My DIY Engagement Photos

I have been with my fiancé, Josh, for over nine years. Sadly, he hates having his photo taken despite the fact that he's stunning (I know I'm biased, but it's true.) Photographing couples and engagements are my favorite subjects, and I have had it in my mind for years now that I would attempt to photograph my own engagement photos. I never bothered to tell Josh this of course, knowing he'd shy away from the idea. In fact, when we hired our wedding photographer (my super talented friend Michelle of Wandermore Photography) I let her know that we'd be forgoing an engagement session (I know, I know, this is typically not a good plan. Engagement sessions are the perfect time to become comfortable with your photographer and know that you'll love your images from your wedding day) - but in our defense, we're already friends and know we're in good hands. 

A few years ago, Josh and I were at Photoville and came across the Penumbra Foundation, a nonprofit photo studio specializing in tintypes. I made him promise me on the spot that when we were finally engaged, we would get a tintype done there for our save the dates. The day finally happened late last fall, and we had an amazing experience having our portrait taken. We were even invited into the darkroom to watch the image develop, it really was magical. 


Our tintype from Penumbra Foundation! 

Our tintype from Penumbra Foundation! 

Anyway, that brings us to today. It's Easter and it's 85* here in Brooklyn. I had it in my mind that Josh and I could go on a picnic or something fun at the beach. Then my mind wandered back to that challenge I had given myself years ago: attempting my own engagement photos. Josh and I agreed to go to Jacob Riis Park/Fort Tilden in the Rockaways. I nonchalantly told him that maybe I'd take some photos of us. I decided making it super casual was the best way to go about it. Neither of us dressed up, we were completely ourselves. We hiked along the water and abandoned fort, stopping along the way at places that inspired me. I used the self timer on my camera along with a tripod, and it was tricky! Josh was a team player and would let me take one or two shots at each place I wanted. I took no more than 10 images, and was pleased with 4 of them. Since the midday sun was so intense, I couldn't see the screen on the back of my camera, so I never truly knew if a photo worked or not, but I just rolled with it. 

Here are the images I'm proud of! 


Julie and Christina's Queer Guerrilla Wedding

On Saturday January 7th, I photographed the most gloriously offbeat wedding I've witnessed to date.

Back in 2015 I met Julie and Christian and later did a lovely picnic themed engagement session for them in Prospect Park. At our initial consultation, we hit it off instantly. We talked about our shared neighborhood, animals, art and inspiration. I remember asking Christina if they had a gender pronoun they preferred me to use and I'm pretty sure that gesture on my end sealed the deal for us to work together and become easy friends. They knew I respected them fully, and they could be themselves with me. I knew that since they're both artists, they would be a joy to work with and an honor to represent their relationship. 

Flashforward to the end of 2016: I received an email that after their long engagement, Julie and Christian decided they wanted to get married during the Obama administration. Like many queer couples, they felt concerned that their rights as a couple may be in jeopardy and wanted to enter into marriage during a presidency that they felt represented by. Because time was ticking away, they planned what they dubbed a guerrilla wedding to take place along the Chelsea Highline. I had never participated in anything like this before and was completely in to capture their day.

And so on January 7th 2016 a major snowstorm hit New York City. It was apparent that having an outdoor ceremony wasn't going to be a possibility, so in true guerrilla spirit, they decided to make due with their hotel room at The Jane. We had a first look in the amazingly quirky lobby of the hotel and made our way outside to seize the wild weather into a photo opportunity. When we returned from our expedition, their guests had all arrived in their hotel suite. All of their friends piled on the bed and lined up around the perimeter of the room and somehow managed to all fit - it was an amazing sight to see! 

Sam and Joe's Beacon Engagement Session

I will preface this by saying this isn't my typical engagement session. I love connecting with my clients and that's part of the beauty of my mission as a photographer, to learn about the couple's relationship and to portray it authentically. In this instance, I am photographing engagement portraits of my best friend of 25 years and her amazing fiancee. 

When Sam started dating Joe in 2012, I was ready for them to become engaged and have them in front of my camera then. I sensed in the beginning that these two were in it for the long haul and I'm so glad that is the case. When you know someone as well as Sam and I know each other, you only hope the highest for their choice in their significant other, and Joe has not disappointed anyone. 

Since Sam and Joe live in the Hudson Valley, it was important for them to have a local session. We decided that exploring Beacon would be an excellent backdrop. Sam is a photography professor at SUNY Orange, and Joe works there as well - the artsy vibe of Beacon suited them perfectly. 

