Ah, New York. I can’t think of another city I was so familiar with, without actually having visited it. I knew all the boroughs, the architecture, the famous sites and the parks. I knew the unique view from the rooftops. But all these images were like puzzle pieces scattered around my mind. I finally got the chance to see it. Now, all the pieces fell into their place, and what a huge puzzle it is! I knew it would be huge, but not that huge!
I was getting ready to shoot a destination wedding in Buffalo, NY. Three days before the trip, I got a call from Alex and Lenny. The young couple wanted me to shoot their engagement in Brooklyn, New York. But…how did they know that I would be in New York? As far as I know, I am not listed in the “New York Wedding Photographers” section in the Yellow Pages. It turned out they met my dear friend from elementary school during their stay in Bali. It was him who recommended me. Thank you Bojan!
Shooting an engagement in Brooklyn is one of the coolest gigs a destination wedding photographer can get. However, I wanted to avoid all those locations that have become romantic clichés over the years. Sure, the Prospect Park Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Bridge, the Green Building and other popular Brooklyn wedding venues are all great. It’s just that I wanted this photo shoot to have something as authentic as those, but a bit more subtle. I wanted a setting immediately recognizable as vintage Brooklyn, but without it being spelled out in bright neon lights. And then I got it – a rooftop with a water tower! The entire New York City skyline is full of wooden water towers. What many people don’t know is that these are not just relics from the past. Well, some of them are, but at least 15,000 of them are still used today.
The only thing left to do was find the right rooftop. I searched the Instagram for #rooftop and #watertower. I was lucky to find Arseniy Grobovnikov. He is a kickass photographer and filmmaker who was willing to help. His building in the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn has a water tower on the rooftop, and he would let us use it. Less than 24 hours after finding out that I would shoot an engagement in Brooklyn, I managed to secure the perfect location for the photo shoot. I was beside myself with excitement!
My First Experience as a Brooklyn Wedding Photographer: The Engagement Photo Session
Alex is from Russia, Lenny is from Moldova. The similarities between our Slavic-influenced cultures started to show immediately. This was most evident in our common region-specific sense of humor, so unique, so crazy. As a matter of fact, the laughter was quickly getting out of control, so we had to cut the photo session short after an hour. We decided to have some dinner and beer, and continue the photo shoot tomorrow.
Alex and Lenny took my wife and me to some awesome places in Brooklyn. We got the chance to eat some the best food in the entire City of New York. Time flies when you’re having fun, and before we knew it, it was midnight. The young couple insisted to drive us from Brighton Beach also known as “Little Odessa” to East Village.
The following day, my wife and I got lost in the city. We loved that! We blended in with the the crowd in the city streets. It is the best way to get to know a place. Go out into the streets, feel the pulse of the city and its people and get in sync with that rhythm.
Later that day, we met with Alex and Lenny to finish the photo shoot. Luckily, we managed to photograph everything we wanted quickly, because the same thing happened as the day before. The fun and laughter escalated to the point where any further resistance was futile. There was only one reasonable course of action. Get some dinner, drink more beer and continue to have a blast with our new friends.
My two-day adventure as a Brooklyn wedding photographer blew me away. Everything seemed like a modern version of an old Slavic fairytale, up until the very end. At midnight, my wife and I had to catch a bus as my next job was a wedding photo shoot in Buffalo, NY. Alex and Lenny drove us to the station and continued to goof around and have us in stitches up until the bus door closed and saved us from dying of laughter.
Alex and Lenny, thank you for everything. I love you guys, and I love New York!
Photos by Destination Wedding Photographer Damir Plavotić