engagement photo shoot is not to be prepared for haphazardly.

We are fortunate to have found an artist in Cengiz, who encourages frequent dialogue with his clients.

The focus of our preparation centered on 4 distinct areas:

  1. We selected locations that suited our personalities and style
  2. We made sure to dress to impress with stylish outfits and killer heels
  3. We identified creative props that made sense for us
  4. We practiced and perfected an awe-inspiring kiss that would hopefully take people’s breath away

We combed through seemingly countless engagement pictures from across the web in order to create a Pinterest mood-board, which we then shared with our photographer.

Pro-tip: one of the first steps in your preparation should be to set up a Pinterest inspiration board (or equivalent) and grant your artist access to it so she can provide instant feedback on your ideas.

And while we’re at it, here are two pointers that really helped us achieve an unforgettable photo experience around New York City:

  • We opted for attire combinations that emphasized both bright colors and solid black. The former enhanced our photos with vibrancy and pop, while the latter made for textbook silhouettes
  • We hired a driver with an SUV and tinted windows. A large car helped us comfortably navigate the busy City and simultaneously doubled as a changing room to switch outfits;

Pro-tip 2: if one of your props happens to be unusually important to you and your imagery, consider bringing a duplicate of it just in case you need to do a retake.

One of our favorite props was a Champagne bottle filled with colorful confetti; unfortunately, the cork popped just before we were ready, resulting in a missed photo opportunity. Kind of …

champagne engagement photos

How Did We Stay Organized?

The best way for us to remain organized was simply to keep in regular dialog with our photographer.

Cengiz proved to be a valuable sounding board, while helping us focus on the things we could control and which would make the most immediate impact on our experience.

Which Part of Our NYC Engagement Photo Adventure Was Most Enjoyable?

In short, everything!

From the moment we arrived at our meeting point—with the sunrise behind us and Champagne in hand–until the conclusion of our shoot … and everything in between. It was simply brilliant.

The engagement photography session gave Guillermo and me a real opportunity to connect with one another in an entirely new way.

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We were able to roam the City without inhibitions and experience familiar places through the visionary eyes of someone else …

Cengiz’s passion, energy, and complete immersion in the shoot were beyond contagious.

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If We Could Do It All Over Again, Here’s What We’d Change

One oversight was that we neglected the importance of food and drinks.

Guillermo and I opted for a pre-sunrise photo session, and were so wrapped up in getting out of the house on time that we completely overlooked the need for basic sustenance.

As you may imagine, it’s important to maintain a high level of energy for the duration of your engagement photo shoot; so, my suggestion would be to organize an endurance-athlete-grade nutrition supply. Not even kidding!

We Booked a Post-wedding Photo Session in Italy. Here’s How Our NYC Engagement Experience Affects Our Expectations and Preparations

One advantage of having done the engagement photo session with Cengiz is that we now have a good sense of his vision and what we as a couple can do before and during the shoot to enhance the fun and flow and get amazing photos.

The experience also underscored the importance of us working in harmony: for example, when doing the moment-before-the-kiss, we either both need to be smiling, sensual, or passionate to make it believable.

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In essence, what you do is less important than how you do it. Be in tune as a couple and 100% real.

It’s so important to trust your photographer and be willing to let go of inhibitions. Give it all you’ve got and don’t hold back.

We are beyond thrilled to have a second opportunity to work with Cengiz … I can’t wait to see what we will achieve in a scenic location such as Villa la Selva in Montebenichi, Italy, in the context of our wedding next year.

Which Aspect of the NYC Adventure Was Most Challenging?

Preparing for a NYC engagement adventure is not a task to be underestimated. Yet, the more time you invest, the better the outcome.

It was not easy for us to find time in our busy schedules, but we disciplined ourselves to set time aside to properly research and discuss our plans, and … importantly, to complete the tasty homework assignments Cengiz gave us–such as mastering “the delicate and high art of the kiss.”

If I Could Only Equip My Best Friend With One Tip on How to Achieve the Best Results, Here’s My Recommendation

Never lose the fun of the moment.

Even if that means running in between impatient yellow NYC cabs wearing only one shoe in the middle of Times Square — which actually happened to me.

Times square engagement photos

I accepted the shoe loss as part of the experience and just let that add a Cinderella moment to enhance our carefree celebration through the Big Apple.

Curious How Guillermo and I First Met?

We have mutual friends and lived in the same city, spending time with the same friends for a year and a half, but somehow had never been introduced.

In February of 2012, we both were begrudgingly dragged to our mutual friend’s house for a Super Bowl party … and that’s where we met.

Neither of us are big fans of football, so we welcomed the distraction of one another.

We went on our first date only a week later and have been inseparable since. I guess we are simply blessed to have had one of those rare “love-at-first-sight” stories.

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Guillermo: Danielle Makes my Life More Special …

“Danielle is my best friend–she always brings out the best in me. As cheesy as it may sound, I knew I wanted to be with her after our first conversation.

Danielle and I talk about everything and that has helped us grow as a couple and individuals. She is my perfect partner in crime!”

Guillermo: Here’s What I love Most About Danielle:

“Ha … one thing? Hmmm … the fact is I like everything about her. Her smile still makes my heart skip a beat, her eyes mesmerize me as they did the first time I saw them. I love her laugh … and the fact that she laughs at my awful jokes! But, I guess if you asked me to pick just one thing I most like about her, I’d say it’s her sense of adventure. She was bitten by the same travel bug that I was. Hey, we’re having a wedding in a country I’ve never been to after all, right?”

Danielle: Being With Guillermo Helped Me Understand True Love Because …

“Our relationship is unlike any I’ve experienced before.

From our first interaction, I’ve never felt like I should be anything but myself around Guillermo. He accepts me with all my eccentricities and truly appreciates me. His strengths offset my weaknesses and vice versa. We entered our relationship as two strong individuals, but we’re undeniably even stronger together.

Guillermo has shown me that love is:

  • an emotional connection to one another that happens naturally without any expectations; and
  • an intentional action and reaction to another for the betterment of the two.”

Danielle: Here’s What I Love Most About Guillermo:

“Guillermo is truly an incredible person.

One of my favorite things about him—and one of the reasons I was so enamored by him upon our first date—is his sincerity. He is genuine and honest, and has a beautifully compassionate soul.

The fact that he also has a strong passion for life and an incredible sense of humor only add to his already amazing persona.

I have never laughed as hard as I do with him, never felt as strong as I do when he’s by my side, and never been more excited than I am to be marrying him soon.”

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Want to See More Photos?

If you’re like us and can’t get enough of Danielle + Guillermo’s epic NYC engagement session, here are more photos to enjoy.

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How About You?

Now, we’d be delighted to hear from you–which of these tips do you find most helpful, and which ones make an immediate difference in your preparations?

And if you’ve already been part of an engagement photo shoot of your own, what’s your #1 advice for having a blast and coming away with photos that truly matter?

Share your favorite secrets passionately in our comments section. And as always, thank you for reading, your support and for making this one of the most insanely useful places for happy brides.

P.S.

Also – do you know somebody who might benefit from this love story? Danielle and Guillermo told you how they did it. Now you can show your friends how to do it by sending them this article.

 

Cengiz Ozelsel Cengiz is the founder of Adagion Studio. He enjoys widespread recognition as one of the most respected elite wedding photographers working today. Get more from Cengiz on Facebook, Twitter, or .

25 Comments … Add yours now

  • Ulisses Vidal December 12, 2013

    It’s not surprising that people are so amazed with Cengiz’s jobs here in Brazil. He delivers astonishing pictures on every single wedding or engagement session shoot; he’s the best!
    Congratulations!

    Reply
    • Cengiz December 22, 2013

      Thank you so much for your kind words Ulisses.

      That means a lot to me. I’m very much looking forward to coming to Brazil this summer and meeting you and other talented photographers.

      Reply
  • Melange Bed and Breakfast January 30, 2014

    Cengiz and his team have repeatedly demonstrated a style full of fun and adventure. With a wonderful avant-gardism that is fresh, raw and inspiring, his photos are out of the ordinary.

    Reply
    • Cengiz January 30, 2014

      Thank you so much Daddy! You are the best father in the world and one reason why I am able to do what I love.

      Reply
  • Salvador Avila January 30, 2014

    Amazing pictures! Knowing the couple so well, these pictures perfectly capture the beauty of their love and joy they bring to each other. Well done!

