24 Apr Emily and Erik: A Day in the Life Engagement Shoot
I grew up in Los Angeles but didn’t become a full-fledged wedding photographer until I moved to New York City. A couple of years ago, two of my dearest friends from Brooklyn made the inevitable West Coast migration to Pasadena, California. Recently, they announced their engagement (yay!). These guys were kind enough to alleviate me of official photography duties on their big day — so I can drink as much as I want, I suppose — but I still wanted to figure out a way to share what I do with the people I love. Hence, we came up with the idea for a “day-in-the-life” engagement shoot.
The day started like this: I met Emily and Erik at their beautiful house in Pasadena on a Thursday afternoon. Emily arranges trips for choir groups and works from home; Erik is a physicist at CalTech. We took a few shots around their house and then walked to the Pasadena Farmers’ Market (yes, it IS sometimes possible to walk to a destination in LA). We strolled the stands looking for something to cook for dinner and ultimately decided on salmon as the main course. By the way, hanging out at a farmers’ market is no strange place to find Emily. For years she worked as the “Milk Gal” for Ronnybrook Farm Dairy at the Greenpoint Farmers’ Market. In fact, that’s where she met Erik. Good story!
At one point, I asked Emily if it was easier or harder to be photographed by a friend, and without hesitation, she replied, “Wayyy easier!” I honestly wasn’t sure how I felt the other way around. While I’ve always gotten positive reviews from my clients (#humblebrag), it’s still different to photograph a friend. But I feel I’ve gotten to a point where I can trust my way around my camera and create great images no matter the subject or situation. Sure, it helped that the Southern California weather was immaculate (duh!), the Farmer’s Market was bursting with color and action, and that Emily and Erik were as in love as any couple could be.
Later in the evening we headed back to their home to cook. Erik pulled out his well-worn Japanese cookbook; Emily reached for the butter. Both knew their particular roles in the kitchen as only two people who live together and love each other can. And this sort of communal cooking is as much of a tradition now as it was when Emily and Erik lived in Brooklyn. I’m proud to be wear the title of “Emily’s First Friend in New York”, from when we met as interns, and we’ve cooked tons of meals together in cramped, crowded Brooklyn kitchens. She’s whipped up many a birthday dinner for me, complete with homemade ice cream. And when it came time for “orphan” meals during Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day, my friends and I always found ourselves in Emily’s tangerine-hued apartment, with equally vibrant fiestaware set in front of us.
Sure, we staged a day-in-the-life scenario for this photoshoot, but it didn’t feel staged at all. It’s as natural a shoot as I’ve ever done. The only thing that would’ve been different if it was any other day? Says Emily, “We’d probably be cooking this meal in our pajamas.”