Claire and Alex were married on April 22nd, with a ceremony and reception at the Liberty Warehouse.
The entire day took place at the Liberty Warehouse in the Red Hook Neighborhood of Brooklyn. The warehouse is just across the street from Hometown BBQ, the favorite after-wedding pit stop of photographers, so I was intimately familiar with the sights, sounds, and smells as I arrived at the cavernous bridal suite about an hour before the guests were set to arrive.
I was particularly struck by the back of Claire’s Sareh Nouri dress, with its unique, intricate lace paneling. Alex, of course, looked stunning as well, wearing a suit by famed master tailor Martin Greenfield—who dressed the last two presidents!
Because they wanted to preserve that emotional moment when they saw each other for the first time as Claire made her way down the aisle, we decided to forgo the first look for the two of them. It was the perfect decision for Claire and Alex, as that pure, open emotion was captured for everyone to see in the moment.
After the ceremony, I grabbed the two of them for some pictures before the party got started. There is truly something special about taking portraits of a bride and groom once they’re actually married. All you need is the time and a beautiful location, and you have the perfect material to work with as that in-the-moment emotion shines through. Although the weather had forced us to have the ceremony indoors, I loved how the arched window perfectly framed them for a unique silhouette.
The party continued into the night on the dance floor, underneath the warm glow of dozens of oversized Edison bulbs. As for food, Claire and Alex opted for baklava and cannolis instead of a cake, in a nod to both of their backgrounds. The guest gobbled them up even faster than you’d typically see of a cake!
Thank you, Claire & Alex, for trusting me with this special occasion. I love being able to step into a wedding and let the day unfold organically, and you were both wonderful to roll with the day as it came!
Cake – Cannoli from Ferdinando’s
Baklava – Damascus Bakery
Florist – Stems
Stationary – Minted
Makeup & Hair – Agata Helena
Lighting – Pegasus
Band – DJ Neza
Wedding Dress – Sareh Nouri
Bridesmaids Dresses – Monique Lhullier
Rings – Marian Maurer & Elleven Jewelry
Groom’s Attire – Martin Greenfield
With so many locations in New York City for engagement photoshoots, we have plenty of options and flexibility for choosing that one perfect spot that best echoes a couple’s sensibilities. I wanted to tour through some options I receive a many requests for so you can see which one might be right for you.
Central Park is the most popular picks for an engagement session—and for good reason. I love the fact that there are so many ways to feature the park and the city that surrounds it. Over the course of an hour, we can go from a city street to Bow Bridge, with stops along the way filled with lush colors and iconic images like the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace.
We call the area between the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridge, DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), but for such a curious name, it really does provide sweeping views of Lower Manhattan, bridges, and cobblestone streets that are simply perfect for engagement shoots. It’s been bustling lately because of a boom in development and new ferry service in the area, but if you go early in the work week or in the morning, you’ll have it all to yourself.
Fort Tryon Park is one of those little hidden gems of NYC. At the highest point in elevation in Upper Manhattan, you can get panoramic views of the Hudson River. This park has a completely different look from Central Park and is generally far less crowded, not to mention all the interesting nooks and crannies to explore during the session.
Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side is another one of those unknown hideaways frequented by locals but untouched by visiting tourists. The way the light sneaks through the buildings late in the day is a big draw for me as a photographer, as is the fact that the East River runs alongside the park.
This is one of my favorite places in the city in general. With lofts, warehouses, converted industrial spaces, and little to no tourist attractions, the TriBeCa neighborhood feels almost isolated, yet rich in the feeling of Old New York. We can stand in the street for long stretches without having to run away from cars, and when the sun comes down, the alleys and narrow streets turn moody and romantic.
The West Village has become very popular for engagement sessions to capture that classic Sex and the City look. You can never get enough of the cobblestone or the front stoops of gorgeous town homes. Sweaters in the fall and crisp, collared shirts in the spring are always a good look here.
With its infamous ironclad oasis, Gramercy Park can’t actually be entered, but it’s beautiful just outside the gates as well. Since it’s so quiet and exclusive, this is perfect if you don’t want a million eyes on you as you canoodle in front of a camera for an hour.
The redeveloped elevated trackway otherwise known as Highline Park, running from Meatpacking up to Hudson Yards, has been a staple location since it first opened and has become a major destination for out-of-towners. On weekends it can be a little busy, but on a blustery winter day, it’s absolutely perfect—just us and a few diehard joggers.
This often-forgotten locale is just across from the Hudson River in New Jersey, and it takes literally minutes to get there on the PATH train from the West Village. Despite being in New Jersey, Hoboken really is all about New York, and you get this gorgeous, golden glow on Lower Manhattan as the sun goes down. If you’re considering DUMBO but haven’t been to Brooklyn outside of an open house in Williamsburg, you might want to go with Hoboken.
Grand Central Terminal amazes me every time I enter it. There is something about the way the building is nestled between all those modern skyscrapers and whisks people away to the serenity of the burbs that makes it so enchanting. It’s famous the world over, so be prepared—everyone’s families always go crazy for photos in the space.
