It’s been over a decade since I’ve visited Penn State. But as it is for most 20-something out-of-towners who visit, it’s a very hazy (but probably awesomely fantastic) experience. Legend has it, State College becomes the 4th largest city in Pennsylvania on game days, mostly due to the fact it’s currently home to the second largest stadium in the Western Hemisphere. Luckily for us, Lauren & Ben’s engagement session took place a day before game day – so no definitely tailgating for us :).

Lauren and Ben play around  the Old Main Lawn during their engagement session at Penn State. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session at Penn State. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session at Penn State. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session at Penn State. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session at Penn State. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session at Penn State. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session at Penn State. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session at Penn State. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Silhouette of couple dancing at sunset during their engagement session at Penn State. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.

The whole ironic part of me being-a-photographer-thing is that I really don’t have many photos of myself. Part of the reason is because I’m behind the camera 99% of the time. The other 1%? Well, I’m usually just making some sort of strange, contorted face in an effort to be as unnatural as possible – mostly because I seriously don’t know how to conduct myself properly when a camera’s pointed in my general direction. But believe it or not, I recently discovered that I wasn’t the only one with this…well, affliction (for lack of a better term, but probably minus the whole strange, contorted face thing). Because I work in one of the largest media markets in the world, I’ve come across many other folks who also spend a majority of their time behind the camera, and not in front of it – as a result, it’s a bewildering experience when cameras start pointing towards their general direction.

But I’d probably like to add, it’s always a bewildering experience hanging out with yours truly, period (with or without my cameras!).

Veronica and EJ are two such individuals who spend most of their days behind a camera. For their engagement session in Queens, we kept it simple: just these two lovebirds and the most adorable puppy in the whole wide world!

Dog looks into camera during an engagement session in Queens, NY. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in Queens, NY. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in Queens, NY. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in Queens, NY. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in Queens, NY. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in Queens, NY. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in Queens, NY. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in Queens, NY. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in Queens, NY. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.

 

Despite having spent a good quarter of my life here in NJ, I’m still amazed with all the hidden gems that we encounter during the shooting season. Besides being known for our turnpike/parkway, our boardwalks, and a certain full-figured governor, we’re a state made up of quaint little towns with cute storefronts and outdoor seating areas where visitors can enjoy the local flavors of beer and ice cream (though not necessarily in that order, or at the same time). Clinton is one such town in NJ, which served as the perfect backdrop for Karen & Ryan’s engagement session.

As many of my friends and clients will tell you, I firmly believe that when you can’t decide on something – pick everything. As long as there’s enough time, enough room in your tummy or enough space in your bag, try to fit as much as you humanly can. There’s no greater regret than always wondering the “what ifs” later down the road. In this instance, I’m thoroughly convinced that Karen shares these sentiments as well (which made us the perfect match for them as their wedding photographers!). Exhibit A: Her engagement session prop bag. Goodness gracious. I never thought it’d ever be possible to fit all of Pinterest into one bag, but this girl did it.

Rock on, girl :).

Central Jersey Engagement Session. Captured by Central Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.
Central Jersey Engagement Session. Captured by Central Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.
Central Jersey Engagement Session. Captured by Central Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.
Karen & Ryan embrace during their engagement session in Central NJ. Captured by Central Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.
Central Jersey Engagement Session. Captured by Central Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.
Central Jersey Engagement Session. Captured by Central Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.
Central Jersey Engagement Session. Captured by Central Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.
Central Jersey Engagement Session. Captured by Central Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.
Central Jersey Engagement Session. Captured by Central Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.
Central Jersey Engagement Session. Captured by Central Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.

Much to the relief of many New Jersians, we experienced a rather mild Summer this past year. This was especially great news for our couples getting married down the shore. Sand between your toes is one thing; piping hot sand between your toes is entirely another :). Luckily for Ann Marie and Jim, we got more of the former than the latter. These two lovebirds celebrated their nuptials at The Mill at Spring Lake Heights, a beautiful wedding venue boasting a lake-front view with all sorts of wonderful fauna and flora. Their day started nearby at the Hewitt Wellington, a sprawling Victorian Mansion just three blocks away from the renowned Jersey Shore.

St. Catherines Church in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding jewelry and wedding shoes for a wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding bouquet and invitations on the morning of a wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Bride gets ready on the morning of a wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Bride gets ready on the morning of a wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Groom portraits on the morning of his wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Groom portraits on the morning of his wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Groom portraits on the morning of his wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Bride gets ready on the morning of a wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Flower girl and ring bearer on the morning of a wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Bride walks to church on the morning of her wedding in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
St. Catherines Church in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Flower girl notices the camera during a wedding ceremony at St. Catherines Church in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding ceremony at St. Catherines Church in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Bride and groom share a kiss outside of their church on the morning of their wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Bride and groom share a kiss outside of their church on the morning of their wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding photos in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding photos in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding photos in a trolley around Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding photos in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Decor at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding mason jar and escort cards for a wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding centerpieces and menu for a wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding cake for a wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding photobooth and wedding hashtag for a wedding at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Bride and groom make a grand entrance during their wedding reception at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Guests dancing during a wedding reception at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Guests dancing during a wedding reception at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Guests dancing during a wedding reception at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.
Wedding coozie at a Jersey Shore wedding reception. Captured by North Jersey wedding photographers at Ben Lau Photography.

Ceremony: St. Catharine Church Spring Lake, NJ // Venue/Catering: The Mill, Spring Lake Heights, NJ // Hair: Pink Comb // Make-up: Bekah Wortmann // Dress: Olia Zavozina // Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Groom’s attire: Hugo Boss // Jewelry: BHLDN // Floral/Décor: Narcissus Florist Toms River, NJ // Entertainment: Daddy Pop // Stationery: Yes I DO Invitations Hoboken, NJ

“It’s not vandalism if the rain washes it away, right?” Lauren asked as she scribbled her giant pink chalk onto a concrete wall.  “It’s only vandalism if you get caught.” I corrected her, while handing her a giant piece of black chalk. In a neighborhood where untainted walls are just about as rare as parking spots, I was willing to test my chances. If you really think about it, every party has a friend who coaxes you to stay out a little longer, to have another drink, or sing another song. These special individuals are called the enablers (of awesomely good times). And during Lauren & Ari’s engagement session in the Meatpacking District that afternoon, I was the Enabler Supreme – with Karis as our Co-Enabler (read: getaway driver). Luckily for us, a high-speed chase on the West Side Highway did NOT ensue :).

Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Engagement session in the Meatpacking District and High Line Park. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.