Pin-up Wings: Sam + Connor = Vintage Military Engagement Shoot

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Meet one of the winners of EngagEd 2018—our annual free wedding photography contest—for their free vintage military engagement shoot!

Sam and Connor were the runner-ups of Zorz Studios annual free wedding photography contest by winning the 2nd place. They scored a free photoshoot which, due to Connor’s Air Force service, led us to a vintage military engagement shoot. Here’s a brief about them along with the entered concept:

Me and my fiance met when I was only 14 and him 16, we both new at such a young age what we wanted and no one could tells us otherwise. Being able to say that you grew up with your soulmate is not something a lot of people get to experience nowadays. Just last year our relationship was tested when he made the decision to join the military, to provide the future we both always wanted. We went months without talking and only letters were exchanged… He came home in December and when the ball dropped on new years eve I turned around and there he was, down on one knee. We have a vision of doing a vintage military inspired photo shoot with old school pin up flare for our engagement. We want to bring to life the feeling of Military love and the passion, sacrifice, and courage that comes with it.

Sam V.

We Skyped shortly after the end of the contest and set the things into motion as there was some prep in order. For the authentic vintage military engagement shoot, Sam’s preparations required homework to research traditional pin-up looks and styles. She knew she wanted to do a pop of red and polka dots. Finding the right dress was difficult but she ended up wearing Lulus, and her shoes where from DSW. Her hair was the most important factor to give the iconic pin-up look, and Lorraine of CSI Salon in Farmingville, her long-time family friend, helped with the right style. They ended up doing victory rolls used to rock back in the early 50s. She did her own makeup sticking to the theme by having winged eyeliner and red lips. The overall preparation was very DIY and could easily be recreated with a little research.

All (well, almost) Connor had to do was wear his uniform! He did have his hair cut done by Jarett from Iron and Tread Barber Shop in Sayville. This shop specializes in American traditional cuts, which is what gave our pilot an old-school look while wearing a modern day uniform.

Very importantly, such vintage military engagement shoot concept required a prominent location. I’ve never photographed planes, let alone vintage one, so a museum came to mind immediately. I’ve seen my peers work at the Floyd Bennett Field which offers a few basic options if you are lucky. I hoped we would be but fortunately, we got an even better place at our disposal, the Cradle of Aviation Museum — an aerospace museum to commemorate Long Island’s part in the history of aviation. It is located on land once part of Mitchel Air Force Base which was the site of many historic flights.

First, we got after-hours access to the museum, when the doors got closed at 5 PM top the public. It’s a huge space so to stay focused, we only used one spot where one of the surviving Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, Cheek Baby, stands. The couple was even allowed to climb on the wing!

After about half an hour, we were escorted into the hangar closed to public. It is basically a gigantic workshop that hosts pre-production or in-repairs displays. The area isn’t as tidy but presents several opportunities of a close encounter with exhibits, sort of a backstage experience. I quickly walked around the hangar and settled on a few props like the E-2 Hawkeye carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning aircraft and an army truck (military jeep Willys MB, maybe?) hidden under a tarp cover.

We finished this vintage military engagement shoot outdoors where it rained a bit.

Click images for full size. Kindly refrain from re-uploading images to social media during the first week of feature. Share instead and give credit!

Check out some behind-the-scenes done by my wife and the 2nd photographer on the shoot. And, ahem, allow me to shamelessly quote Sam on her experience…

My fiance is very introverted and seeing how excited and passionate Ed was about certain poses made him let loose and really enjoy the experience. We were both nervous about being photographed for the first time but Ed made us extremely comfortable and we never thought it would have been so fun. Ed was patient and knew how to direct us into beautiful and natural poses. He knew the exact vision we wanted and helped us portray a story we couldn’t have come up without his expertise. We are so grateful for Zorz Studio’s, and the opportunity they give newly engaged couples with this contest. We never thought we would have won a free engagement shoot let alone have the experience of a lifetime. I highly recommend couples to enter this competition because you just might be lucky enough to win! And I would recommend using Ed even if you don’t because his talent and passion will make your photos that much more beautiful.

Sam V.



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. […] Then the idea to try a military pin up photography there hit me! I’ve tried it as an engagement shoot for one couple a few years ago at another museum on Long Island, NY, Cradle of Aviation […]

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