The Secret to Damn Good Engagement Photos: 2 Couples, 1 True Proposal, and a Little Je Ne Sais Quoi

NYC taxi engagement photos

Our Love Story(ies) Told by a Grand Photographer in the Most Beautiful City in the World!

Coming To America …

Giacomo and I—together with our best friends, Laura and Giacomo—finally made our dream of spending Christmas in the Big Apple reality.

But before I share our very special adventure with you, here’s a little context: we had already booked our NYC tickets over the summer and knew we wanted our story documented through the visionary eyes of a creative photographer.

Our expectations for a photo shoot that would at once be loads of fun and result in beautiful images were sky-high.


Central Park NYC engagement pictures

We are professional cinematographers based out of Castelfidardo, Italy, and believe that anything that’s worth doing … is worth doing right–especially when you travel over 4,000 miles to have your engagement photos taken.

Creative NYC Central Park engagement photos

Why Did We Choose Cengiz From Adagion Studio?

Giacomo, my fiancé, was browsing the internet when he discovered Adagion’s splendid website.

I could literally hear him enthusiastically exclaim: “this photographer’s pictures are to die for–we absolutely need to check if he’s still available for the holidays.”

NYC Central Park wedding photographer

We reached out to Cengiz and were instantly blown away by his responsiveness. We could tell from his very first email that he was spontaneous, friendly, and extremely helpful.

In short, he was our guy.

Central Park engagement photos

The Preparation

So we booked Cengiz for December 27, 2013 and right away hit him with the first challenge: we would be doing a joint (multiple-couple) engagement session together with Giacomo and Laura.

That meant two couples being photographed pretty much at the same time.

Multiple couple engagement photos

Cengiz had actually never done something like this before, but seemed intrigued by the opportunity.

On the one hand, doing a joint-engagement session lets you effectively double your time and locations. It also allows the couple that’s not being photographed to sit back, observe, and figure out what’s working.

DUMBO Brooklyn Engagement photos

A perhaps less understood benefit is that such multiple-couple shoots can be tremendous fun and, incidentally, allow for the splitting of the transportation costs.

Now, it almost goes without saying that we didn’t want the same photos as our friends.

But, hey, it’s up to you (and your photographer) to resist any temptation of duplicating what the other couple just did and rather apply your unique energy, style, and personality to coming up with something sublimely different.

Award winning NYC Central Park engagement photos

So how specifically did we prepare for our destination engagement photo adventure in New York City?

Well, it all starts with great communication and Skype was our preferred method.

As you likely already know if you’ve been following Adagion’s informative wedding blog for a while, Cengiz encourages brides to create an inspiration board and update it regularly.

We went with Pinterest, but could have just as well used Facebook, Google docs, or anything else that allows for the easy exchange of creative ideas.

Here’s a hint for you: don’t forget to remind your photographer to occasionally review the changes you make to your board.

I found it quite amusing how Cengiz would ask us to practice and perfect our kiss. According to him, the most powerful kiss on film occurs just before you and your partner lock lips. He calls it the moment before the kiss.

Hey, here’s to happy kissing!

Best nyc engagement photos

We also discussed suitable attire choices and carefully planned the itinerary as to get the most fun and flow out of our contracted photography time.

DUMBO Broolyn Side of the brooklyn bridge engagement photos

I found Cengiz to be incredibly knowledgeable and a powerful resource for brides.

But perhaps the most significant take-away from our preparations was that he simply wanted us to have fun and be ourselves. That’s also my single best advice to you.

Playful Central Park engagement photos

Central Park wedding photographer

The Day of the Shoot

We met up quite early in the morning at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. It was cold–below freezing. 31 degrees Fahrenheit to be specific.

We kicked off our Big Apple engagement adventure with some romantic photos on the popular stairs of the Bethesda Terrace.

Bethesda Mall Central Park engagement photos

Here’s another hint: if you’d like to get photos at the Terrace completely devoid of people, the trick is to either show up before sunrise or on a very cold day … or both.

The mall Central Park wedding photographer

I’ll admit to initially being a bit shy.

But Cengiz managed to help us relax and ease into our shoot … and it didn’t take long until we found ourselves laughing like crazy.

