Photographer Christian Oth knows a thing or two about New York weddings. He's worked with celebrities and socialites alike, and far too many NYC it-girls to count. But for all the engagement sessions stories he can't disclose, he certainly has some stellar tips to make sure your upcoming engagement photo shoot is worth of a magazine tear-sheet.
Choose a Romantic Location
"The best engagement sessions are photographed in a great, romantic backdrop that is meaningful to the couple. Personally, I prefer not to shoot around sleek office buildings, or too modern buildings. Urban landscapes with art deco details lend themselves to a more romantic feel."
Don't Jump Around Too Much
"I always give each neighborhood about an hour to truly produce quality work. The West Village around Perry Street is a great spot. It's best to just drop into places in the area and get some shots. I love when the couple interacts with environment and each other. It takes away from self-consciousness and produces beautiful photos."
Don't Become a Tourist
"Even if you are doing an engagement shoot in your own city, don't become the typical tourist. You don't need to pass by every landmark and get a photo. I prefer to work with the texture of a city — that's why I like to shoot the West Village and TriBeCa. It's quintessential New York with the cobblestone. This is true for other cities as well... You can tell its Miami when you see the color of the sidewalk or the art deco details of the street."
Let the Photographer Do the Planning
"Don't over plan the logistics — keep it organic. If (your shoot) is in the city, a photographer will need to think on their feet. You can scout a location, and then have scaffolding up the next day. It's my job as a photographer to get what I need from the couple. I don't want to put it on the couple to plan their shoot. I just want them to be relaxed, look great and enjoy themselves. If they enjoy themselves, laugh and smile, then I get great pictures."
Get Chatty with Your Photographer
"Be sure to have a great rapport with the photographer and communicate any ideas or anything that is special about yourselves. I love it when couples just talk to me beforehand. I always get on the phone with my couples beforehand and ask them what's unique about them. For example, I asked this groom what kind of car he had in the garage. Before I knew it, we were taking great shots on cobblestone streets in a yellow Porche."
Get Your Groom... Groomed
"Get the guys a stylist. The easiest solution these days is Trunk Club. They find a stylist for the guys, and put outfits together. The guys always come out looking sharp."
If You Want to Be Published, Think Details
"If you want to get published in a magazine or blog, and that's what you are doing the shoot for — I would go for styling. All the elements of a regular fashion photo shoot would start to matter here. And it really makes sense to invest in a stylist. A stylist will add heat to your shoot... They will get outfits, hair and makeup, and it will really look great. The outcome is certainly more worth it."
"Stay away from balloons. I've just seen it too many times. The first time I saw it was great. Now..."
Do Nothing the Night Before
"Eat, rest, relax and hydrate — you will look gorgeous. Making you look great is my job."
Just Be In Love
"Just be in love. Be in love and don't sweat the small details. Keep it light. Take the day off work if you can, or at least half-day off work. And guys, please, put the iPhone away."