Learning to hold space for every part of ourselves is hard, and sometimes I feel like creatives tend to shy away from it in hopes of giving their clients idealized images. I set out to take New Orleans engagement photos that show the whole truth of people’s experiences together. Megan, Hannah, and I decided to take their engagement at home. These images, captured in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, feel like raw, authentic, and deeply honest portraits of their love.
Engagement photos in New Orleans often show an idealized version of New Orleans and people’s relationships. It’s understandable! It’s easy to get swept away by the French Quarter’s charm. However, I don’t like to shy away from reality in couple’s sessions. To me, authentic New Orleans engagement photos should show the city’s magic and a couple’s current reality.
For Megan and Hannah’s engagement session, capturing their whole truth meant reckoning with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Some photographers might have been tempted to downplay or hide the damage in the neighborhood. Hannah and Megan didn’t want to do that, and I didn’t either. We agreed that being honest about life after a natural disaster only intensifies the moments of love and joy in these New Orleans engagement photos.
Instead of leaving this engagement session with a favorite image, I found that a pair of images side by side summed up everything we felt that day. It’s essentially the same shot from two perspectives. In one photo, Megan and Hannah stand in the doorway looking at the collapsed house across the street. The companion image shows them from the front, smiling and embracing each other. These photos give a fuller picture of what Megan and Hannah were thinking and feeling during their New Orleans engagement photos. It’s a more authentic reflection of their interior lives as well as their outward celebration of their love.
I was excited when Megan and Hannah decided that they wanted to take engagement photos at home. What better way to capture authentic, intimate scenes from a couple’s relationship? They were so comfortable the whole time, and their sweet pup got in on the fun.
Megan and Hannah currently live in the Central City neighborhood while Megan finishes up her last year of medical school. The couple met in New Orleans. Megan was drawn to Hannah’s smile on Tinder. She loved how, on their first date, Hannah talked with her hands and smiled with her eyes. For her part, Hannah was drawn to Megan’s easy-going personality and empathetic listening skills. Megan also impressed Hannah with her willingness to go salsa dancing on their second date!
This couple knows how to connect with joy and sincerity. When they’re together, even the small things are filled with so much happiness and laughter. They love each other’s quirks. Hannah’s insistence on reading cookbooks cover to cover charms Megan.
These engagement photos at home reflect so much of the humor and warmth in Megan and Hannah’s relationship. They make each other feel cared for exactly as they are. During this session, I was honored that they really let me into their world.
When Hannah and Megan entrusted me with their New Orleans engagement photos, they let me into the whole of their lives after Ida. These images show what it’s like to walk through joy and grief simultaneously. For many people, including Megan, Hannah, and me, that juxtaposition of grief over the devastation and gratitude for what remains has come to define our experiences. Inevitably, we’ve come to see what truly matters.
Instead of focusing on creating a “perfect” version of Hannah and Megan’s life, I got to take photos that reflect their life as it really is. They’ll be able to look at these pictures years from now and remember what living in New Orleans and loving each other looked like in that moment. That’s why I love doing New Orleans engagement photos in people’s neighborhoods. They tell a whole story – hardship, happiness, and all.
Would you like me to take your New Orleans engagement photos? I would love to capture honest images of your relationship. Reach out to me.