In September, I will be their maid of honor, so I was thrilled to be able to do this session for them since I'll be busy on their big day. I suggested a handful of amazing photographer's for them to look at and I'm so excited that Sam chose Michelle over at Wandermore Photography to capture their wedding day! 

Sarah and Dan's Berkshire Wedding

One of the most exciting aspects of being a wedding photographer is traveling. On October 1st, 2016, I traveled to the Lennox Massachusetts to photograph Sarah and Dan's amazing wedding. Sarah was raised in the area, but she and Dan live in Brooklyn New York. Being from England, all of Dan's friend's and family crossed the Atlantic ocean to celebrate with the couple. These two are so charming and lovely together, it doesn't surprise me in the least that so many people would come far distances to be with them on their special day. 

Thank you to my second shooter, the very talented Kathryn Cooper
This wedding took place at the stunning Seven Hills Inn, Lenox Massachusetts. 

Dina and Rebecca's Surprise Proposal

When Dina contacted me saying she had devised an elaborate scheme to surprise her significant other, Rebecca, with a proposal, I knew I was intrigued. Through email, Dina let me in on her meticulously considered plan and we met day of to go over the details in person. The best part of the whole thing was that after the proposal happened, there was another surprise in store for Rebecca. Dina had arranged family members and friends from all over to meet at Krupa Grocery for a surprise engagement party. 

For about half an hour before the proposal was scheduled to happen, I stood in the woods in Prospect Park at our agreed upon location. I shooed people off of the dock that Dina designated as their spot, and stood at alert until they showed up. As I watched Dina get down on her knee it was amazing to see Rebecca's shocked and thrilled reaction. After the initial proposal, we took a walk to take portraits, then I left. As far as Rebecca knew I was going home, and her and Dina would go out for dinner to celebrate. 

In this time, I rushed to Krupa Grocery and helped all of the eager party goers to hide so Rebecca wouldn't see them as she approached. When the waitress escorted the couple to the backyard Rebecca had no idea what was in store. Seeing her face - yet again - shocked and thrilled was so special. Then to capture the immense love that blanketed Dina and Rebecca as they began the next chapter of their lives together was absolutely amazing. 

Shelby and Ed's Wedding

Shelby and Ed were married on June 25th, 2016 in Montgomery New York. My second shooter Jennifer Hockenberry and I had the best day watching such a happy and fun wedding unfold before our eyes! We were so thrilled to witness such a happy couple celebrate the coming together of their families. Some of my favorite details from the day include; Ed's son Jayden's break dancing moves, and Shelby's dad's AMAZING and perfectly restored '67 Oldsmobile as the newlywed car. Everything was so photogenic and perfect, and I am so honored to have captured these beautiful memories. 

The day didn't start so smoothly! Ed spent the morning at the local Urgent Care after loosing his voice completely. Amazingly he powered through! Jen and I met with them a few hours later, beginning with getting ready. Shelby and her closest ladies convened at her parent's home in Montgomery. Ed and his family were nearby at the Holiday Inn Express. Next we met for their first look at Winding Hills Park. I loved how Shelby and Ed stood back to back, hand in hand, still for a moment before their unveiling. Soon after immediate families arrived and we covered some group portraits. 

Next we drove down the road back to where Shelby got ready. I took advantage of the beautiful property and captured some more portraits. Soon after, we were on our way to Brick Reformed Church. I loved the warm, homey atmosphere and ambient light. Afterwards, Shelby and Ed packed into the '67 Oldsmobile and drove off to the reception venue, cheering as they sped off.

After the ceremony, the reception began further down the road at Spruce Lodge. As soon as we arrived the party started. The dance floor was immediately over powered by Jayden's ridiculous (and surprisingly talented) break dancing moves. The momentum never stopped. I particularly loved Shelby's sister Danielle's speech. She needs to consider standup. 

The night ended with a hilarious impromptu performance made by Shelby's cousin. The floor was packed with dancers clapping along to the music when suddenly the floor parted like the Red Sea - her cousin scooted down the floor, on his butt, somehow rhythmically! I was impressed. After dozens of weddings, I have never seen anything like it. 

Thank you to Shelby and Ed for trusting me to capture your amazing day. 

DJ and Photobooth services provided by DJ E Rock Entertainment.
Makeup by Meghan C. Esposito.




