Afternoon Fall Engagement Date, Cattus Island Park + Ice Skating | Emma + Nick
Emma + Nick
This engagement session takes places at Cattus Island State Park in Tom's River, New Jersey. Then continues at Winding River Ice Rink in the same town.
Their love story
In 2014, Emma first saw Nick when he was playing ice hockey for the school team and she knew she wanted him to notice her - so she does what anyone else would do and volunteered to sing the national anthem at the games). Their first date, Nick picked Emma up and drove around aimlessly. They ended up at the "Bridge to Nowhere" and looked at the constellations.
When it came to their first kiss, Emma spent the ENTIRE date wondering when it was going to happen - and when it did, she was filled with both relief and excitement to see where their relationship goes.
Neither of them knows exactly when they fell in love with the other, but rather a combination of a lot of little moments, making each of them the other's "person". Emma loves Nick's sense of humor and his easy ability to make her laugh, no matter how hard her day is. Nick loves that Emma can brighten anyone's day with her smile and energy, especially his day.
Their future consists of careers they love and children that can look up to both of them. They want to be the example of true love that lasts and supports a wholesome, stable family.
When it came to their engagement session, we wanted to get a little personal.
Cattus Island State Park
We decided Cattus Island State Park (which is a super cool location with a boardwalk that leads to nowhere - despite that being the most Anti-New Jersey thing I've ever witnessed, trails and a small beach). We trusted Emma's intuition on bringing us to the correct locations. To be fair, she eventually did get us exactly where we needed to go - and had a fun time stopping to get cute and snuggly.
Winding River Ice Rink
After we headed to Winding River Ice Rink. As an ex-hockey player, Nick definitely holds the title in being the fastest person to change into a jersey and ice skates.
Emma is not a strong skater, but there was no doubt in my mind that Nick would not let her fall. Although, if she did, she told me her mother imprinted to always throw your hands up if you fall so you do not get your fingers cut off - so there's that.
He was quick to put Emma at ease by taking her hands and guiding her onto and around the ice. They definitely were much more proficient at twirling on the ice, versus on the trails.
After free-skating for a bit, they threw on nick's old jerseys and got back onto the ice. That is definitely the teamwork symbolization here for marriage yada yada. I told them to ignore me and just be in the moment - this is where I capture those authentic, in between moments.
They HAVE TO come back during free skate and have a full date here, where Nick can teach Emma to skate confidently. I am totally going to hold them to that where they must complete it before their wedding day!
As wedding planning continues, Nick looks forward to every day, especially the part where he wakes up to his future wife, Emma. Emma is most excited about coming home to Nick and their furbabies after a long shift, where dinner and many smooches is waiting, ready for her.
Every day, they try to do "rose, thorn, bud" which is a way to explore each other's day (something good, something bad, and something they're looking forward to the next day). This is going to create an easy communication strategy that is going to make sure their marriage continues to blossom.
Today, I am looking forward to their upcoming wedding and being able to capture their day for them to look back on for the rest of their lives.
Engagement Session at Willowwood Arboretum (NJ), Victoria + Frank
Scouting out locations are all apart of the job - and stumbling upon Willowwood Arboretum is a dream come true. Willowwood, 130 acres of rolling farm land, has about 2,100 kinds of native and exotic plants, many of them rare. In addition to the formal gardens near the residence and undisturbed forest, they are open daily from dawn to dusk and offer one of the dreamiest of locations that is outside the standard gardens and beach photos we often see here in New Jersey.
Victoria + Frank are one of the sweetest people I have met. Victoria loves reading, movies, and animals while Frank love sports and gaming. They met through Tinder roughly six years ago, and his first line (which was a play on her name) was, "If I won your love, would be Victorious". Like c'mon, how cute is that? Their first date was at Barnes & Nobel, where they browsed their favorite books and had coffee. After a few dates, everything felt natural and went with the flow. Two and a half years later, they moved in together and eventually added five cats, a dog, and two guinea pigs to their family. On Halloween 2020, he leaned down while she was on the couch and proposed.
Victoria said it felt they were already married but looking forward to the wedding cake since they are total foodies and definitely looking forward to cocktail hour as well.
Victoria + Frank, I am so excited for your wedding day - you to absolutely adore each other and it totally shows. I love you both!
Tips For Your Engagement Session (From A Photographer!)