A lot of 20- and 30-somethings working the infamous 12-hour NYC work days in Midtown tend to have crash pads close to work. A lot of the high-rise buildings have stunning common areas, which are perfect for the end of any session. Obviously, we can’t just waltz into any of these places, but if you live in one, it’s a golden opportunity.
Some couples like to take photos at the spot of their first date or a favorite date location. It’s great to have an environment with a personal meaning, but be warned—you sometimes have to reserve the space on off hours or make other arrangements. For example, I met up with a couple at the Jane Hotel to shoot in their roof bar and get a few pictures in some of the dramatic spaces throughout the hotel.
Finally, the hallowed grounds of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden during that magical week where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom is a must-have for many a couple. It takes a little planning, a permit, and an early morning session to avoid the crowds, but it’s well worth it.
No matter what spot you choose, one thing is always true: the more comfortable you feel and the deeper the personal connection to your surroundings, the better you’ll look in your pictures. It’s up to you to choose the place that best fits your personality—and there are truly so many to choose from.
Jessica and Kwame were married on April 8th, with a ceremony at Saint Jean Baptiste Catholic Church in New York City and a reception at Giando on the Water in Brooklyn.
I was particularly touched that Jessica had asked me to be her wedding photographer, because she has been the event director for years at one of my favorite wedding venues: Studio Square in Long Island City. With a job like that, she has to meet scores and scores of photographers, so I was honored that of everyone, she chose me for her own wedding.
When I first met Jessica and Kwame, I instantly felt like a longtime friend. These two simply exude joy and love for everyone around them, and based on what everyone who spoke at their wedding said, my experience wasn’t unique, either—they are just like this.
On the day of the wedding, Jessica got ready at Le Parker Meridien in Midtown Manhattan overlooking Central Park, while Kwame was with his family and best man nearby at the Renaissance New York Hotel 57. When Jessica was ready, she emerged in her dress to the cheers of a couple dozen members of her family, who had arrived to greet her and wish her well before they headed to the ceremony.
As we rolled up in the Rolls Royce with Jessica and her father, I was taken aback by Saint Jean Baptiste, the ceremony location. The bright afternoon sun was hitting the venue in just the perfect way, showing off a stunning façade that looked like it was plucked out of Europe and dropped in New York City. I had never been to the striking church before, and I’ll never forget the special feeling of the place.
Jessica and Kwame had opted not to have a first look, which is fairly typical of Catholic weddings. This is due in part to tradition, but it’s also a matter of the simple fact that most Masses are relatively early, which leaves ample time for pictures and other activities before cocktail hour. Whatever the case, I’m glad that they waited, because the moment Kwame saw Jessica walking down the aisle was so emotional and beautiful to capture.
I wasn’t the only one who thought that moment was amazing. It was pretty cool to see tons of guests photographing Jessica walking down the aisle like a queen. There’s a trend toward more “unplugged” ceremonies recently, and I do think that’s appropriate for the more intimate weddings, but the excitement of all the guests wanting to get their own piece of the moment was too fun!
After the ceremony, Jessica and Kwame moved over to Central Park with the bridal party and their families for portraits. The sun was low on the horizon, so it was the perfect time to be there for some stunning portraits.
While we were shooting portraits, the guests had all been shuttled to Giando’s on the Water for cocktails, nestled on the Williamsburg waterfront with a commanding view of the Manhattan skyline. We made the trip over to Brooklyn with Jessica and Kwame for the reception—and I knew as soon as I saw MA Entertainment setting up an extensive system of moving lights above the dance floor that things were about to get really exciting.
I wasn’t disappointed. As soon as the bridal party was introduced, there was an explosion of energy on the dance floor like almost nothing I have ever seen before. It went on for hours until I was done for the night, and I could still feel the music in my bones from the SIX enormous subwoofers the DJ brought long after I went home.
In all that dancing and excitement, I was able to capture my favorite image of the day: just a glimpse of Jessica and Kwame dancing together with their friends. Even though most of the day is spent with the bride and groom front and center, I love it when I get the chance to show off a couple totally wrapped up in a moment and unaware of the photographer hiding nearby.
Throughout the day, I also loved working with McKenzie Miller Films. McKenzie’s work is beautiful, yes, but she is also super professional and easy to work with, especially because she just understands the rhythm of the day—which makes teaming up with her nearly effortless! Be sure to check out her highlights film from this wedding here: http://mckenziemillerfilms.com/jessica-kwame/
Jessica & Kwame, thank you for asking me to be your wedding photographer! It was a true privilege to document the personalities that surround you as well as to experience the truth warmth and love that you pour out on all your friends and family.
Event Planner: Jennifer Graham
Cake: Villabate Alba Bakery
Florist: Quinn Florist
Stationary: Bella Figura
Hair: Carmela Pedulla
Makeup: Christy Ann Cosmetics
Lighting & DJ: MA Entertainment
Videography: McKenzie Miller Films
Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera
Bride’s Shoes: Chanel
Rings: Said Komery Jewelry
Groom’s Attire: Bespoke Tux by Mt Ned’s Fine Tailoring
Groom’s Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo