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  • Welcome to my blog!

    Hello there-- I’ve been waiting for you!!! You know who you are and are true to yourself, you are a liver-of-life, a collector of moments, a person who appreciates great photography and its ability to press the pause button on life’s most incredible moments.

    You want a photographer who is able to handle all aspects of wedding photography with ease, capturing: candid, romantic emotion; flattering, beautiful portraits; breathtaking scenery & architecture; the joy and energy out on the dance floor and all those sweet wedding details that you have been working on for months in an artful, creative way.

    I have great news for you—I’ve got you covered!!!

    My work is creative & thoughtful. My goal is to share your unique love story. I get to know your interests & personalities in order to capture them forever in beautiful, personal, artful photographs that tell your story. I invest my time helping you become comfortable in front of my camera & find the most flattering lighting and angles for you and your surroundings.

    If this sounds good to you, and you’d like to reach out to me to find out more, please connect here.

Hay-Adams DC Wedding Photographers: Handan & Terry

A sophisticated, Washington DC wedding uniting two foodies at the Hay-Adams Hotel… 

Handan & Terry reached out to me looking for a wedding photographer who was familiar with the Hay-Adams and also professional, authentic and highly recommended.  Handan shared, “We wanted our special day to be captured with a natural, unposed documentation by a photographer who was not going to interrupt the natural flow of the day. I knew immediately after speaking with you that were going to tell our story perfectly. I have no doubt you will help us to re-experience every moment of the day when we see the pictures. You were wonderful!!”

I absolutely love working at the Hay-Adams!  It is adjacent to the White House and Lafayette Square with stunning views of the Washington Monument and other national icons.  Handan’s dress was incredible– I wanted to show the exquisite detail as well as her bouquet of white tulips and the remarkable view from her wedding suite.  I captured all of those elements together in this photo:

I used window-light, glass and shadow to capture the elegant wedding details.  I wanted them to look timeless and dramatic…

Handan & Terry chose the Hay-Adams because of its rich history, great reputation and iconic Washington DC location next to the White House.  I held all of those sentiments in mind as I photographed their wedding day.

I kept an eye out for opportunities to capture those scenic elements and even to photograph items like this… it is just a simple coaster, but the elegant gold logo and beautiful wedding rings placed so naturally display a simple authenticity that fits this wedding well:

Handan shared, “We are a very patriotic couple so we wanted to celebrate our union while having the Washington Monument, White House and memorials as the background.” Here I focused on her silhouette as she enjoyed the view of Lafayette Square and the White House lawn.

Terry shared, “Meeting Handan was destiny.  She is bold, bright and fiery. Her drive and heart are her best attributes. We were meant to be.”

He continued, “I thought ‘Wow!  Oh my goodness!’ when I saw her in her wedding gown. She was (and is) stunning!”

Handan’s 1940’s Hollywood glamor look was perfectly executed by Remona Soleimani & Nikki Fraiser:

“Terry is the most caring and optimistic person I have ever met. He is my best friend. He is the most romantic man I know. For the last nine years, I get flowers on a weekly basis. He spoils me. He looked smashing! I treasure every second I have with him and I never ever take him for granted.” 

Handan’s gift to Terry on the wedding day was little tiles with a few of the things that she loves most about him.  This one made them both laugh out loud: “I love that we will grow old together, you faster than me!”

Capturing Handan’s son, Alex, was especially important to her.  This is a candid moment when Terry offered to help Alex with his tie.  I like the authentic feel of it and the balance in the frame, you can even see their reflection in the mirror:

Handan shared, “Alex’s posture is unique, he is very socially mature, an only child, so he’s always been a little adult.  He can carry a conversation about international politics or environmental science.”  It was clear to me that Handan absolutely adores Alex, so I made sure to capture a special portrait of him here:

Handan shared, “An emotional moment that really stands out to me is when I first saw my son coming into the suite and the hug that he gave me.” You can see that moment here.  I love the light and shadows and the pure emotion in this image:

After seeing Handan, Alex peered out the window and was in awe.  I love this photo:

The service at the Hay-Adams was impeccable.  Here guests are offered wine and champagne as they begin arriving.  If you look closely you can see Terry’s reflection in one of the glasses of white wine…

Handan and Terry shared an intimate wedding ceremony at the Top of the Hay.  The unique event space features trellis-like lattice work under vaulted skylights and is wrapped in French doors and windows.

