Vibrant fall foliage, iconic Washington DC & a *hot air balloon* engagement story that will knock your socks off…
Lauren shared, “There are an overwhelming amount of photographers to choose from in Washington DC, but when I came images from weddings you had photographed at The Carnegie, I just fell in love. Anish and I both agreed, your work was leaps and bounds above everyone else!”
She continued, “While I enjoyed the more traditional photos, I particularly loved the more artistic and abstract photos. The silhouettes, use of reflections, and unique angles- it was obvious that you had a natural eye for capturing incredible moments on every couple’s big day.”
She laughed, “Before our video meeting I already knew that we had to have you for our wedding, and that was reaffirmed as I listened to you speak about your clients. You spend the time to really get to know each couple and design their photos to fit their personalities and capture their relationship. We were drawn to your process”
I opened the blog with a more artistic, abstract shot with the sky and silhouettes, followed with an image that captures the beautiful fall foliage and will follow with one that really shows off their personalities!
Lauren and Anish are prime examples of opposites attracting. Lauren refers to herself as a typical “type A”– a straight A student, the ultimate planner while Anish is a self-proclaimed “type-Z”– adventuresome, spontaneous and charismatic. Anish explained, “We love how different we are and can both see how our differences actually make us stronger!”
I wanted to show the balance of their relationship in a visual way and used columns to do so (I don’t think there is a more “DC” way to do it, haha). I wanted to capture Lauren’s more reserved nature, and Anish’s charismatic spark and confidence. I got down low to really show off the vibrant autumn colors in the background as well…
Anish shared about their choices of locations, “We both fell in love with DC as a city, it’s where we met and grew together in our relationship. Washington DC seemed like the perfect place to symbolize our relationship, and you can’t really capture DC without the monuments.”
Lauren continued, “It was too hard for us to narrow down just one place, so we decided on the National Mall to be able to incorporate many of our favorite spots. I had always thought the DC War Memorial was a beautiful monument and really liked the idea of incorporating the stunning architecture at the Lincoln Memorial, too.”
I spend a lot of time thinking about my couples and the places that I will photograph them. I had this idea of climbing down the side of the large stone sides of the Lincoln memorial and getting this epic shot that could bring in the full columns as well as capture that stunning architecture! Anish gave me a hand, holding my camera as I climbed– mission accomplished!
While I love wide, epic shots, as I photographer, my style is very eclectic. I have a wide variety of lenses and use them in different ways. Here I wanted to show a more intimate perspective and draw in the Washington Monument, Reflecting Pool and United States Capitol while also showing the fall foliage. I used a specific lens with specific camera settings and angles to accomplish my goal…
Anish shared, “We have always loved the Lincoln Memorial, during one of our earliest dates we walked through it, and we have had tons of memories there. Personally, I also have a deep admiration of Lincoln himself (yes, I am a Lincoln geek!)”
Lauren shared, “I wanted our engagement shoot to be a blend of serious and playful, capturing our personalities together. I was excited the trees still had their beautiful fall colors!”
She smiled, “I knew Anish was the one pretty early on. He was the first person I felt comfortable sharing everything with, always knowing he’d be supportive. I never felt alone, every obstacle I faced he made of point of letting me know he was taking on the challenge with me. Even when he doesn’t know much about the topic, he’ll take the time to research it and ask questions so he can give me the best advice. He is incredibly kind, and always trying to keep things fun in our relationship. Whether it’s sending an anonymous care package to me at work, or planning a date night I would have never thought of, he’s always trying to keep our lives upbeat and interesting. He really is my best friend.”
This photograph combines that colorful fall foliage and shows the playful side of their relationship. When I had Lauren and Anish stand back to back, something so beautiful happened– Lauren got this huge burst of confidence! It was as if his support literally made her more confident in herself! This has to be one of my favorite photos of these two!
Haaa Anish’s “class clown” side totally came out!!!
I should mention that they were totally balancing on a wall for these– it was the best way for me to get in all of those amazing leaves! Being the awesome people they are, they were up for whatever. As they climbed up and tried to balance Anish played around and Lauren totally cracked up!