Frank and Joel's PFO Engagement Session

Photographers for Orlando is a fundraising collective of photographers from all over the world that are donating sessions, pro bono to LGBTQ members and their allies in exchange for donations to victims of the Pulse Orlando massacre. We support and If you haven't read about it yet, you can check out our website at

Through my original Queer Exchange NYC post on Facebook, I connected with Frank and Joel, a newly engaged couple from Manhattan. Frank was one of the first to message me expressing interest and gratitude in my offer to pay-it-forward to members of the LGBTQ community. We exchanged plans to meet up last Saturday, and much to my delight, he and Joel donated to each of the charities that PFO supports. 

When we met at a coffee shop near the Highline, the first thing I noticed were the garment bags. It turns out that Frank is a lead visual merchandiser for Neiman Marcus as well as a venue manager for Mens Fashion Week. Already impeccably dressed, I was thrilled to see what options he supplied for our session. 

Upon meeting Joel, I was struck by his cool demeanor and put togetherness. Joel is an accomplished musical theater composer in his own right. Together, these two are a powerhouse of creativity. 

As we discussed their relationship, I learned that they became engaged abroad in Paris while they traveled for Joel's participation in a concert for Broadway Au Carré. Joel told me that he knew he wanted to propose to Frank in Paris, and brought rings with him. Intuitive, he decided to wait to see if the moment arose. While Joel worked at the event, Frank explored the city. One evening, when they reunited, Frank expressed his excitement over finding Coco Chanel's apartment. Sensing the moment, Joel encouraged Frank to bring him there. Upon their arrival, Joel found himself proposing, dropping to the ground in front of the apartment. 

What struck me the most about these two was their ability to be so totally in sync. Whether they were goofing off or posing in the most perfect way, they were on the same page. I know that their life together will be full of beauty, creativity, and most of all, tremendous love. 

If you are interested in following either of them, both are active in their fields on social media. You can find Frank and his mens style feed on tumblr at ManYourFashion, Instagram at ManYourStyle and Twitter at Man_Your_Style
To hear his music and more, please visit




First Photographers for Orlando Session - B&C

To preface this post, I need to explain what Photographers for Orlando is. If you haven't already visited our website, or heard about it online, it is a fundraising movement in the portrait photography world. PFO members are donating their skills pro-bono, in trade for donations that support the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre. We support as well as Equality Florida's GoFundMe campaign. Currently, we are a collective of over 120+ photographers, from over 30 states, and 5 countries. Our mission is simple, to fundraise for the victims in Orlando, while supporting our LGBTQ* friends and allies. 

On Tuesday June 14th, I was depressed, frustrated about the events in Orlando days earlier, angry that assault weapons were easily accessible to someone the FBI had been keeping tabs on. As I scrolled through my Facebook feed, I noticed an outcry from my queer friends. They were asking for support, voicing their fear and emotions. I immediately wrote to a handful of my friends, letting them know I had been thinking of them. As I checked in with people, I felt the urge to do something in honor of them and the LGBTQ* community. I decided to offer my services to LGBTQ* members in my local Queer Exchange Facebook group, free of charge. The next morning, I woke up to a ton of support, inquiries, and interest. It was here that Photographers for Orlando was born. 

One of the first emails I received was from a young woman named Bailey. She expressed interest in having me photograph her and her girlfriend of 5 years, Cassy. On Saturday, while photographers from around the world added their names to the spreadsheet that would lead to our database, I was meeting with Bailey and Cassy in my Brooklyn neighborhood. 

As they approached, I noticed they were smiling and holding hands. They looked so content and confident as they crossed the street to the cafe where I waited for them. We talked about how the two met at college, their professions (both teachers!) and how they've felt in the wake of what happened in Florida. Cassy was raised in the neighborhood, Bailey moved to the East Coast more recently. They met at school in Chicago, about half way between where they both grew up. I was impressed by them both individually and as a couple. We set to work.

We started out walking along Prospect Park West, heading north. We detoured to Cassy's childhood block, and continued on to Grand Army Plaza. Stopping at the fountain, the ladies noticed a beautiful rainbow refracting from the water; they celebrated. Finally we stopped at Brooklyn Public Library's main branch. Cassy and Bailey cozied up and were clearly very comfortable among books. Before we said goodbye, big hugs happened and new friendships made. 