The view from the terrace is spectacular.  Here I silhouetted Handan, Terry and their wedding officiant, to emphasize the view.  I like how happy Terry is, his smile is even apparent in shadow!

You may kiss the bride…  For this moment I wanted to show both the kiss and the Washington monument.  I love the classic black and white and the way the monument appears so gracefully…

Hugs all around– everyone was thrilled to see the happy couple…

Again, I cannot speak highly enough of the staff at the Hay-Adams, they are timely, precise and always on their toes, ready to serve.  I attempted to capture the flurry of exacting activity that was cocktail hour by using a slow shutter speed and panning with the motion of the servers.

Handan & Terry are foodies, so having gourmet cuisine at the wedding reception was a must.  Guests were greeted by Butler passed hors d’oeuvres that included: Sesame Cone with Smoked Salmon,  Green Apple and Mango, Trout Roe and many other tasty treats…

The weather was lovely and guests floated comfortably from the terrace to the ballroom as they pleased.

There were many special guests in attendance, but one played a very interesting role in their relationship.  His name is Johnathan, and he is a waiter at Handan & Terry’s favorite restaurant, Marcel’s. They have their own table there and Terry has sent flowers accompanied by a personal note for the past several years.  Johnathan makes sure to have them waiting for Handan.

Here Terry’s mother is introduced to Johnathan for the first time.  Ironically Handan is carrying a flowers ;).  It is a simple moment that I was thrilled to capture.

The Joshua Rich Band entertained guests throughout the afternoon.  The ensemble included Joshua Rich, accomplished pianist on piano and vocals, as well as his drummer and bass guitarist.  They really helped to set the mood for the event with an eclectic mix of jazz and American standards as well as popular music from today…  

Handan chose clean, simple white tulip bouquets for the centerpieces.  They looked fresh, sophisticated and were the perfect touch for a Spring wedding.

The tulips had an avant-garde twist, with tulip leaves wrapping the inside of minimalist vases.  They fit the event perfectly…

Handan shared, “Alex, Terry and I love sushi, we love Mediterranean, Asian, Italian…… food. We simply love good food and most importantly, we love seeing everyone enjoying good food, wine and champagne. We purposely wanted various food stations vs serving a plated meal. We wanted everyone to pick and choose what they wanted to eat and interact. And yes, we wanted to make sure we had PLENTY of food. Running out of food was not an option!”

Food was arranged elegantly at stations with servers in authentic attire to match each.  Here are some photographs from the sushi station:

Guests were able to try a little bit of everything, as if they were taking a trip around the world.  Each plate showed the unique taste of each guest as was perfectly suited to them.  

While most guests chose to eat inside the ballroom there were a few who chose to dine al fresco, the view was incredible…

There were several toasts shared throughout the reception, the first of which was given by Terry.  I captured it from the back of the ballroom as I wanted to show the happy couple surrounded by their joyful friends and family members and the architecture of the Top of the Hay.

Kris, who is my husband and second photographer, caught the same exact moment from close-up showing Handan and Terry’s expressions from a closer perspective.  I really like both images and like how we work so well together as a team!  His slow shutter speed captured the movement of Terry’s hand and gives it a natural look…

It was time for the first dance.  Handan shared, “Terry and I complement each other. He has the ability to calm me down when I am anxious and impatient. We work in the same industry. Some of our work-related discussions and how we challenge each other help us to take risks and try new way of doing things at work. We help each other to get out of our comfort zone. Seeing Terry so happy was very special.”  I think the feeling is mutual 😉

I was using a macro lens for this next photograph.  I wanted to capture the intimate feeling of Handan and Terry’s first dance and the intricate details on her dress.

Several touching speeches were given by wedding guests.  This toast was especially favorable and given by Handan’s boss.  You can see how touched Handan and Terry were here:

While their hearts are in Washington, DC, they also love Virginia State and wanted to acknowledge it in their wedding cake.  The confection was decorated with dogwood bows (Virginia’s state flower) and cardinals (Virginia’s state bird), a custom design by Tiffany Maclsaac of Buttercream Bake Shop DC:

The fondant flowers were so delicate that they actually looked authentic!

The entire event felt light, airy and romantic, guests seemed swept up in it all!

The dance floor opened and everyone was ready for fun!

Handan & Terry took a romantic moment alone on the terrace…

They walked along Sixteenth Street towards Pennsylvania Avenue.

The tulips and cherry blossoms were in full bloom!

As they crossed H street Handan stopped traffic, literally!

One little boy rolled down the window of his mother’s car to tell Handan that she was beautiful!  Much to my surprise she thanked him and kissed his cheek!  I love to capture genuine moments like this, it shows you the sort of person Handan is– openhearted, appreciative and living in the moment.  

They sat on a bench in Lafayette Square taking in a view of the White House and all of the tourists mulling about.  Handan reminisced, “Everything about that day was magical.”

Handan and Terry have a pair of Golden Retrievers at home and mentioned that they would miss them on the wedding day, but as fate would have it, a golden did pass their way.  Handan hugged it and here you can see the dog giving Terry his paw!

They walked back to the hotel, where Handan admired the daffodils…

They headed back up to their suite where there friends were gathered to congratulate them again.  Here you can see them waiving to passers by!

It certainly was an incredible day and I am honored that I had the opportunity to document it and spend it by your side, Handan & Terry!  I hope that these photographs allow you to re-live this day for many happy years to come!  Please share this blog post with family and friends and comment below if you feel so moved ;).

UPDATE: I love getting mail like this!!! Thanks for making my day, guys!!! “Lisa, We are speechless. We knew you are good but you went above and beyond! You exceeded our expectations. These are amazing, your comments are exceptional. You did tell our story perfectly. We just can’t thank you enough. I want everyone to know who you are and we will proudly share these with everyone. You are simply amazing. THANK YOU! Thank you! Thank you! We are officially your number one fans! -Handan”

DC Wedding Photographers: Manya & Michael at the Hay-Adams

An elegant black tie affair and one of the best views in Washington

Manya and Michael are bright, charismatic individuals who are comfortable in their own skin and love life.  They share many interests like traveling and spending time in the kitchen together (cooking, baking and “enjoying the fruits of their labor,” as Manya put it, haha).  They also share a love of learning and the same witty sense of humor.

When I asked Manya why they chose me as their wedding photographer, she shared, “You are a perfect fit for our different styles. I am attracted to your creative and artistic sensibility and Michael was especially taken with your meticulous execution of candid, natural, shots. The combination of the two, along with your sense of humor and personality, sealed the deal for us.”

She went on, “I really enjoyed working closely with you all day.  We felt that you and Kris were truly part of our team. You were in command but never intrusive with us or our guests. Everyone has mentioned how lovely you both are and are so excited to see the upcoming photos. We would definitely recommend you to all of our friends without hesitation.”

Manya & Michael chose the elegant Hay-Adams as their wedding venue.

Manya explained the reasoning behind their decision, “The view. The service. The elegance. The food…. we knew that the professionalism of The Hay-Adams would be first and foremost and we, and our guests, would be extremely well taken care of. The Hay ended up going so above and beyond our wildest dreams. You can not underestimate the comfort that comes with knowing that we do not have to worry about anything with The Hay-Adams at the helm.”

Manya mentioned the views, here you can see the Washington Monument in the background as Manya’s make-up artist, Ana Buitrago, puts the finishing touches on her lips.

Michael shared, “Manya as my wife…..I like the sound of that!  She is my partner in all things here and now, and in the future. She is smart, funny, and calls me out– she’s a total Smoke Wagon, too!”  Lol, a little military history reference, classic Michael!