The Terrace at Central Park engagement photos

Romantic photos, silly photos, happy photos–you name it. Time just seems to fly when you’re having fun and are as deeply in love as we are.

Playful and silly NYC engagement photos

One of my favorite memories from the morning was when we created our own “shower of leaves” by having the idle couple toss up as many leaves as possible.

Unfortunately for us, and fortunately for Giacomo and Laura, we were more adept at coordinating our throws.

NYC Central Park leaves engagement pictures

The Most Beautiful Moment of My Life

As you’ll see next, I could have just as well titled this article, “a promise of unconditional love amidst Central Park’s vibrant autumn colors.”

Our next stop–just a quick stroll from the Bethesda Fountain–was an intimate secluded grassy area with expansive lake view.

Real Proposal in Central Park NYC

It was truly a fairytale setting–idyllic with just a flock of happy ducks drifting behind us.

I had no clue that this would be the spot where Giacomo would make me the happiest woman in the world …

Real engagement proposal picture in Central Park NYC

… we stood on a rock by the lake–for what I thought would simply be a romantic photography pose–when suddenly he produced a beautiful box with a red bow.

My stomach went absolutely nuts from emotion-overload, and I simply couldn’t believe what was happening.

I started laughing and probably babbled some nonsense. I was just so happy and will never forget that moment, which was the most beautiful of my life.

Real engagement proposal in Central Park

An Important Word on Transportation & Logistics for Your Engagement Session

Taxi Cab NYC engagement photos

During our Skype calls, Cengiz emphasized the importance of logistics–notably as it pertains to transporting us and our photographer from one location to the next. It’s about:

  • maximizing net shooting time and minimizing transportation time
  • preserving energy
  • protecting the feet
  • staying warm in winter and cool in summer
  • having a place to change attire
  • conveniently carrying suitcases, props, and refreshments

Alas, we found it a touch challenging and expensive to book a dedicated NYC driver from abroad.

As such, we “armed ourselves with good will”–-as we like to say in Italy–and moved around the City with a combination of taxi, subway, and our feet.

NYC Central Park trumpet engagement picture

Our primary way of getting around was by foot, which actually played in our favor a little: walking is a wonderful way to stay warm while getting to truly experience the City.

It also allows you to be spontaneous when you see a fun backdrop and capture photos that would simply not be possible when you’re in the car.

Our itinerary kicked off in Central Park. From there we headed to Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculpture in Midtown. Then Times Square, and finally DUMBO and the Brooklyn Bridge.

LOVE by robert indiana engagement photo

LOVE by robert indiana engagement photo

LOVE by robert indiana engagement photo

Hey, we even found some time to take a quick lunch break at Rue 57 to taste the most delicious burger in the City!

Thank You Cengiz

We’ll never forget that Dec. 27, 2013 with you.

That day will remain forever in our memories and hearts thanks to Cengiz.

Grazie Cengiz!

Kissing on NYC engagement photos

DUMBO Brooklyn engagement photo

Night time NYC engagement photos

P.S. How About You?

Now, we’d like to hear from you–what are your thoughts on a “joint-engagement session?”

How would you feel about having your engagement photos taken side-by-side with your friends?

Let us know in the comments section below. And as always, thank you for reading, your support and for making Adagion’s blog one of the most informative and fun places for happy brides.


P.P.S. Here’s the Italian Original by Giulia Sbaffo

Il nostro amore raccontato da un grande fotografo nella più bella città del mondo


Io e Giacomo con i nostri migliori amici, Giacomo e Laura, siamo stati a NY lo scorso Natale. Già dall’estate sognavamo di chiedere a un fotografo un engagement shooting per ricordare la nostra vacanza in una delle città più belle del mondo.

Perché abbiamo scelto Cengiz?

Giacomo, il mio fidanzato, è un videomaker e cercando in rete un fotografo, quando si è imbattuto sul sito di Adagion studio ha detto: “Queste foto mi piacciono da morire, dobbiamo assolutamente chiedere a Cengiz se è libero sotto Natale!”.

Abbiamo scritto un’email a Cengiz ed eravamo emozionati: Italia e USA sono incredibilmente lontani!
Cenciz ci ha risposto subito e già dalla sua mail abbiamo capito che avremmo scelto lui: era spontaneo, amichevole e molto disponibile.

