From The E-Shoot To The Re-Shoot - Shephali and Junior's Engagement Session and Wedding

I first met Shephali at her friends' Pro and and Jean's wedding, which I was also fortunate enough to photograph. Not too long after that, Junior finally popped the question, and she began planning her own wedding. And, a year ago, she messaged me on Facebook to inquire about us shooting her wedding. 

During our initial meeting, we immediately got a great vibe going, and obviously from the content you see here, she booked us. One of the interesting things I recall from our meeting was when she asked, "So, I know you saw that we got engaged. I'm curious why you didn't ask if we needed your services. I had so many people hit me up and asking if we needed this or that for the wedding."

I didn't really think about it before she asked, but I actually I've never went out and asked someone, "Hey, I see you're engaged. Hit me up if you need photos." I always wait until someone contacts me themselves. For one, it already shows that they're interested. And also, honestly, I'm much better at the artsy stuff than the business-y salesman stuff. I guess I've always been like this. I never asked Sasha for her number. I waited until she gave it to me herself! Don't let her tell you otherwise.

A day before their engagement shoot, I put out an "ad" on Facebook looking for an assistant. I didn't mention who the couple was, but it turned out that I got a response from their good friend, Siva. We kept it as a surprise for them until right before the shoot. I pretty much forgot that I was hired for this, because the four of us just joked all day about anything and everything. And, I mean everything, as Junior will tell you himself that he has absolutely no filter. He's legitimately one of the funniest dudes I've ever met, and it's hard to keep a straight face around him.

A few months later, the wedding at the Hanover Mariott was finally here, and it was a gorgeous affair decorated by Rangoli Weddings. Shephali and Junior's jaws almost literally dropped when they saw the mandap and the reception setup. The lovely couple was decked out in their beautiful outfits designed by the talented Deepak Lakhani and Sonia C did a fabulous job with the makeup. The coordinator, Teresa Gaspar, was phenomenal! Whenever we needed something, she got it DONE and done quickly. DJ Raj Gandhi is one of the best emcees we worked with, and he and his DJ team kept the party going until the last second.

This was definitely one of the best weddings we've ever shot aesthetically and from personal level as well. I had a number of friends as guests, and of course, I work with my closest people. Sasha De Silva and Saad Rahman did a tremendous job on the cinematography, and Yeahia Ahmed was a super, super clutch last minute addition to the team. He's a tremendous talent and I'm happy to call him one of my best friends now.

This blog post featuring this amazing couple has a little bit of everything - snow, waterfalls, smoke, teary-eyed emotions, a rowdy party, surprise performances, broken glass on the dance floor, and even a little booty grabbing. It was even shot on cameras from all three major camera brands - Canon, Nikon, and Sony. Enjoy!

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Gokce and Mert's Engagement Session and Engagement Party

I always say that I don't work for any couples, but I work with them. A successful shoot is truly a collaborative experience. Gokce and Mert came ready to do their part. These are the type of couples that truly get the best out of me. They are professional, thoughtful, gorgeous, and super fun! They came in to Central Park with a lot of great ideas, and we had a terrific time shooting with them.

They were real troopers, as they got up super early for this sunrise session. Even though it would mean her session would go longer than my engagement sessions normally are, Gokce very nicely asked me if we could stay just a bit longer to get some shots on the Central Park rowboats, and I obliged them.

Two days later, they were officially engaged at their engagement event at the Chart House in Weehawken, New Jersey. It was an intimate affair with great attention to detail. Gokce did a terrific job planning a beautiful event. They're set to get married in May, and I can imagine it will be even more beautiful!

Adil and Anika's One Year Anniversary Shoot

When Anika reached out to me about her and Adil's anniversary shoot, I knew we would all have a great time working together. If you have any of them on Facebook, you know they're a fun couple. Adil's one heck of a prankster, and the pranks he pulls on his wife and records for our enjoyment, are some of the funniest things to pop up on my Facebook feed.

We had a great time strolling through the South Street Seaport, and then taking a water taxi to Red Hook. I was dying to get a few shots on the water taxi itself, and I knew it would depend on the security personnel on the vehicle. Luckily, the people we got were pretty chill, and we got to snap a few frames by the edge of the boat.