Manya, you are absolutely stunning…

With an early Spring wedding, Manya knew keeping warm with her sleeveless gown would be key, so she brought her fox stole.

I placed her stole behind her elegant bridal bouquet, the work of florist, Philippa Tarrant.

I really wanted to capture the stunning view outside of the window of Manya’s Hay-Adam’s suite, and thanks to a generous window ledge was able to show off those sweet and sexy Kate Spade pumps…

Manya’s neice, Anika, brought a book with her everywhere that she went.  I noticed her sitting here by the window light and there was a beautiful, classic elegance about it.

The swans on the wallpaper almost seemed to be listening and coming to life in a moment of sweet, whimsy…

Talk about sweet, how about this little flower girl?

Meanwhile the men were partaking in preparations of their own in their Hay-Adams suite.  Here Michael’s father assists him with his cuff-links…

Manya shared, “I fell for Michael because of his humor, kindness, generosity, passion, and he is oh so handsome.  He makes me think, we share a joy for the world around us: food and travel…  I love how we learn together, non-stop.”

She went on, “He makes me want to be the best version of myself. All of these things made me certain that I never wanted to let him go. We truly are partners in every way, now and in the future.”

All dapper and ready to go… Michael’s authentic, gentlemanly sophistication comes across so well in this photograph…

Michael works for the United States Government and feels a real sense of pride and patriotism, so being situated next door to the White House really appealed to him.

Kris snapped this photo of  Michael and his groomsmen along with his and Manya’s fathers in front of the White House lawn– what a view!

Off the Record is a chic, subterranean-level bar in the Hay-Adams Hotel known for its proximity to the White House and as a respite for Washington’s political elite.

Here Michael and his groomsmen stand beside artists renderings of iconic politicians.  I really like how these men “pop” against the red walls in their classic tuxedos.

Michael stated that his favorite moment of the day was his and Manya’s private moment on the balcony for their “first look.”

He  shared, “First look at her was jaw-dropping. She had kept all aspects of her wedding dress a secret, and so I had no idea what to expect. When I turned around and saw this vision of loveliness, beaming at me, my heart skipped a beat, or many.”

He went on, “I could only think I would prove worthy of her on that day. And now, I hope the same for the future….a partner to share life’s ups and downs with. Arm in arm, hand in hand.”  I have many photos of this moment, but I really like the raw, natural feeling of this one as Manya wipes a tear from Michael’s cheek.

Manya shared, “When I first saw him up on that balcony, my heart was racing and I thought to myself ‘Oh my God he’s handsome!’ I was so filled with love and excitement that I just wanted that moment to stretch on for a while. Thank you, Lisa, for letting that happen.”

Here they are enjoying the moment– Michael dipped her back and Manya burst out laughing!  Manya continued, “I am looking forward to sharing our journey together. The ups and the downs and knowing that we have each other’s back. I am looking forward to a lifetime of laughter and cooking and passion and travel and quiet times together.”

Manya is an artist and really wanted creative photography that is unique and one of a kind.  She likes color and drama in art and was drawn to the elegant details in the Hay-Adams lobby.  I tried to combine all of those ideas into this single photograph (haha, I know!).

You can see the enormous chandelier and intricate plaster ceiling detailing bathed in gold light, set dramatically against the deep walnut molding and wainscot.  The natural light from the front door was intense and blue (a perfect contrast to the gold) and perfectly silhouetted Manya and Michael, reflecting them in the marble flooring…

They considered a walk in Lafayette square but opted for a moment hiding away in Off the Record instead.  😉  Manya commented, “My love of Off the Record runs deep. I go there after work with friends for one of the best martinis in town. It is very Old Washington, grown-up without being stuffy. The people watching is awesome and I have had the pleasure of talking to some fascinating individuals at the bar over the years!”

I wanted to capture the ambiance of the chic lounge, including the red velvet upholstery and mood lighting and of-course this lovely couple.  It is a combination for an intimate, natural moment that Michael likes and the color, creativity and drama that Manya likes.  I used the velvet chairs to give them some privacy, it almost looks like a stolen moment…

In this next photograph, I took the concept of the wall art a bit farther and added Manya and Michael to it, literally, haha!

