The Escape: Engagement Session for Irina and Igor

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Irina and Igor\'s Engagement Session

Another successful realization of a tough request… Meet Irina and Igor, a young couple whose wedding we are shooting early September 2009. They contacted me in May seeing if I can do an engagement session for them, initially not included in the package. A tough part was that they wanted “something a little more exciting than walking in a park, kissing and holding hands”. Not tough enough for us! 🙂

I called for a concept meeting with them and Olga and the plan was conceived. Originally planned for Quebec, Canada, we later changed it to another intriguing place in Westchester, NY. The concept, however, remained the same – a young couple escaping from the city and the modern times. This called for an extensive list of things to do, get, and buy… A real challenge was that the guys are sooooo busy that many of the items on our list were checked off the day before the shoot, leaving the most important one to a chance — a lucky chance that we still got!

Enter the magnificent Castle on the Hudson where we spent most of the photo shoot. By the way, we are coming back there to shoot a wedding in just about a week.

The day was full of fun, romance, and sweat. Among the highlights of the day were pouring rain the night before, threatening to postpone the session indefinitely as we are booked up through winter; scouting all unlocked rooms and corners of the castle; holding up the makeup artist, causing her to rearrange the following appointment… and costing our clients; scavenging for props by charming the local lads with Olga’s power; shooting possibly not as discrete on the castle’s premises as we were suggested to; hitting the 5-star hotel’s sunroom restaurant in pajamas; gulping down champagne to combat the thirst on top of a sunlit hill; and shooting a bed scene in a public park with some people 10 yards away, creating a suspicious-looking giggling mass wrapped in the bedsheets… Oh, the memories. And we didn’t even get to everything we wanted. As always, time worked against us. All 11 hours.

More images will be added when the entire series is finished, as well as hilarious behind-the-scene shots that you must not miss… Enjoy!

07/14/09 update: Here’s a part of what Irina wrote to us after the session:

…I came to the realization that an engagement session, is not just something I want to add to my wedding to-do-list, but more of something that I want to add to my I’m-glad-I-did-this-at-least-once-in-my-life list. And adding to that list is more thrilling than one realizes! After letting Ed and Olga know that we wanted to do something different (not just walking in a park and holding hands), I saw that they were not only up for the challenge, but as excited, if not even more excited than we were. If your photographer being enthusiastic about your shoot is telling, then I should have known that Ed and Olga would produce pictures that are unfathomably gorgeous. They have the magic touch that gives you the confidence you need to know that at the end of the day, you will come out looking magnificent. Once the confidence is there – and that confidence is provided by them unnoticeably and effortlessly – you just let go. You let go of “am I smiling the right way?” “do I look fat in this pose?” “does what I’m doing look awkward?” Ed and Olga make you feel comfortable instantaneously.

When Ed and Olga are with you, they give their full attention. In the eleven hours that they were shooting us, they ate once and used the restroom twice (and only because we insisted 🙂 ). [Ed: that must have been Olga who slacked, he-he… I never went to the restroom, as I realize just now…] Looking back at the photo shoot, you realize right away that Ed and Olga didn’t just want to shoot a few nice pictures, they wanted to tell a story. They wanted to convey that there is love, passion and emotions between you and the person you love. They wanted every photo (from the lighting, to the atmosphere, to the décor, to the energy) to express a vision of beauty, romance and happiness…

Shooting the engagement session with Ed and Olga was fun, liberating and something that I hope others get to experience.

Thank you for the kind words, Irina and Igor!



– Irina and Igor – “acting” and not
– Ed Hafizov – photography and production
– Olga Mironova – photography, styling, and assisting
Morgan Wells – makeup and hair styling
Castle on the Hudson – a regal venue offering spectacular backgrounds, both indoors and outdoors

Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov is a creative director and lead photographer of Zorz Studios, Manhattan-based boutique photography studio, offering arousing and daring fashion, commercial, beauty, and wedding photography. Multiple Fearless Photographer™ award winner, named among the top 50 US wedding photographers, top 10 NY wedding photographers, winner of Adobe contests, featured by Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle et al, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week photographer, and a distinguished member of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style‘s Platinum List, he is eager to step out of his and willing clients' comfort zone to pursue original artwork with a lasting impression.

1 Comment

  1. Irina says:

    Ed and Olga, you are both creative geniuses! Your passion, creativity and work-ethic are unmatchable. We absolutely loved shooting with the both of you. I don’t remember the last time that I had so much fun. The photo is amazing! I can’t wait to see more.

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