Emily and Phil's DUMBO Engagement

I'd like to start out by saying Emily and Phil are just plain awesome. When Emily first emailed me in regards to scheduling their engagement session she blatantly asked for "non-cheesy engagement photos." This line utterly spoke to me; clearly we were meant to be. The three of us met for a beer in their neighborhood to discuss their vision. I could see right away these two were goofy, real, and totally in love. I couldn't wait for our Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO adventure. 

Day of, we started at their apartment and took a walk to the promenade. From there, we walked down to DUMBO and had a blast hanging out by the gorgeous murals and in front of all the iconic sights. Emily and Phil were particularly thrilled with Deborah Kass's OY sculpture, which Gothamist advised against engagement photos with, but we ignored their advice much to our pleasure (seriously, we got the quintessential Brooklyn mood with OY and balloons, argue that Gothamist!) 

Overall, we are all thrilled with the end result, and I am psyched for their wedding in DC in March 2017! Thanks for finding me Emily and Phil - you two rock! 

Rose Wedding

On May 26th 2016, Rebecca and Zach celebrated their wedding in Brooklyn New York. I began the day by covering Rebecca getting ready alongside her mother, cousins, and friends. Next I traveled a few blocks to Prospect Park where Zach was eagerly awaiting their first look.  When Rebecca approached him, and he turned around, Zach's face said it all. We spent a bit of time walking through the park together before heading to Brooklyn Bridge Park for family formals. At Brooklyn Bridge Park, all of the extended family met us to be photographed along the sweeping skyline. Finally we made it to the venue, DUMBO Loft, to sign their ketubah and celebrate their beautiful ceremony. 

Wedding dress, Mina Gown from BHLDN
Bridal hair accessories, Epona Valley
Wedding venue, The DUMBO Loft

Makeup, Mariela Sciandra, Instagram @marielasciandra


Hair by Maryam Asamm Beauty



Sarah and Dan's Snowy Engagement Session!

At our consult last summer, Sarah expressed that she would love to have her engagement session at Prospect Park in the snow. All season, I kept this in mind, privately stressing over how mild our winter had been. In late January, nearly a year to the date from their engagement, Brooklyn was hit by Winter Storm Jonas; blanketing Prospect Park in over two feet of snow! Sarah, Dan and I jumped at this opportunity and used the fresh storm to create the perfect wintery background for their session. Magically, almost a year before, they became engaged when Dan proposed in snowy Prospect Park. We reminisced about their day and celebrated the beauty of our surroundings. I had a blast standing in snow up to my knees, capturing this gorgeous couple during our time together. 

Thank you Dan and Sarah for a wonderful afternoon! I am so eager for your October wedding - see you in the Berkshires! 

Elena and Justin's Catskill Wedding!

In late July, I had the pleasure of photographing one of the most picturesque weddings I've yet to attend. Justin and Elena were able to get ready without seeing each other in a massive, lofty bed and breakfast. To begin their ceremony, Elena was escorted by her brother on a trail that led behind the ceremony site, creating a wonderful entrance. Their nuptials were rich in Jewish cultural tradition, which trickled into their festive reception. The love, the natural beauty of both the couple and their venue, and the laid back attitude of their friends and family was both touching and memorable. Congratulations Elena and Justin!

Venue, Hellbrook Farms.
Catering, The Would Restaurant
Hair stylist, Valentino Longo of Privé By Laurent D, NYC. 
Makeup, Claire Bayley

Claudia and JW's Bookstore Engagement Session

For years I've wanted to use a library or a bookstore as a backdrop for a portrait session. Earlier this summer when I consulted with Claudia and JW they made my dream a reality. Both of them are academics and love books, so when I asked them where they'd like to shoot their engagement session I was overjoyed when they suggested Unnameable Books in Prospect Heights. In addition to their amazing taste for this shoot, they are getting married at The Knitting Factory in Williamsburg this October. I am so appreciative of their offbeat sensibilities and can't wait to see them again!

Thank you so much to the staff at Unnameable Books for being so amiable and accommodating for this session - you guys are amazing!

Sarah and Paul's Greenpoint Brooklyn Engagement Session

Greenpoint Brooklyn. The Manhattan skyline. A pet tortoise named Boris. Two perfectly quirky people crazy in sync with one another. Last Sunday, I spent a gorgeous afternoon photographing Sarah, Paul and their aforementioned pet Boris. We traipsed around Greenpoint at our leisure, taking in the scenery and enjoying the lovely spring weather. We dropped by McCarren Park, followed by the newly minted WNYC Transmitter Park, and then moved northward along the Greenpoint waterfront. To say that I'm pumped for their June 5th wedding at Greenpoint Loft is an understatement - stay tuned next month to see the outcome of what promises to be an amazing wedding! 