Prior to the ceremony there was a Ketubah signing.  A ketubah outlines the rights and responsibilities of spouses and is an integral part of a Jewish wedding ceremony.   Here the rabbi was speaking and explaining the text.  I thought that everyone’s hands looked so interesting.

Here is the moment when Michael signed the ketubah.  I like how Manya is watching him approvingly…

Here Manya hugs her brother as he holds the shofar, another part of a Jewish wedding ceremony and gave her a huge hug!

A sophisticated, chic portrait of the bridal party in one of my favorite rooms of the Hay-Adams, the Concorde room.

Here are the rings, ready for the wedding ceremony– they are gorgeous and I love the reflections as well…

The ceremony was held at the Top of the Hay, whose balconies you have seen earlier. Rabbi Deborah Reichmann was amazing, she was respectful of the couple’s desires and their histories and is warm and open– she spoke both to the significance of the wedding occasion and brought everyone together with her sense of humor and sharp wit.

During the seven blessings, the couple shares wine– here is Michael’s sip…

I have so many images from their ceremony and wasn’t sure which to share, so I thought showing the second-favorite moment of Michael’s day was in order.

It was turning around after being pronounced husband and wife to see the joyous faces of their families and friends applauding them as a newlywed couple!

Here is more of that moment from a different perspective… Michael held his beaming mother’s hand as he walked passed her and everyone applauded, such a lovely moment!

We captured many family portraits beneath the chuppah, as family portraits were important to this couple.  Here a photo of the happy pair with Manya’s parents.

The chuppah is a wedding canopy used in Jewish traditions, Manya & Michael’s incorporated lace and pearl beading from Manya’s mother’s gown.

A unique floral sculpture greeted guests at the entrance to cocktail hour…

As guests headed into cocktail hour, Manya and Michael head out to the balcony again, this time on the far side of the terrace to watch the sunset together.  I have a few traditional shots as well, but especially like this colorful, creative one that I thought might tickle Manya’s fancy ;).

If you look closely you can see a laughing couple, the American flag, vibrant colors and a pretty sweet reflection…

Manya shared, “We wanted a classic, formal, elegant style and chose navy, silver and white as our colors… We wanted the linens and tones in the room to be neutral to allow the key playerskey players (the people and view) to truly shine.”

Michael shared, “As an engineer and student of military history, I feel I speak multiple languages. One of which is how the military communicates. In this case, we used the military alphabet for table numbers.”

The guests’ view during dinner was absolutely breath taking!

The florals were incredibly elegant and unique.  Manya shared, “Philippa  is a lovely woman who is truly an artist. She was open to doing more interesting and nontraditional flowers for the wedding. I respect her immensely for her sculptural take on flower arranging and her eye toward the beauty of letting the flowers be themselves.”

I had the pleasure of working with Cherry Blossom Events again, this time  working with event designer, Alison Golt.  She was prompt, professional, organized and friendly.  The last wedding I worked on with Cherry Blossom was featured in the Washingtonian, we both have our fingers crossed for this wedding, too!

Fantastic, heartfelt speeches were given by many wedding guests.  Resulting in laughter, tears and in this case, cheers!

Michael and Manya are foodies and loved that the Top of the Hay featured it’s own chef and kitchen and asked Director of Catering, Alison Okobi if I would be able to pop in and capture their dinner in progress.  Michael had dreams of photos of pretty little filet mignon’s all lined up like soldiers, haha…

Alison is amazing and granted his request, so I found myself capturing candid moments behind the scenes in the kitchen… the team was amazing, their attention to detail was an art form.  Here are those filets, Michael:

Michael stated, “As with many other aspects of our wedding, Manya and I wanted to personalize the cake cutting. So why not use a military saber and knife instead of just your everyday silver. We have many shared friends serving our country and the saber and knife represent our way of honoring those who have served, continue to serve, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Michael continued, “The saber is a 1902 US Army officer’s saber…representing the history of all service branches. And the knife is a Yarborough Fighting Knife, serial numbered to Green Berets. LTG Yarborough is a fellow Seattleite…my home town….and considered the Father of US Special Forces.”

