My fiancé, Apple Sauce, does not like to have his picture taken. For as long as I’ve known him, and as far back as his childhood memories reach. He says it’s because he’s a “private person” — so he probably doesn’t appreciate me blogging about it, whoops! — and he doesn’t like to be the center of attention.

As you’d expect, this poses a problem pertaining to our wedding, i.e. the most photographed day of our lives. So before we ended up with a photo album full of shots of a bride without a groom, we needed to tackle the issue head on, to throw him into the belly of the beast and work through his fears with a little immersion therapy. We did an engagement shoot … in public.

© Matt McDonough, 2011

One of my luckiest breaks, when it comes to our wedding, is that I work at MTV, a veritable treasure trove of creative talent. Every day, I’m surrounded by writers, graphic designers, web developers, photographers, music editors and videographers. And you bet your bottom dollar that when it came to time to cast the talent for our wedding, I called in some favors. Enter my friends Matt and Sahara, photographers extraordinaire, and the coolest people you will ever meet.

For our engagement shoot, we decided to head to the world-famous Coney Island, a location that not only has special meaning to Apple Sauce and me (we’ve spent many a summer laid out on the beach and riding the Cyclone), but also boasts a range of colorful, interesting backdrops.

We decided we’d meet the photographers in Union Square, do some test shots, hop on the subway, take some additional “love train” shots, and then descend on the boardwalk. This would give Apple Sauce a chance to get to know Matt and Sahara and warm up a little bit before we hit our prime location.

It worked. Our subway car got emptier and emptier as we got closer to the beach, so the worst of it — in terms of how many people were looking at us — was over by the time we arrived. And then Apple Sauce realized, it wasn’t so bad after all. We were in this together.

© Matt McDonough, 2011