La preparazione

Decidiamo così di fare lo shooting con lui a NY il 27 dicembre. Insieme a noi ci saranno anche Giacomo e Laura, e Cengiz ci dice che un double shooting (con due coppie) sarà entusiasmante ma anche impegnativo.

Ci parliamo su Skype e Cengiz ci spiega quanto sia importante essere in sintonia fra noi davanti all’obiettivo: ci consiglia di esercitarci un po’ nel ballo ma anche nei baci! :) Sì, perché per lui in una foto il momento più bello è quello prima del bacio, un attimo prima che le labbra si incontrino.

E ha ragione! Cengiz è molto disponibile e ci consiglia anche riguardo ai vestiti da indossare e al percorso da fare per lo shooting.

Ma ciò che vuole trasmetterci più di ogni altra cosa è che dobbiamo sentirci a nostro agio, essere naturali e felici, e divertirci: “Have fun!” come dice sempre lui! :)

Lo shooting!

Dopo diverse Skype call finalmente arriva il giorno dello shooting!

Ci incontriamo di mattina presto a Central Park, vicino alla bellissima Bethesda Fountain, e iniziamo con delle foto romantiche sulla scalinata centrale. All’inizio eravamo un po’ timidi ma Cengiz è riuscito a farci sciogliere e poco dopo ridevamo come matti!

Foto romantiche, foto buffe e divertenti, annoiarsi era impossibile e la mattina è volata nonostante il freddo.
Ci siamo divertiti a lanciare le belle foglie autunnali su Giacomo e Laura, e la loro foto insieme sotto quella pioggia di foglie è davvero meravigliosa.

Siamo poi arrivati vicino a uno splendido laghetto e lì è successa la cosa più bella della mia vita: Giacomo era di fronte a me su una roccia in riva al lago, e a un certo punto ha tirato fuori dalla giacca una scatolina con un fiocco rosso. Io sento una fitta allo stomaco dall’emozione e non riesco a quasi a crederci… rido, rido e dico cose senza senso. Sono immensamente felice! Non dimenticherò mai quel momento, con l’uomo che amo abbracciati fra i colori dell’autunno a Central Park.

Gli spostamenti

Cengiz ci aveva consigliato di noleggiare una macchina con conducente per muoverci al meglio in città e poterci cambiare comodamente ma purtroppo non abbiamo potuto farlo, quindi ci siamo armati di buona volontà e ci siamo sempre spostati a piedi oppure in metro e taxi, ma ce l’abbiamo fatta alla grande!

In più, le camminate sono utili per scaldarsi quando fuori ci sono 0°C! :)

Da Central Park siamo arrivati per qualche scatto volante (c’era una fila lunghissima!) alla gigantesca scritta Love vicino Times Square.

Abbiamo poi fatto una pausa e Cengiz ci ha portati a pranzo in un ristorante carinissimo, Rue57, dove abbiamo mangiato l’hamburger più buono di NYC! :) Nel bagno del ristorante ci siamo cambiati e siamo ripartiti alla volta di Brooklyn in taxi.

Ma prima: tappa veloce a Times Square dove abbiamo fatto foto stupende in mezzo ai taxi che stavano per ripartire!

Le emozioni

A Brooklyn Cengiz ci ha portati a Dumbo, un quartiere molto bello e panoramico proprio di fronte a Manhattan, tra due bellissimi ponti, quello di Brooklyn e quello di Manhattan.

Era freddo ma abbiamo resistito, e abbiamo fatto delle bellissime foto guardando il tramonto sullo skyline della Grande Mela.

Non dimenticheremo mai il 27 dicembre 2013: quel giorno resterà nelle nostre menti e nei nostri cuori grazie alle foto di Cengiz, che ci ricorderanno sempre quanto sia importante amarsi ed essere felici come siamo ora.

Grazie Cengiz!

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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Now, that’s something completely new!

    It must have been quite challenging at first, but you and Cengiz handled it brilliantly!
    His talent and experience–combined with his fun and enthusiasm for each of his couple–are what help him achieve such successful engagement sessions!

    Congratulations on all the wonderful pictures, and thank you Giulia for your addictive account, which I’d recommend wholeheartedly as reading material to every bride before an engagement photo shoot!

    • Cengiz

      Thank you so much Patricia for your heartfelt support. That means a lot to me!