Manya seems just as excited to use the saber as Michael is!

Time for the first dance, everyone’s reactions are priceless…

Time for the Hora…

Michael said, “NASCAR–the only true American Sport. I remember watching the 1979 Daytona 500 live on TV and have loved the sport ever since. Heck, my Bachelor Party was a road trip to the Capital of NASCAR….Charlotte. So when Manya talked about a napkin as part of the Hora….I thought, why not NASCAR-ize it with a symbol of celebration!!!”

Eventually Anika put down her book and joined the party on the dance floor.  Here she is with her grandfather.  She looks taller than him, but it is just because she is leaping up in the air!

Manya and Michael further personalized their wedding with feature tastes of the evening.  The Hay agreed to use Michael’s legendary chocolate chip cookie recipe in order to share it with all of Manya & Michael’s wedding guests.

Michael explained “I have been working on the recipe since the age of 10 when I used my own money to buy butter for the cookies!  Many of my friends have tasted these cookies, and have developed a small addiction to them….how could Manya and I not include them in our celebration?!? And you can’t have chocolate-chip cookies, without ice cold milk, hence the milk shooter accompaniment.”

Here he holds a cookie and milk shooter, yes, Michael, they were perfect!

Stepping out on the balcony was something that Manya and Michael enjoyed several times during their wedding day.  It seemed appropriate to end their wedding blog with this…

Manya and Michael, thank you for choosing to have me by your side on your wedding day!  It was my pleasure and I can’t wait to show you more photos!  All the best, Lisa  PS:  Readers, if you want to see more of Manya and Michael you may want to check out their dreamy engagement session at the National Arboretum here.

UPDATE: I received a lovely note from Manya after they received their full set of photos, “We LOVE the photos.  You have done such a wonderful job telling our story and capturing the day and night in it’s entirety.  I love how you have really illustrated the elegance, love, and fun of the celebration.  Many of our friends have had a chance to look at them and everyone has had fabulous things to say. I love that you captured us and our guests at our very best.  Each time that I look at several of the pictures, I get a little misty remembering what a special day it was.  We can’t thank you enough for being part of our team and going so above and beyond in making us feel and look fantastic.  Thanks so much and we are looking forward to working with you to put the album together.  Best, Manya.”

Creative Senior Portrait Photographers: Matt

This well-rounded senior enjoys academics, varsity sports and friends.  Not only does he maintain great grades, but he is a record-breaking swimmer who also works and manages to spend time with his friends.   If there was one word I’d have to describe Matt, it would be balanced.  For that reason, I will start of his set with this image…

Matt knew that he wanted me to be his senior portrait photographer when he saw his upperclassmen friends’ blog posts throughout the years.

He said, “They all had such unique personalities, interesting people who would be hard to capture, but your photos encapsulated them perfectly!  I have been looking forward to you capturing my personality in an artistic way, too!”

We began Matt’s session with a preppy, collegiate look.  He wanted to portray his interest in academics and chose to meet on the campus of Wilson College.

Matt is also very laid back.  His father was in the military and this meant moving quite often, so he learned to make new friends quickly.

I wanted to capture his relaxed demeanor here:

He also has this quirky, fun, playful sort of side, which we will explore later with his “less formal” photos.  Until then I thought this was kind of fun.  Totally his idea!

Matt qualified for districts this year with the Shippensburg Area Senior Highschool swim team.  He earned his personal record in the 200 IM and was a member of the school record breaking 400 freestyle relay!

He briefly considered using the natatorium for his senior portrait session, but decided he preferred a more figurative swimming reference.  (By the way if anyone wants a session in the pool, I would *love* to do that!)

Matt chose to incorporate water into his session.  Here he stands along the banks of a stream.  I like how you can see the reflection of the trees in this photograph…

I really love to capture reflections in my photography– if you look closely in the water you can see Matt’s profile reflected.  Do you see it?  Matt is in the water, haha!

