The Cheater’s Notes To Acing Your New York Engagement Session

Kristin: Jamie and I met on a foreign study program in Paris during college. Over the semester, we became inseparable and spent every free hour exploring the city and other parts of Europe together. We stayed close friends after the program ended, and after a while, he finally worked up the courage to ask me out – it only took him a year! We’ve been together ever since.

Why did you choose Cengiz?

Kristin: I came across a friend’s engagement photos one day and was utterly floored by what I saw. It was pure art and nothing like I’d ever seen before with wedding photography. Cengiz and his team at Adagion are masters at telling an emotional story through imagery – and gorgeous, uplifting imagery at that. Each photo they produce captures a poetic theme: passion, playfulness, sheer joy, attraction, drama, mystery, even silliness – the emotions reflect the full spectrum of love and relationships. There was no question in our minds that we wanted to work with Cengiz and Adagion.

How did you feel heading into your NYC engagement adventure?

Kristin: The night before our sunrise engagement shoot, I was so excited that I could barely sleep – and truthfully, as a perfectionist, I was a bit anxious about everything going smoothly. However, after Jamie and I ran through our checklist together for the umpteenth time, I decided to stop worrying. We spent a tremendous amount of time and energy preparing for the shoot, and at that point, I had to fall back on my complete trust in the Adagion team and just relax. Moreover, after the many conversations I had with Cengiz, I knew it would be a truly fun and memorable experience for us.

Jamie: The idea of an engagement photo shoot was very foreign to me. I had seen the occasional “professional” portraits of recently engaged couples, thought they always looked fairly corny, and never gave them a second thought – but when Kristin showed me what Cengiz and Adagion could do, I was completely on board.

Kristin, how has Jamie made your life more special?

Kristin: Jamie proved to me that love can happen unexpectedly. We were first and foremost friends – which is probably why I had my guard down and was so pleasantly surprised when we realized our feelings for each other. He is my best friend and constant cheerleader, showering me with love and affection day in and day out for the past six years that we’ve been together. I feel so blessed to have him in my life.

Kristin, what is it that you love most about Jamie?

Kristin: Jamie is one of the sweetest and most selfless people I have ever met. Truly, there is no one more innately good-natured and kind, with never a bad word to say about anyone. To top it off, he’s as intelligent as he is athletic (very!), and it doesn’t hurt that he has a good sense of style. Although he is generally reserved and quiet, one of my favorite things about Jamie is how hilarious he can be when we’re alone – I like to think that he reserves that special silliness just for me. Additionally, I love that we enjoy many of the same activities – like TV marathons and the great outdoors – but that we can also continue to introduce each other to new things and experiences. He balances me out in every important way.

Jamie, how has being with Kristin helped you understand true love?

Jamie: I think that everyone understands love differently and, even for those who do experience it, they have trouble putting it into words. I know that I love that feeling when I first see Kristin after a long day at work, or when my phone lets me know she texted me, or even when I remember something sweet she said.  She is able to make me feel relaxed and happy in a matter of seconds no matter what I was previously feeling.  I wouldn’t say that I totally understand true love, but I am confident that I have it with Kristin.

Jamie, what is it that you love most about Kristin?

Jamie: I love how Kristin opens my mind to new experiences and new ideas. I love how caring, nurturing, and sweet she is, but also how she keeps me on my toes. I love the contrast between how smart she is and how silly she can be. I love how she can make me laugh with a single look, word, or gesture. I love how she always knows what to do in any given situation. I love what a good cook she is. I love how thoughtful she is and how she knows what I am thinking or feeling as soon as I do. These are just a few of the things that I love most about my fiancée; to list all of them would take too long!

What does “For The Sake Of Imagery” mean to you?

Kristin: This phrase, which Cengiz kept exclaiming encouragingly during our engagement session, really provided inspiration for us during the shoot. I have an outrageous, irrational fear of heights – and to me, “for the sake of imagery” meant I had to face my phobia head-on in order to obtain the types of photos that no one else has. At one point during the shoot, I tossed my shoes aside and perched precariously on the railing of a bridge – which speaks volumes to the kind of courage Cengiz and Nick are capable of inspiring. Cengiz really captured this idea well by saying, “In order to produce the images that no one else has, you must be prepared to do what no one else will do.” 100% true!

Please help us understand how you prepared for your NYC engagement? Please be as detailed as possible.

Kristin and Jamie: We invested a lot of time figuring out our preferred locations here in New York City and planning out what we wanted to do at each spot. Here are some tips for how we prepared:

