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This Photographer Is NYC’s Best-Kept Secret

All the warm fuzzies of a friendor in one super professional package

Earlier this year, I was at an event for wedding vendors where a panel of engaged and newlywed couples relayed the true-life details of their wedding planning experience—you could hear a pin drop in that room, bless wedding vendors, and their intense desire to make all your lives easier. When asked how they chose their photographer, one couple responded:

We knew whoever we chose was going to be glued to our side all wedding day long, so the photographers who stood out were the ones whose responses sounded like a friendship application.

Ooooh, yasss, it me. And if that also sounds like you, then you want to work with The L.O.V.E. Club member Lily Szabo.

Two women in wedding dresses stand by a wall and embrace.WHO: Lily Szabo Photography

WHERE: Based in NJ, and serving the greater NYC area and Philadelphia areas (New Jersey, NYC, Long Island, Westchester, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania) for free, and beyond.

HOW MUCH: Standard wedding packages begin at $3,200 and go up from there depending on add-ons like additional hours, second photographer, engagement sessions, photo-booth, or albums. Elopements and tiny wedding packages start at $750 and can be customized depending on your event and needs.

PLUS! Lily Szabo is offering a complimentary engagement session with any package booked from now until November 15th, 2019.

WHY YOU WANT TO WORK WITH HER, TL:DR: One of the unbelievably delightful perks of running The L.O.V.E. Club means I get to {virtually} hang out with members like Lily. So I can personally say that, yes, she is in fact the kind of wedding vendor you want to be friends with. And more than that, she’s the kind of experienced, organized, responsive, communicative, talented-AF photographer who could probably get away with charging twice what she does. Plus, you know, she takes photos that look like this:

A wedding couple hold a dog and hug it.A wedding couple stand and hug at sunset near a reflecting pond. A group of sweaty men dance with 1 finger in the air during a wedding reception.A woman fixes a man's bow tieA bride and groom finish their wedding ceremony.The long version, in Lily Szabo’s words:

I don’t remember how I found APW but I do know why I fell in love with it! It’s so important to me to work with companies that show ALL couples, and I love that anyone can look at APW and see themselves—and I don’t mean buried somewhere several clicks deep, I mean right there on the front page. APW couples also always have super cool ideas, even in the most traditional of settings, and I absolutely love helping folks make that a reality. My couples love that I’m laid back but organized and super efficient—on a wedding day I am equal parts timeline coordinator, family wrangler, stress-reducer and, yes, photo taker! Moms LOVE me, haha. One bride even called me her “second maid of honor.”

I always tell my couples that when they look back on their wedding day, on the most intimate of moments, it’s the two of them and…ME. Seriously. Your photographer is there with you pretty much every moment so I’m a really firm believer in my business motto of “Let’s be friends.” If we don’t click, that’s okay, I’m always happy to refer you to someone whom you may connect with more. My goal is that when I show up on a wedding day, my couples know my dogs, I know their favorite pizza spot and we’ve been sending each other weird Instagram posts for months. I really pride myself on being a photographer for people who hate having their photo taken and by building up that level of trust and comfort leading up to the wedding day photos end up being something actually enjoyable rather than dreaded.

Lily isn’t exaggerating—by all accounts, she can even wrangle literal donkeys into incredible portraits, so she’s also game for a midsummer mountaintop wedding with a skylift instead of an aisle and an officiant and flower girls wearing matching fairy wings. And gorgeous pictures of the glam-est picnic-BBQ-Lord of the Rings inspired wedding you’ve ever seen are a piece of cake.

A man and woman walk with donkeys on their wedding day.A man and woman pose on their wedding day.

STREET CRED:

I’m not usually one to write online reviews… but you *need* Lily Szabo at your wedding. We hired Lily for ours – a small family ceremony we’d quickly thrown together to ensure my elderly grandmother would be able to see us married. Having Lily there was hands-down the best planning decision we made:

I realized, after I’d gotten dressed, that I had forgotten to tell my husband that I wanted to do a first look – he didn’t even know what a “first look” was. Lily told me not to worry. She ran downstairs, figured out which one he was (they’d never met!), explained everything to him, and positioned him in a beautiful spot. And the first look was perfect! She made the somewhat-nice-local-park next to our venue look like a total fairytale. We were worried posing for pictures would be awkward – and my husband balked when I told him we’d spend an hour doing it before the ceremony – but the time flew by because we were having so much fun. Lily made it feel so natural.

After the photos, I was getting ready for the ceremony when I looked down and realized all our walking around on the damp ground had left mud on the hem of my wedding dress. I was ready to walk down the aisle hoping that no one would notice, but Lily immediately took me into the bathroom, grabbed towels, and began skillfully cleaning my dress. In that moment, she was so much more than just a wedding photographer – and that was so representative of how she approached the day. She knew exactly how to make it perfect. (And yes, she managed to get all the mud out!)

Lily knew the names of all of my family members, and had asked me about everyone’s relation to us beforehand so that she could make sure we got every group photo we needed. She took our posed photographs, but also captured beautiful, fun candid moments, like a little cousin’s expression as he reached to clink glasses during a toast, and people hugging each other to keep warm outside in the cold. She impressed everyone. When my guests reminisce about my wedding, they always add, “and your photographer was incredible!” Lily’s photography is so, so, so beautiful. I recommend checking out her stunning Instagram to see what she can do. – Shaina

A man and woman kiss on their wedding day.A couple kiss on their wedding day while surrounded by camping tents.A man and woman embrace while pink smoke floats around them.A wedding couple smile and laugh on their wedding day as the wind blows.

WHAT NOW: 

Given that Lily Szabo has seriously affordable-for-NYC rates, will have your back before/during/after your wedding, and takes the kind of photos that make even sweaty fist-pumping drunk guys look surprisingly epic—I’d say, uh, go shoot Lily a message before the secret is out. (And if you’re not quite ready to be friends just yet, here’s her IG so you can go follow her and her adorable kiddo and pup, because she belongs on your to-email list.)

For more info on working with Lily—click here to see pricing and receive a personalized quote, or enter your email address and she’ll be in touch:

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