      Big Hugs!

  • This is a great article + some AMAZING images :)

    Well done Cengiz!

  • Giacomo

    Thank you dear Cengiz for this wonderful experience in NYC! :)
    Everything was great and funny and the photos are amazing and powerful!

    • Cengiz

      Much appreciated Giacomo! That was indeed a super-fun NYC engagement photo adventure and full of little surprises! See you in Bella Italia soon I hope. Ciao,

  • Timur

    Congratulations Giulia and Giacomo to your engagement and also congratulations Cengiz on freezing love in time for this beautiful and vibrant young couple.

    It is hard to fathom creating the energy necessary in one couple on a cold and dreary day to permeate pictures and reach the uninvolved viewer, but the energy for two couples? Wow! I am deeply impressed not only by the story your pictures tell Cengiz, but also by the novelty of the story – which is saying a lot given the theme of a young couple in love during their engagement. Not only is every couple’s story refreshingly new, but it is also amazing how you use the backdrop of New York city to its fullest to create a picture story of love as unique as the two individuals who are in it. Looking at your galleries of photo shoots in New York I never once have had the feeling that “I’ve seen this picture before”.

    Congratulations once more to your art which makes many people very happy!

    • Cengiz

      WOW! Thank you so much for your heartfelt words Timur!

    • Giulia

      Thank you very much Timur! :)

  • Michael Weisbein

    I just love that Cengiz is ALWAYS willing to go outside the box and keep experimenting. So many people keep it formulaic and do the same poses and shots time after time! Hopefully you got some nice cappuccinos to warm you up Cengiz… 😉

    • Cengiz

      I wish Michael :-). We did, however, enjoy a killer hot chocolate at Rue 57.
      Many thanks for your kind words and support!

  • Wow! I absolutely loved that pics and, of course, working with you!
    You were so professional and simply fun to be around.
    Thank you some much and can’t wait to see you in ITALY :)

    • Cengiz

      Thanks a million Giacomo–what an unforgettable day and thank you for teaching me the trick with the double-exposure photos–it’s now part of the arsenal of all my creative shoots :-)

  • Simply unbelievable !

    Cengiz you are a true inspiration and this double engagement session is “kick-ass!”
    Looking at the pictures makes me want to grab my camera and go out in Paris to take photos, while reading the story makes me want to propose to my true Love.
    I know who will be my engagement photographer :-)
    Hugs from Paris

    • Cengiz

      Hi Fran and greetings to the City of Lights from the Sunshine State. It would be an honor to shoot your engagement session … and Paris would be a brilliant spot!

  • selma weisbein

    If I were getting married again today, I would make sure to consult with your team on how to achieve spectacular pictures.

    … and thank you again for all the amazing photographs you took of my son, Michael, and his wife, Grace, in Colorado. They were simply superb!

  • Taria Ezell

    Cengiz … what can I say! I’m always impressed with your art and how you engage your clients to deeply express their love in front of your lens :-)

    • Cengiz

      Thank you so much Taria! It’s really the clients who really make the whole ride worth it for me :-)

  • Each and every picture was beautiful. I think it’s a great idea to share something like that with one of your close friends. The couples can help out each other, and I know for the ladies it’s always good to have another female’s opinion. Our significant other won’t tell us the truth … lol.

  • Giulia

    Dear Cengiz,
    I have no words to describe my happiness!
    I read the article and watched your pics again and again … I simply couldn’t stop.
    It brought a smile to my face when I saw your email with the link to this post!
    Thank you, thank you really so much.
    Your photos are and will be forever be the best record we could imagine of our wonderful holiday in NYC … and, of course, of the most romantic and unforgettable moment of my life!

  • Amazing article touring the best New York City locations for Engagement photos and describing the emotional boost from working with a wonderful photographer that has covered New York City, Miami or Paris with equal expertise. Seriously, from a guy’s point of view, if I ever have to start off a marriage right, I’m working with Cengiz Ozelsel – as you can see in this article, he reveals what’s in our hearts and dreams, who thought 10 pounds of camera would allow someone to soar?

    • Thank you so much William Cooper for your kind words. They mean a lot to me.
      And, yes, high time Canon makes some lighter cameras, for there are more hearts and dreams waiting out there :-)

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