  • Browse through photos: Check out Adagion’s website, as well as search on Pinterest for other couples’ engagement photos to get inspiration for locations, poses, outfits, etc.
  • Coordinate outfits: Finalize your outfits ahead of time for each planned location and make sure to coordinate with each other – you don’t want to lose any time figuring this out on the day of the engagement session. For example, we opted for a formal look in Central Park and a more casual look for Times Square. Ask the Adagion team for advice if you get stuck. They have great tips, like how the color black is ideal for silhouette shots at sunrise and sunset. Also remember to plan your accessories – shoes, jewelry – as well as makeup and hair.
  • Pick out props: Choose props that reflect your personality and allow you to interact with one another. We brought a whole range of items to use as props, including bubbles, a bouquet of flowers, champagne and confetti. We would advise couples to practice and test out their props in advance if they have time – this might sound like overkill, but it’s possible to get a dud bottle of bubbles! Also, confetti-blowing is an art – you want to avoid looking like a puffer fish.
  • Book a car: Secure a car for the day, preferably a big one with tinted windows. If you can find a trusted driver, it can really make all the difference having someone who knows the city well and can navigate traffic seamlessly. Our driver also doubled as security detail, ushering away curious bystanders.
  • Practice poses: Practice kissing and posing, even if you’re not camera-shy – it never hurts to rehearse, and it’s good to know what looks good on camera.
  • Plan, plan, plan: Be sure to start on all of this weeks in advance, if you can! Every minute that you have to spend on these things during the shoot will take away from time when you could be getting some great shots. You can’t possibly be too prepared!

One more piece of advice: bring a lint brush – or better yet, a lint glove if you have one! Lint can strike at any time, so better safe than sorry.

How did you stay organized?

Jamie: We created a to-do list of everything we needed to get done prior to the actual shoot. We then just divided up the tasks and made sure to get started far enough in advance to not be too stressed. By the time the shoot was a couple days away, all we had left to do was finalize a few details. We would definitely recommend creating a comprehensive to-do list of some kind and getting started early!

Kristin: For the day of the shoot, think strategically about how items are packed together and make sure to organize your outfits and props so they’re easily accessible. For example, you want to be able to reach into your bag or suitcase and know exactly where the earrings and shoes are that you want to match your outfit.


What part of your NYC adventure did you find most enjoyable?

Jamie: The shoot was incredible. I am shy by nature and dislike having attention on me, but it was actually pretty cool standing high up on the beams along the Brooklyn Bridge on a beautiful day while a crowd gathered to watch and take our picture.

Kristin: We attracted bystanders everywhere we went, and I could tell Jamie was a little uncomfortable at first. However, after a little warming up, and with all the energy Adagion was beaming at us, we definitely started to enjoy the attention! One of my favorite moments was running across a bridge in Central Park and leaping for joy while everyone watched on the sidelines – I felt like we were celebrities doing a magazine shoot.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change? Why?

Jamie: Be sure to give yourself more than the time you need to get ready in the morning! We did our shoot at sunrise, so with hair and makeup, travel time, and prepping, among other things, we were going to be getting up VERY early no matter what. Figure out how much time you think you will need, and then add to it just to be safe and allow for any complications – like traffic! Even before sunrise on a Saturday, you just never know.

Kristin: I would encourage couples to relax. Yes – there is a lot of work I would suggest getting done before the shoot, but to get the best possible images, I think it’s important to be well rested, and be prepared to have a blast! Adagion will do the work of making your images look incredible. Your job is to let go, lose yourself in the moment with each other and have fun so all of your love and joy comes through naturally.

Which aspect of the adventure, including preparation, did you find most challenging?

Jamie: I was honestly a bit worried about the shoot itself. I am not comfortable in front of the camera in general, but this turned out to not be an issue at all. Cengiz and Nick made us feel at ease, plus I had Kristin there with me the whole time. I was actually quite relaxed and comfortable during the shoot. The hardest part was probably the preparation. We were venturing into the unknown but luckily had Cengiz and Nick to guide us.

If your best friend were considering a similar engagement adventure–and you could only provide one helpful tip–what would you tell her?

Kristin: Plan and prepare as meticulously and as early as possible. It will minimize any stress you might have in the days leading up to the engagement shoot (and during), so you can spend that time resting and relaxing for the big day ahead, as well as maximizing your time with your Adagion photographer during the session.

So tell us, how does it feel to show affection on the Brooklyn Bridge above the on-rushing cars?

Jamie: The Brooklyn Bridge was our last stop of the day so it was absolutely packed with people by the time we got there. It was quite daunting climbing up on the side of the bridge with so many eyes on us, but was actually exhilarating once we were up there! Kristin might tell you otherwise though, as she is not a fan of heights, especially precarious ones with cars flying by directly below her. But it was definitely worth it. These turned out to be some of our favorite shots!

Kristin: I had already been defying my fear of heights earlier in the day, so when Cengiz proposed we climb on the railing, I barely debated the idea in my head before I decided to go for it. It was a huge adrenaline rush! I definitely felt a little weak in the knees, but Jamie’s steady embrace was holding me tight the entire time, and I totally lost myself in the moment. Plus, there was a very encouraging crowd forming beneath us snapping pictures with their phones. We used our bottle of champagne for this last location, and it made us feel like rock stars, showering everyone with bubbly.

Hey, it’s your turn

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?

Please share your favorite tips passionately in our comments section below.

And of course, thank you for reading, your support and for making this one of the most useful places for happy brides.


About the Author


Cengiz is the founder of Adagion Studio and Zero Gravity Learning. His unique creative vision combined with a rare ability to bestow surreal rock star auras on real-life people have led to his recognition as one of the most internationally respected elite wedding photographers working today.

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