Yay! Hitting my next milestone with this rustic engagement session in Poconos for the first local wedding clients here. Everything is here—a pretty girl next door, a tough wood chopper, wilderness, waterfall, antique Ford, giggles, drama, and of course, raw love!
I was waiting for this opportunity for three years since we moved to Poconos from NYC. Wasn’t pushing for it (no wedding ads or promotions, for example), just commuting to the city for my main client base while serving my new community until a local couple would notice me.
Having been a professional wedding photographer for about 15 years and having covered offbeat engagements and unique weddings from Alaska to India, I’ve seen my share of places but one doesn’t have to look beyond the horizon to find treasures in the backyard. And, I was thinking, “Why not bring my national and international experience to my new community?”
This is not my first engagement session in Poconos, however. That first one had a cold Nordic theme in 2019 for my EngagEd contest winners, an Indian couple. Think Game of Thrones. They traveled to Poconos from afar, however, and I didn’t do their wedding, so today’s couple has all the honors to be titled my First Poconos Wedding Couple! 🎉
As a side note, I did quite a few non-wedding local photoshoots already, from the aforementioned community events, to maternity, beauty, commercial, baby, Mother’s Day portraits, and fun family shoots. Many of them were my old clients from NY/NJ who have summer houses in my area.
Jackie and David are my neighbors, we all live in Wild Acres. The bride must have seen my photo stories in the local FB groups. She reached out in December about their wedding this June and I got all over this chance, offering a neighborly pricing that was hard to refuse. 🙂
Without doubt, I included an engagement session in Poconos, counting on making use of our beautiful nature. This is where the story could have a twist: the original plan was to shoot right after a winter storm, to get a striking winter wonderland feel. It didn’t work out, unfortunately, so we settled for a warmer spring session loaded with cuteness and brighter colors. The epic winter spot remains open, folks!
As I learned during the engagement session preparation, the guys are the owners of Drop Zone Tree Services. The company handles all tree servicing needs, including tree cutting, firewood, and even plowing in the tri-state area of PA, MJ, and NY. Soooo, wood chopping came to my mind. The age of the hand tools is long gone but I asked to bring an axe, along with a saw. I didn’t plan to make them the main theme, just sort of unique touch.
As a special treat to this pioneering couple, I extended my standard 2-hour engagement shoot to four hours, with two primary locations. For an engagement session in Poconos, the first location that often comes to mind is a waterfall. I took them to my favorite one, Raymondskill Falls, because of its ease of access, liberal rules, and beauty.
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The next stop was suggested by Jackie and it was a discovery for me! I drove past Marie Zimmermann House and Farm numerous times on Route 209 on my way to Milford but because it is concealed behind a thick wooded area, never realized that a historic site dating back to 1745 hides there. There are no signs and the entrance is easy to miss without a map. We succeeded in the second attempt.
You have to park outside the gates and take about a mile-long walk in the woods. The sky turned cloudy. I couldn’t resist creating a few darker, dramatic images. Following the advice of my wife, I’m trying to do less of them now to appeal to a wider audience, yet jump on them whenever there is an opportunity.
Shortly after, we reached the Zimmermann House. There were no visitors, so we roamed around the property all by ourselves. An antique blue Ford truck drew my attention first, and I worked with it, using the blooming yellow bushes of forsythia as a complementing color in both the background or foreground.
I also couldn’t miss a chance to give Dave a cool solo portrait with a rustic feel:
I did one for Jackie, too, leaving the story to your imagination to make up:
I even wanted to use that solo portrait as a movie poster for Jackie’s birthday on the day I was writing these lines. But, unsure if everyone would find it cheerful enough, I went with a safer alternative:
The farm has a nice alley where long shots look particularly romantic. After those, I ended the series with a bit of fun.
And what good is a rustic engagement session in Poconos for the guys owning a tree cutting company without fallen trees? As we were leaving the farm, I stopped by a massive tree toppled by a storm. Here’s the perfect backdrop for the tools we were carrying around! In the artistic heat, I suggested Dave goes beyond rolling up the sleeves and bares more of his muscles. Thankfully, he obliged, so I ended up with some raw power in tandem with a sexy saw fairy.
Loved, loved, loved shooting this rustic engagement session in Poconos! I’m doing their wedding next month and look forward to a beautiful experience! If you are engaged and live in Poconos, let’s see if we can explore your creative calling! I’ll treat you like a neighbor.