Asbury Park, New Jersey - Engagement Session with Melissa & Gonçalo

Choosing a setting for Melissa & Gonçalo’s engagement session was a breeze, as was this chilly spring day in Asbury Park, NJ. The colder weather was unexpected, but we wouldn’t let that stop us. We spent golden hour shooting some photos and videos along the Asbury Park boardwalk. We then changed their look for some awesome images we took at the newly built The Asbury Hotel.

Their story is as beautiful as these images.

Melissa & Gonçalo met as children in Leiria, Portugal. Melissa was the “American girl” who visited the country every summer, and Gonçalo had eyes for her from the beginning. They longed for the days each summer, when Melissa would return to Moita do Boi to rekindle with her Portuguese friends and family, and it was as if she had never left. Knowing that a long term relationship would be difficult (especially pre-smartphone), they agreed that it wasn’t the right time to pursue this.

Many years later, thanks to the advancement of technology and a better level of maturity and life experience, they pursued a formal relationship that began long distance. Gonçalo then made the move from Portugal to the United States to start a new life with his true love. It wasn’t an easy move, as the American culture and lifestyle was a complete switch from his small-town, relaxed life in Europe. The move was made easy thanks to the help of Melissa’s family and friends, who welcomed Gonçalo with open arms and helped him adapt smoothly.

After a few of years of hard work and the drive for the American dream, Melissa and Gonçalo purchased a home in Clark, New Jersey. This was a major step in their relationship, as they learned the responsibility of being home owners.

Gonçalo proposed to Melissa in their home, amongst family and friends, in December. They are to be married in Portugal in the summer of 2020. 

I took a different approach with this session, as I opted out of relying on my artificial lights. The natural sunlight breaking through the late afternoon clouds was just gorgeous. The color and vibrance was ideal and it would have been a sin to tarnish with flash. Asbury Park is just perfect in the late afternoon.

Blue hour (the time just after the sun passes the horizon) was spent around the grounds of The Asbury Hotel, a fresh venue that mixes modern design with classic colors that beautifully represent this beach town. They are also great for hosting weddings! I did use a light for the last part of this session, but very minimally.

If you love these images, I’d love to know! Feel free to reach out with your thoughts. If you’re a photographer and would like any details on the technical details, I’d love to chat! Click here to reach out.

Makeup by Monica Duarte

Hair by Kimberly Galvão

Nails by Jessica Bota

Special thanks to the Asbury Park Boardwalk and The Asbury Hotel