The second part of his session showed a more relaxed, spontaneous side of him.  He wore a hoodie and sneakers and rather than using the archways of Wilson College, we went for a more “back-alley sort of vibe.  Here he is walking on a wall…

He mentioned that he is a fan of street-ware and that these “Supreme Vans” are one of his favorite pairs of shoes.

Here he is listening to some tunes on his phone.

I liked the lines and angles here.  It is casual yet strong.  I think it fit’s Matt well!

Here he is being a little spontaneous, just hanging around…

While I like to capture more creative, candid moments, I also made sure to capture more traditional portraits as well.  I absolutely loved this wall!!!

We played around with some shots with Matt’s hood up.  I think it looks super cool…

I used steel beams from the fire escape to give this image a really modern feel.  I like how they make a z!

I really liked this staircase and how you could see it from outside of the building!  If you look closely you can see Matt skipping a few stairs…

Matt, thanks for following my work for the last few years!  It was a pleasure to work with you and I hope that I captured your personality in an artistic, creative way!  Please share this post with friends and family on social media :).

DC Wedding Photographers: Courtney & Brenden

Hello cherry blossoms!!!  A sweet, romantic, Spring walk in Washington DC’s tidal basin with newlyweds…

Courtney & Brenden reached out to me looking for wedding photographers in the Washington DC area whose photos were artistic and unique.  They wanted an eclectic mix of portraits, candids and architectural/landscape photos where they would be an element of the photos and not necessarily the main focus.

I opened this blog post with a photo that captured the Jefferson Memorial, tidal basin and cherry tree.  In this next image, Courtney & Brenden are admiring their wedding bands and framed in cherry blossom buds.  If you look in the background you can see the Washington Monument in the distance!

Here is a more traditional portrait of the happy couple.  I used the cherry buds and young leaves as my background as the light was passing through the branches beautifully illuminating the details.  I found the most flattering lighting and angle and used a shallow depth of field to focus attention on Courtney & Brenden.

Courtney & Brenden met in law school.  Courtney loves to cook and Brenden loves to eat, so obviously they hit it off from the start!

Courtney shared, “I told him I’d make him the best French toast he would ever taste. He didn’t believe me, so I did, and it was!  A week later he said he wanted to make something for me and swore he could make the best blueberry cream pie I’d ever tasted– and he did!”

She continued, “I met his family during the holidays (a dozen or so pies later, haha) and his aunt pulled me aside to say that she was very excited to meet the girl that caused him to call her late at night after not being in touch since the last holiday season to request the blueberry cream pie recipe!”

Courtney & Brenden mentioned liking my use of creative photography techniques, her love of water and Brenden’s gentlemanly, outside-of-the-box way of thinking.  I sort of brought all of that together in the next photograph.

As they walked along the Tidal Basin they came to a large mud puddle.  Brenden gently took Courtney’s hand and helped her to cross the area unscathed.   Courtney shared, “He is the sweetest and smartest man I’ve even met.  I love how he always finds a way to create his own path rather than following the norm!”

What you see at the top of the frame is their reflection, their true selves are upside-down at the bottom of the photograph…

I just love reflections and the sweet, romantic feel of this image.  I like the muted spring tones and the way they are framed by the cherry tree branch:

Brenden shared, “I love that Courtney is so patient and understanding with me.  I can be myself around her. ”

He explained that they have similar interests and enjoy just relaxing and being in each others’ company.

Courtney and Brenden are both introverts and knew they wanted a more intimate wedding.  They also wanted beautiful photos that would capture their love and life together and to be able to share those with their friends & family.  Meeting me for an after-session was a perfect fit for them!

I loved the romantic Spring color palette so much that I hesitated to post any black and white images, but this one looks so dramatic and striking in black and white that I couldn’t help myself.

I took some time to capture more traditional portraits of each of them.

Looking good, Brenden…

Courtney you are absolutely stunning…

I really like the blue sky and the composition in this next photograph.  The cherry tree is in the center of the frame, which helps to split the image into four parts: the couple, cherry blossoms, water, and Washington Monument.   You’ll probably notice that I snuck in a bit of reflection again, too…

Courtney is an animal-lover and was hoping to somehow capture an animal in their session– she was thinking maybe there would be a rabbit or squirrel or something that would cross our paths.