First off all, congratulations on your engagement!! This is absolutely the most exciting time ever - and we are SO glad that you stopped here for some tips! We’ve photographed hundreds of couples from their engagement session, to a surprise boudoir session, to their wedding day, and all the way to any of their future events, so we hope that you stick around too! Here are our MOST important tips for your engagement session, from a professional standpoint:
1. Location, Location, Location
My biggest advice is to pick the location that screams YOU and YOUR love story. Do you love being outside? I’ll help you scout out the perfect location. Hate the outside? Think about the activities you both are into - we can go to a roller rink or arcade or anything in between! Still stumped? I always have a list of places I adore and will always create the most dreamy of photos.
2. Wear SOLID, neutral colors!
I know what you’re thinking! “But I saw this beautiful flower dress that I really wanted to wear!” or “my partner really wanted to wear matching plaid” and if that’s really what your heart desires, who are we to stop you. But let me explain why we highly suggest you take our advice! Prints, such as stripes, florals, animal print etc. tend to “warp” on our high tech cameras. Stripes can be extremely unflattering depending on the outfit, and florals will just about clash with every background. Why neutral colors? Our editing style is “earth tones” which focuses on greens, browns, yellows, etc. and a BRIGHT red or purple outfit might not match with the vibe that you were after. Neutrals allow you to blend in with the beauty of nature for a more cohesive, warm vibe.
3. Try to plan your session as close to sunset (or sunrise) as possible.
I cannot stress this enough! When you’re hiring a photographer, you hire them because you love their work and trust their artistic abilities. Every photographer’s dream is that EVERY session be photographed at sunset! Or for the early birds, even sunrise! This is the absolute best lighting of the day and we cannot stress enough how much lighting impacts your photos. If you’re looking for those dreamy, creamy, warm tone photos, trust us - sunset is the best time! Even if at first it may seem like you’re unsure, we definitely recommend it. We have the ability to make magic regardless of the time of day, but we promise the BEST lighting is about 45 minutes before sunset!
We ALL doubt ourselves. Some of us don’t like how we look in selfies, some are unsure of how poses will look on ourselves - but trust us!! We have spent hundreds of hours PERFECTING our personal posing style so that you look and FEEL amazing in every single photo! If you’re not feeling so sure, the camera may capture that! The best way to enjoy your engagement shoot is to let loose, have fun, smile, laugh and be yourself! Let us capture your beauty how the world sees it! Don't worry, we’ll be hyping you up every step of the way.
Engagement sessions are so much fun and an amazing way to get to know your photographer. We hope that you consider our advice when you schedule your engagement session! Either way we can’t wait to create magic with you and have the best time capturing your love in the best way possible. As long as we have a good time, you will love these photos for the rest of your lives.
This being said, so not worry about posing - do not worry about feeling awkward. My signature style is “romantic and candid” and I will have you both doing silly movements to loosen you up and capture the in between, goofy moments - then I will start bringing in the more classic poses, this way you get the best of both worlds!
5. Not sure? Ask your photographer.
If all else fails, ask your photographer for their opinion! We are constantly learning the new trends and styles as well as spend our free time scouting new locations, learning the latest and greatest in the photography world. We want to take time to make sure you have the absolute best experience as well as have amazing photos to show for it! We want to make it totally customizable for each and every client that it can represent you in the best way. This isn’t just my job or some type of side-hustle, it’s my art and career - both things that I absolute love and take pride in. Nothing is more rewarding for me than creating emotional, jaw dropping, art that captures you and your partner.
Rezzi and Sean are rather opposite, when we are talking about personality - she, an outspoken, spicy Brazilian woman and him, a quiet reserved computer guy. Yet, they are the perfect equation - complete chemistry! They met while both were in their early twenties and working at Chick-Fil-A! Rezzi swears he did not like her at first until the day she got him to open up about himself. The rest? Falling in love and getting engaged.
While they were one of the many couples affected by Covid-19 Pandemic, they are keeping strong and hoping to finally tie the knot in October, surrounded by their closest friends and family. We decided to do their engagement session in the heart of Jersey City, a small mini-city located in North New Jersey. What we did NOT realize was how bitter and cold it was going to be outside. Despite the soon-to-be-snowing weather, this couple brought the HEAT when it came to their photographs. We hung out, took photos, and had a blast, laughing and smiling the entire time. We ended during Blue Hour, which involved us hanging with the seagulls and watching the boats pass by.
The best thing about Jersey City? It gives you all the New York City vibes, without having to pay the hefty tolls to get into the city. Just right over the Hudson River, this little urban wonderland has the perfect New York City skyline.
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