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Engayged: Fun LGBTQ Engagement Photo Session in NYC

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Engayged: Fun LGBTQ Engagement Photo Session in NYC by Zorz Studios
Reading time: 5 mins

Folks, please welcome my first published LGBTQ engagement photo session. Where did I take this same-sex engaged couple for that? A NYC laundromat—for a reason—and I added a splash of fun to it.

New York’s Marriage Equality Act was signed into law by Governor Cuomo on June 24, 2011, allowing same-sex couples to marry legally in New York for the first time. I’ve had an honor to work with such couples since then, but never got around to blog about same-sex weddings. I’m happy to fill that gap now with a cool gay couple for starters, and a few more to follow this year.

Happy Laundray!

Meet the young professionals, Edward and Tyler. They reached out to me almost a year ago:

My fiancé, Tyler, and I are looking for a high concept photographer for our wedding. We are a couple breaking many traditional molds. Your portfolio showcased many dimensions, from high fashion to drama to fun, that resonates with us.

Edward

They live in Manhattan but met in California in a—surprise, surprise—laundry room on the first day of Stanford Graduate School of Business, which also happened to be the night of Edward’s 30th birthday! Learning about that gave me an idea of how to make this LGBTQ engagement photo session even cooler. Not only would a laundromat relate to their personal story but also throw in an unexpected background. A laundry room just isn’t the first location most engaged couples would think of for their photoshoot.

Not-Your-Typical Locations

The most common engagement shoot backgrounds are parks and urban streets, of course. The images come out beautifully but I loooove experimenting with untraditional, even off-limits backgrounds. Wouldn’t you think it’s dope to shoot at a recycle facility, abandoned prison, nightclub, theater stage, junkyard, or underwater? Here’s what I’ve done there:

A laundry day would totally fit into my urge for non-traditional! I actually have a couple of engagement photos with a laundromat theme in my engagement portfolio. I took them at an über fun pop art exhibit Dream Machine. The lighting was awesome, but the washing machines were not real.

Sound Advice: Gloria + Edmond = Funny Engagement Photos by Zorz Studios (33)

Laundry Day

Back to our guys’ city romance! We couldn’t shoot in the actual meeting location (California, remember?) so they looked around for a substitute. A seemingly simple task, but most spots were tough to get into… It took a few months before they finally arranged for a permit in Brooklyn (Stuyvesant). The laundromat opens at 7 AM so we had to start at 5. Because I had shot a Bar Mitzvah in Brooklyn the night before, making myself cozy in my parked Zotel on the wheels was natural.

Woke up at 4 AM to check on business and prepare for the shoot. When they came, I first suggested we do a quick tribute to their first meeting. As the story goes, Edward walked into the laundry room and later saw Tyler’s box of lavender dryer sheets. He was missing them. The exact quote was: “Can I borrow—I mean use—your dryer sheets since I won’t be returning them?”

Engage!

My other laundromat engagement session lent me an idea of a crazy laundry cart race. I asked each guy to climb into a cart while the other would madly push it. To make it more interactive and complicated, I opened several washing machine doors. They forced the racers to maneuverer for an extra action.

That flying laundry in the first Mad Edward scene? Photoshop. And a bit of face swapping. I would’ve preferred the “real thing” as proudly featured in most of my hard-to-believe photos, but there were no bystanders to help me throw the stuff around. My digital art skills came in handy. Here’s before and after:

You Said Laundry Day, Right?

What do we do on a laundry day? Change clothes, meaning some of it comes off, right? Sounded like an excuse to get them bare-chested! I switched to the off-camera flash and side-lighting for a more dramatic scene. I wish we had more time for that segment.

Fashion Boys

They love fashion. I heard about something special for their wedding day attire, but even now they brought style, too. Edward sported a KRONE jacket and Converse shoes, Tyler had Billionaire Boys Club jacket and Givenchy shoes. The watches were gifts to each other.

Two hours were gone in a splash. I feel like I only scratched the surface of the potential concepts, but this wasn’t bad for my first published LGBTQ engagement photo session. I can hardly wait for their stunning wedding in Philadelphia next month, at the awe-inspiring Penn Museum. See you soon!

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.

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