I love the emotion, light and texture of this next image:
Balloons!!! They are totally key to their engagement story!!!
Anish explained, “Lauren had always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride. Even during the very early days of our relationship she brought it up on several occasions. So when it came time to propose, I thought it would be really cool to do it on a hot air balloon….turns out that was easier said than done! Looking around a bit I finally landed on a hot air balloon ride in the foothills of the picturesque Shenandoah Valley. Everything was set, the day, the location, my awesome outfit, and the very large sign saying “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” I was going have the team lay it on the ground right before I propose, and I was excited and nervous.”
He continued, “Two days before the big day, the pilot calls me and says he has to cancel because the winds were going to be too severe. Turns out, that if winds are more than 10 miles per hour taking off and landing in a hot air balloon becomes much more of a life and death sort of adventure. Rescheduling due to wind happens again and again, until finally we are able to find suitable weather. (Meanwhile, I am planning and then canceling “date nights” with Lauren, coming up with all kinds of creative excuses.)”
Anish continued the balloon proposal story, “It’s the day of the proposal and I am driving with Lauren an hour and half east of DC for our “date night” (I kept it a secret from her for obvious reasons). We get to the location and I step out of the car to confirm with the pilot everything was still on track, when he tells me that the winds are “picking up.” I am thinking to myself you have got to be KIDDING ME! He then says, there is another location in the back of local church shielded with row of tall trees that could work and I tell him let’s do it! I’ll even say a prayer in the church, haha! So off us go, we are now in the back of a church, setting up a hot air balloon.”
He went on, “By this time Lauren knew we would be riding in a hot air balloon and she was cautiously excited. We hop on top of this balloon and we have a successful take off! We are about 1000 feet up and I am having the time of my life, taking pics, selfies, talking it up with the pilot. Lauren, while she was excited, was also starting to get very nervous. It turns out that she wasn’t the best with heights and the tiny little wicker basket we were in that shook every time someone moved did NOT help!”
He concluded, “Once we got a bit higher she started to get really nervous and refuses to look down! Keep in mind by this time, there was a large sign placed on the road reading “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” and she refuses to look down!!! On top of that she looked like she was about to faint. At this point, I literally hold her, and practically force her to look down. She sees the sign and all of the sudden the fears go away and she starts to tear up. I get down on one knee (at least I try to, there wasn’t a ton of space) and ask her to marry me. She says yes, the rest as they say is history!”
Anish shared, “We want to look back at these pictures 40 years from now and say “beautiful.” We want them to be classic, timeless, capture who we are at this point in our lives and all of the love that we have for one another. The timeless architecture and layout with the DC look and feel gave this classic vibe. (Also, Lauren and I have seen your amazing skills and secretly hope that one of our pictures get nominated for the awards you’ve been winning recently!)”
Haaaa well we can always hope, here’s some more classic architecture, a timeless shot, so classic “DC”….
Lauren shared, “We choose to end the day at the stairs above the Rock Creek Parkway and Memorial Bridge. I had driven by those stairs every day going to work and always thought it would be a unique place to take photos.”
She continued, “By the end of our engagement shoot we were very comfortable working this Lisa, which was extremely helpful as the rush hour traffic on the Parkway was an amused audience, haha!” (Yes passersby totally honked their congratulations). 🙂
As the sun set and we walked towards the steps I had to capture the stunning neo-classical equestrian bronze sculptures. They were commissioned to represent “The Arts of Peace.” The sculptures are massive and of such a worthy subject– somehow the sunset seemed to bring out the gold color even more!
I want to post one final photo– I know how much Lauren loves my photographs of reflections and here is a really cool one! I actually captured it upside down, if you look closely you can see their actual feet at the bottom edge of the frame! I like how they are both smiling and laughing…
Lauren and Anish, thank you so much for entrusting me to capture these photos of the two of you! I hope that they are the colorful, eclectic mix that you wanted– capturing a few classic, traditional images and going all-out on the abstract, artistic photos, striving to capture aspects of your relationship and personality.
I am so excited to hear what you think and cannot wait for your upcoming wedding at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC!