When you get an exclusive access to such a majestic place like United Palace for a theatrical engagement session, you don’t waste it on trivial shots…
This was my third time working in a theater. First time was at the St. George Theatre on Staten Island when we did a full day of bloody, dark, body-painted photoshoot for two goths of Gothic Renaissance. The second opportunity treated me with a much milder occasion, a wedding day quick photoshoot at the Boston Opera House.
Shooting in theaters is bound to be spectacular. This may relax a photographer thinking that the striking background makes up for creativity: when searching Google images for “theatrical engagement session” I mostly see ideas and poses similar to any other environment, such as a street, city park, or a cafe. One exception may be throwing a popcorn and 3D glasses into a movie theater, if it counts as a theater. To me, a theater begs and justifies a more dramatic or powerful take on an engagement session. Needless to say, my already inherent strive for all things dramatic in our engagement sessions gets a nuclear boost in a theater…
Meet Ana and Dana. From the beginning of our interactions I knew it would be something very special. She used to perform, he used to be a creative director; both keen on fine art, style, and impact. Dana approached me with a task of capturing his surprise proposal in September 2015 and no wonder we originally considered doing it at a Broadway show. The plan had to be moved to another venue, no less artistic: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
Their proposal shoot fell an unfortunate victim to a busy season when I am unable to publish all the blog stories even as cool and crafty as this one, so here’s a retrospective brief. Everything was planned out carefully and strategically. In MoMA, I initially photographed them candidly on a 200mm zoom lens, keeping a safe distance out of Ana’s sight. Then they made it to the Sculpture Garden where I pretended to be a photojournalist (had my magazine badge hanging and all) working with and interviewing random people (I actually did, telling them why), and “as-a-matter-of-factly” switching over to my couple when they were passing by… See, she spotted me already working with people! I introduced myself, asked for a permission to interview, obviously got Dana’s eager approval, expressed my need to take a few portraits first, placed Dana behind Ana, snapped a shot while Dana kneeled, asked her to switch with him so she turned… and there stood Dana! I started flying around, you see the results.
This sneaky shoot reminded me of another touching surprise proposal photoshoot by a dear to me couple, Meera and Arjun, who immersed their special moment into another NYC’s art Mecca, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It also required some strategic thinking and creative techniques as you can see.
There was more that day for our couple! We soon bid farewell and the guys set off to a restaurant to enjoy an intimate celebration. Unbeknown to Ana, a group of their friends was waiting for them there, myself included. Surprise for her, then a bigger surprise by seeing me again… See that photo? “And this guy, he’s HERE again!” Ahhh, fun times. But let’s proceed.
Fast forward to 2017 and we are now booked for their wedding revisiting our urge for drama in form of a theatrical engagement session. The hunt for the location was not easy. Dana did a lot of research and legwork to get the United Palace for us and we secured it for three hours of shooting! The preparations were pretty extensive, too, with three targeted concepts. As it sometimes happen, things veered away from the plan but we adapted and improvised, and quite successfully! Started with simple romance poses, moved to the editorial feel, got them into a passionate dancing mood, added a sprinkle of sexy moves, then secluded them in a secret red room where things slided into a bit more risque area, and then we finally hit the hall, both the balcony and the stage.
An epic, daring, and theatrical engagement session indeed… just what I crave for. A bit of a long story but there is also a wedding to come later this summer. 🙂 Enjoy!
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Some behind-the-scenes for you, guys. Look at all those lights… Having my wife photograph along with me and assist me with lighting helped us achieve so much more in this overwhelming environment on a tight schedule! Certainly a worthy investment consideration for complex shoots.
Worked for 5 hours in a majestic #UnitedPalace #theater today shooting an #engagement session for our #wedding clients. Some #epic drama… because why waste the access privilege? Check out my Instagram story for some behind-the-scenes before it’s gone. 🙂 #DareToBePhotographed #GetZorzed #ZorzStudios #WeddingPhotographer #EngagementPhotography #EngagementPhotographer #NewYork #NewYorkWeddingPhotographer