The Knot's Bridal Fashion Week

Last Sunday, along with my friend Shana Schnur, I photographed Maggie Sottero's runway show at The Knot's Bridal Fashion Week. It's been years since I had the opportunity to photograph a catwalk, and to have it be a fashion show for an amazing bridal collection was perfectly up my alley. 

If anyone has inquiries to see my entire photo collection for republishing, please email me at jenna (dot) salvagin (at) gmail (dot) com

 Jenna Salvagin Photography

Jolene at Coney Island

Some people move with the wind, others stay stagnant. Jolene does what she wants, when she wants, wherever that is. When you have a close friend that comes and goes, you learn to accept that for what it's worth, and find the beauty in their comings and goings. For now, Jolene is based in Brooklyn, just down the street from me. If you looked at her past over the last few years, you may have found her in Oakland California, Seattle Washington, or even in New York City. As I write this, she is in Los Angeles - and I only photographed her three days ago. That is how it goes with her. At some point during our shoot, Jolene sighed and said, "I'm so glad to be home." While I credit her gypsy nature, I love having her around, and am thrilled to have captured her in her personal description of home. 

Wes and Dawn's DC Wedding!

On Saturday January 31st, I photographed an elegant wedding reception at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington DC. Bride Dawn and her groom Wes were married in a small court house ceremony during the fall, and threw a magnificent reception to celebrate their union. In the enormous bridal suite, Dawn got ready surrounded by her daughters. For their first look, Dawn and Wes met at the entrance to the bridal suite, in a lovely domed room with faux sky ceiling. We took formal photos in the amazing grand hall way of the hotel, then went upstairs to the mezzanine for cocktail hour. Upon their entrance into the Promenade Ballroom, Wes and Dawn performed an elaborate dance in perfect unison. The entire evening was a wonderful testament to the couples fun loving energy and grace. 

Vendor include:

Jimmy Reilly, event coordinator for The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel.  

Hair was done by Samuel from Serenity Spa202-953-5800 

Makeup was done by Eman,  202-243-9436

DJ services were provided by DJ Bob Artman.


Wintery Weekend

For the first time in what feels like forever, I was lucky enough to escape New York City and venture north to the Hudson Valley and the Catskills. I've become increasingly inspired by the snowy landscape late January offered me in Brooklyn and decided to create some work just because. If anything, this weekend served to be both an escape and a moment to appreciate taking photos because I wanted to. I hope you enjoy! 1X9A2617 1X9A2625 1X9A2629 1X9A2635 1X9A2647 1X9A2652 1X9A2655 1X9A2657 1X9A2663 1X9A2670

A Winter Mini Session!

After crazy meteorological reports, New York City was pretty much stopped at a halt today for Winter Storm Juno. With the lack of reliable public transportation, us Brooklynites were stuck home with only 6" of snow on the ground. Despite the predicament, I was inspired by the snowfall and had to take advantage of the lovely backdrop. Today I photographed my great friends Ashley and Brett in our neighborhood of South Slope Brooklyn. We walked along Green-Wood Cemetery with their pit mix Mason while enjoying the winter weather. Only two blocks from our shared block, we found beautiful scenic places to stop and take photos.

My mini session rates are $250 for up to one hour - please email me at to check my availability!

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Bernadette and Anthony's Wedding!

When I photographed Bernadette and Anthony's engagement session earlier this year, I quickly learned that these two share an adventurous spirit and thirst for the outdoors. Their wedding on Friday, October 17th, perfectly exemplified their mutual love of nature and excitement. Set at beautiful Hunter Mountain in upstate New York, wedding guests and the party itself all made their way to the ceremony site - 3,200 feet above sea level - via the ski lift! Up on top of the mountain, with the fall foliage as a magnificent backdrop, the two tied the knot. Back down at regular elevation, a fabulous party followed at the Copper Tree Restaurant where DJ Lee Waddell kept the dance floor hopping.

Congratulations to Bern and Ant, may your lives be full of blue skies, lush landscapes and adventure together!

Floral arrangements were made by Teddi's Flower Shoppe in Catskill New York.

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