I've shot in this area in Red Hook before, and it's a great place to shoot that's not too busy. Most people are shocked that you can make nice images from a place that is essentially the parking lot of an Ikea. We used our surroundings as best we could to incorporate them into our shots and had a fun time shooting here. They were really wonderful to work with, and it turned out to be one of my favorite portrait sessions to date.

Julie and Adam's Fire Island Wedding

Julie and Adam's wedding story featured on Huffpost Weddings: http://tinyurl.com/gqn5o7o

Lead Photographer: Aaron Rahman
Second Photographer: Fahad Malik
Lead Videographer: Sasha De Silva
Second Videographer: Saad Rahman
Hair and Makeup Artist: Sidney Marie Vargas (https://www.instagram.com/sidneythehairstylist/)
DJ: Rob Mantegazza

We met Julie and Adam for their engagement shoot a few months prior to their wedding, and they were an absolute blast to work with. Think marinas, boats, laughter, and margaritas, which were exceptionally hand-made by Adam himself. This is exactly how we love our engagement shoots to work out. It was a casual and fun affair, and we all got comfortable with each other very quickly. 

Little did we know that as comfortable as we were for their e-session, we would be just as uncomfortable for their wedding. It’s not that they did anything differently. They were both as insanely likable as they always were with us. But, Adam and Julie are all about the beach - self-proclaimed “Long Island Beach Bums.” A beach wedding meant that the weather could be a huge factor, and boy was it ever. 

As ceremony time approached, the sky was getting darker and darker. The storm was approaching. I conferred with Adam many times before the ceremony started. We agreed that if it got too bad, we would relocate the ceremony to the reception venue just a few minutes away. We prepared for the rain by having some plastic garbage bags to wrap around our cameras. While we do use professionally “weather sealed” Canon bodies, “weather sealed” certainly does not mean “weather proof.” 

Right before the ceremony started we could see the storm clouds in some of the portraits we took of Julie, Adam, and especially the bridal party. It was pretty surreal. The winds were gusting at least 30 mph. One of our umbrellas for our lights literally blew away, and we had to adjust as best we could. I looked over at Adam, waiting for him to let me know if we were still going ahead as planned. He gave me the go-ahead, and we began shooting. 

Ask any professional wedding photographer, and they will tell you how hectic a wedding day can get. Add a storm into the mix, and all hell can break loose, and it did. Torrential rain started falling down on the entire wedding party, and in the midst of the chaos, we weren’t able to grab our plastic bags in time. The ceremony was live, and we had to shoot it. After trying to make it through the entire ceremony, it just became too much for anyone to handle. We all ran for reception venue to relocate, and we were all soaking wet.

The rain had a devastating impact on us, as I quickly found out how much punishment our camera bodies could take. The unthinkable started to happen. Our cameras were soaking wet, and they wouldn’t be fully functional until much later. We had six cameras on hand and at some points only two or three were fully working. The reason we had so many is because we were shooting both photos and video, and we always have extra backup cameras on hand for emergencies. This certainly was an emergency, and I’m so glad that we had backups of just about everything. We weren’t the only vendors affected, as the DJ lost power for some time, and the photo booth crew’s equipment were damaged as well.

Some of my colleagues like to joke with me about me bringing everything I own to a wedding. I pretty much do, and I’m glad I did this day. We needed pretty much everything we had to be able to shoot the rest of the wedding, and I needed the support of every member of my team, who I am extremely thankful for. My team members consist of my girlfriend, my brother, and my best friend, so it certainly helps to have the people you trust the most in the most dire of situations.

Just by looking at the images, you might not be able to tell exactly how chaotic it got for the wedding party or for us. We care so deeply about our couples, and I did get pretty emotional at one point thinking how much distress the weather would cause Julie and Adam. But, those fears were unfounded. By the end of the night, everyone forgot about the rain, and danced the night away. Every single time I saw Julie smile and laugh, I felt a sense of relief - for us and for them.

Even if we shoot a thousand more weddings, Julie and Adam's wedding will be an experience that will easily still sit at the top of the "Most Memorable" list. Mother Nature had her way with all of us on this day. The storm forced our entire team to make some incredibly difficult decisions, but it couldn't stop us from celebrating this awesome couple.