    Reply
    • Cengiz January 30, 2014

      Thank you so much Salvador! Really appreciate you taking the time and your kind words!

      Reply
  • Danielle DeVoe February 2, 2014

    Cengiz–you are insanely talented and we could not be happier with the photos you produced for our engagement session. We are so thrilled to have found you!
    Based on the constant praise we receive from everyone who sees our engagement pictures, your work surpasses tastes and styles by sincerely capturing the emotions of the moment.
    Thank you for giving us images which we can always look back on to remember the magic that we felt during our engagement.

    Reply
    • Cengiz February 2, 2014

      Thank you Danielle + Guillermo for your kind words!
      I absolutely can’t wait to continue the adventure in bella Italia and above all be part of your happy celebrations.
      Big Hugs!

      Reply
      • Guillermo February 3, 2014

        Hola Cengiz!
        Like my beautiful fiancée said: THANK YOU!
        The pictures are amazing and will forever frame that wonderful day for us.
        The experience we had with you was fantastic and, as I’ve said before, looking at our City through the eyes of an artist was an awesome experience.
        Can’t wait to see what you do with our wedding :-)
        A big hug to you and Chantelle!

        Reply
        • Cengiz February 3, 2014

          You words ring powerfully with me Guillermo!
          I am excited to see what Italy brings and above all look forward to kicking off the festivities.
          Hugs,

          Reply
  • Joanne February 5, 2014

    Guille and Danielle :-)
    Loved the pictures–especially the ones in the park!!

    Reply
  • Brandon Greenberg February 5, 2014

    These are truly amazing pictures!
    I love the creative locations and how well you were able to capture their emotions for one another.

    Reply
    • Cengiz February 5, 2014

      Thank you so much Brandon. They made it so easy with their powerful connection!

      Reply
  • Francisco Schumacher February 6, 2014

    Amazing pics!
    Definitely worth the effort and risks :-)
    You’ve definitely got the trifecta of a beautiful couple in a beautiful city captured by an inspired artist!
    I hope you have a splendid wedding and an even better life together.
    Best wishes!

    Reply
    • Cengiz February 6, 2014

      Ciao Francisco,
      Thank you so much for your kind words–I love the idea of a trifecta!

      Reply
  • Kevin Gonzalez February 6, 2014

    These pictures are not only beautiful, but also artistically stimulating.
    Every shot seems to tell a story and show the connection they enjoy.
    All the best to Danielle + Guillermo!

    Reply
    • Cengiz February 6, 2014

      Much appreciated Kevin!!

      Reply
  • Felipe February 6, 2014

    What an amazing set of pictures!
    I have seen Guillermo and Danielle together many many times, and these pictures perfectly capture that special something they share!
    Great job!

    Reply
    • Cengiz February 6, 2014

      Grazie Felipe for your inspiring words!
      They made it easy + fun :-)

      Reply
  • Chantelle February 6, 2014

    Wow–love these pics!
    You guys looked like rock stars and like you were having so much fun … and of course you have the best photographer :-)

    Reply
  • Ana MC February 6, 2014

    The photos are breathtaking!
    So powerful!
    Unfortunately I’ve not yet met Danielle, but when Guille sent these photos to me, I genuinely awed…
    They are so eloquent at transmitting such a loving and fun connection.
    All I have left to say is amazing job to you for capturing it!

    Reply
    • Cengiz February 7, 2014

      Thank you for your heartfelt words Ana. That means so much to me and made my day!

      Reply
  • Roberto February 9, 2014

    Danielle and Memo are two of my favorite people because you have to admire how flawlessly they fit into each other’s lives.
    He cracks a corny joke, she laughs. She’s lost, he finds her.
    I’m happy to see they found each other and have pictures that truly capture how two people can form an amazing life together whether in NYC, Italy, or when they visit me in San Diego.

    Reply
  • Renata Levine March 9, 2014

    Wow! What a beautiful love story! And what an amazing photographer to capture it!! Cengiz—these photos are incredible, you are a true master!

    Reply
    • Cengiz March 9, 2014

      You are making me blush behind my computer Renata. Fortunately, it is sunny enough in the Sunshine State to blame it on the tan :-). No, seriously, your feedback and support means so much to me.

      Reply

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