With the weather becoming crappy... where do you shoot (engagement)?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by kristina hill, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. I'm based in New York City and I normally do engagement sessions on the street or in a park. I'm up on my permit laws when it comes to subways, city parks, state parks, etc. But I'm clueless about anything indoors...
    I've canceled engagement shoots due to poor weather, but this weekend I have a shoot that just can't be canceled. It's supposed to pour all weekend. So what do you do in this situation?
    The client suggested photographing in a museum, but I'm pretty sure that's not allowed (right?). I've asked politely at cafe's, bars and movie theaters and always got the go-ahead, but that was to just grab one or two shots in a location that is important to the couple - not for an entire shoot.
    I'm fine with being low key and not attracting attention, but I also don't want to do anything illegal!
    How do you handle this? Does anyone have a resource for finding out when/where a permit is needed? I've tried searching the forum (and portrait photography), but a lot of threads are outdated. I'm sure this is a really broad questions and probably a lot is specific from location to location, just looking for a bit of insight!
    I guess I'd like to know other's experiences with this and how they handle it? Thanks!
  2. Do you know anyone who might allow you to work in a church during times when their building is open but not holding programs? Some have nice foyers, fellowship areas, etc.
  3. What's wrong with rain?
    I'd love to do a shoot in the rain in New York. There are all kinds of amazing visual opportunities there. One of my favourite prints hanging at home was taken in the fifties in NY on a rainy day. As long as people are warm and comfortable (and have umbrellas) you've got a lot to work with - surely much more interesting than a generic 'this is us inside the museum' concept.
    Rain drops backlit by street lamps, puddles with neon glow, silhouetted couple under umbrella in car headlights.... it's like shooting fish in a barrel :) I'd rather have that to work with than a sunny day.
  4. Not really... I know a cafe owner that is ok to let me shoot there, but weekends they are jam packed!

    I should have also mentioned that I don't want to do
    studio-style photography. My preference is natural environement.
  5. What about by a window overlooking the city? Or in a cab? (that IS New York's natural environment, haha). Get creative, and you may find you're glad it rained. =)
    The permit thing shocks me. Never even considered it, but I'm in Indiana. Is that applicable everywhere?
  6. I'm pretty sure museums won't let you shoot. However, the coffehouses, etc., would work. If they are crowded, use the crowds as props. Besides the rain itself, as Neil suggests, what about the couple's own place? Or ask them how they met and where and use those. What about subways? Bus stops? Create a journey based on where they go often and shoot along the way.
  7. I'm okay with a little rain!! The couple needs a bit of convincing.

    Thanks for the great ideas. I love the cab idea, I've done wedding photos in a cab,
    but never engagement shoots! thanks.

    And yes, there are parks that require permits in NYC & the boroughs. They can be super strict about it, too!
  8. I was thinking about shooting at malls! They have such cool backgrounds like at the starbucks in the mall or even outside of certain malls. I'm going to give it a shot this winter ;)
  9. Please let us know how it goes!
  10. As far as I'm aware, malls are private property and will normally require a permit.
  11. Don't know what to do in NYC ? Hmmm.
    Cab it to the Village and have them walk with umbrellas ... all the lights and hubbub ... or maybe Little Italy.
    Call MOMA, the Guggenheim or the Frick and tell them you want to shoot some non flash images of your friends there.
    Times Square ... I've even seen wedding shoots being done there ... Bride and Groom at the tip of the traffic island with TS in the background.
    Take a tripod, set it up, have them kiss and hold still on a busy street and do a time exposure so all the traffic and pedestrians are blurred.
    Go early and get them in a window seat at a restaurant or coffee house and shoot from outside (I just did that in Chicago on the one of busiest weekends of the year ... Chicago Marathon).
    Getting a Pretzel or hot dog at a vendor wagon. Shots at the entrance to Central Park where there is always something going on. Horse drawn cab through Central Park. I've shoot that in the snow let alone the rain.
    On and on and on and on ... the possibilities are exceeded only by London and Paris IMO.
    Have a good shoot.
  12. Thanks everyone for the great ideas! I'm going to work on them re: shooting outside (they said, "but it's 40 degrees and pouring!"). I definitely think it could make for a beautiful shoot.
    I guess I didn't make my post clear. I was more curious about legalities and when/where permits were required. I know malls/big-named stores are totally out of the question (been asked to not take an engagement photo in a Starbucks window - me shooting outside, as well as Whole Foods...)

    I'm going to check with the museums above, but the Queens Museum of Art gave me a flat out no for a family shoot... just me, my camera, no flash.

    I was just curious if anyone had a bit of insight about legalities surrounding indoor spaces... I'm going to continue to research and if I pull anything up, I'll share!
  13. I don't know New York City, but any time I run across permit issues, such as at beach parks where you see the Golden Gate Bridge, basically, you can do it if you don't get caught. If you look like you're a professional, you are more likely to get caught. Risking it is up to you. Obviously if you risk it, you don't ask.
    In San Francisco, there is the Legion of Honor, which is a museum. The exterior has columns which are used probably around the clock by professionals and non professionals alike. Because it is covered, it's great for when it rains. Any weekend day, you will see limos lined up, and weddings parties waiting to take their turn. You gotta find the places like this in New York.
  14. If you do shots without asking permission it's essential to have the client in on it. If they are not comfortable, then it's a no go.
    Many stores and restaurants have a policy of no photos. If you look like a professional with a pro DSLR and diffused flash they descend on you. If you look like a tourist they usually leave you alone ... but not always.
    I do a fair amount of street photography type stuff for engagement work and you just have to be quick about it ... if you start posing people in a store, etc., they'll kick you out. But if the couple just walks into a Starbucks and has a seat in the window and you grab a few candid shots from outside it usually always works (hint: take a polarizer to cut window reflections). I even shoot inside coffeehouses ... but admittedly I am using a Leica M and only available light ... never a flash ... not everyone has or wants such a choice.
    What I found works the best is to just walk in to a place that may be special to the couple and tell the folks working there that this couple just got engaged and you are going to take some shots here because it's a special place to them ... never been turned down with that approach ... yet.
  15. I would use Grand Central Station. Huge - well lit and lots of great architecture and not that crowded on weekends. As to a permit.... I would (and have) gone with a couple to a location and get them to pretend that we are all 'friends' just hanging out and taking photos.. If an official was spotted watching us - I'd hand them the camera and have them pretend to shoot me (or me and my husband who came along to hold cameras). When we'd walk to another spot - the couple would hold one of the cameras as if it were theirs. They can't stop people from taking pics of each other as tourists. Trust me it works.
  16. PS - Hotel lobbies are also great for pictures.
  17. Yeah, GCS is a great location because of the clock which has appeared in movies as a romantic meeting spot. Security has gotten a bit tighter there since 911, but still doable as Mary suggests.
    Downstairs are great tiled arches and entrances to landmark restaurants. Have some oysters while you're there : -)
  18. Thanks everyone!
    In the end, the couple rescheduled (though I urged not to!) and it didn't rain... I ended up doing two other shoots in perfectly lit (beautifully overcast sky) conditions. I'll definitely keep the hotel lobby/GCS ideas in mind for next time!

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