She was so tickled when this officer congratulated them on horseback!!!

I like their reaction here, also with the interesting shadows and soft branches…

I knew that Courtney wanted to incorporate the monuments and liked creative focusing techniques.  When Courtney and Brendan leaned in towards each other I focused on the Jefferson Memorial in the back ground and blurred them in the foreground.  I like how it fit so snugly between them…

I snapped a photo of them holding hands, focusing on Courtney’s sapphire engagement ring.  She said, “I have always loved sapphires, he did a great job on the ring.  It is perfect!”

We ended their photography session on a park bench in West Potomac Park.  I love the colors, framing and perspective.  There is something so classic and timeless about it.  
Courtney & Brenden it was such a pleasure to work with the two of you!  Your dedication and commitment to each other is beautiful– I wish you many years of love and happiness :).

DC Engagement Photographers: Emily & Ben in Virginia

Dressed up on the docks!!!  A fun, vibrant, spontaneous couple in their element… how smitten are they???

During our first meeting Emily shared, “I’m still figuring out most things with the wedding, but I am 100% sure that I want you to be our photographer!  We know you are the best out there, we just love your work.  I also have worked with you before, for my sister, Meg’s wedding, so I know first-hand how great you are to work with.”

When I asked Emily what she & Ben were looking for in their wedding photography, she explained, “We want our photos to be different.  I love creative, artistic shots– things that are really unique to that couple and I see that in your work.”  You can see the unique, personal quality in the photograph above.

She continued, “We also like photos that feel natural and show honest, real emotion.  We want the fun that we have together and our deep commitment to each other to be captured forever.”You can see that authentic emotion and deep connection and in this photograph:

Emily & Ben are so happy together.  They truly balance each other out and are always making each other laugh.  Emily shared, “Ben is the most supportive person in every situation which means the world to me.  I love how Ben is super smart, yet such a total goofball.”

I think the laughter, supportiveness and even “goofy side” really come out in this portrait…

Emily explained, “I live so much in the past or present, but Ben is the one with the big, beautiful vision for our future.  I trust him completely.”  I think that intimacy and trust really comes across in this next photograph.  On an artistic level, I love all of the interesting lines and perspective.

Emily and Ben chose to have me travel to the docks in Kinsale, Virginia because some of their best memories together took place there.  It is where Ben has been coming with his extended family since he was a boy and Emily thought that the dock would photograph well, she was so right!

There were so many visual elements for me to play with from the vibrant color of her dress to the worn texture of the dock to the rippling, reflective water… for me it was a playground of inspiration!  Here I captured their interesting, colorful reflections, along with their sweet body language and all that lovely texture.

I peered more deeply into the reflection and was fascinated by the way it shrank and expanded different physical attributes in such a clear, vibrant way.  Emily & Ben both have such quirky senses of humor, I can imagine this distorted reflection making them laugh!

“Ben is so romantic!  He is always trying so hard to impress me with his gentlemanly ways, he definitely succeeds, but is SO nervous leading up to it!”

She continued, “He flew me to Charleston for the most romantic weekend ever.  It was beautiful, warm and involved great southern cuisine.  Ben got down on one knee under the shelter of a gazebo, his hands were shaking and his brow was literally dripping, haha!”

She stated, “I don’t think Ben will ever realize that he never needs to be nervous around me, he always blows me away!”

Emily and Ben love to laugh.  They shared another story about baking THE worst key lime cheesecake together, they both agreed it was *disgusting*.  But rather than get bent out of shape about it, they totally laughed it off.

I like the way the intense sunlight is creating pretty orbs in this next photo.  For me it feels light and sweet and matches the playfulness of their relationship well.

Emily shared, “I remember the first time we said ‘I love you,’ it was nine months into our relationship during our first big fight!  Realizing how much you love someone, even when you are angry is such a beautiful thing.”  It is beautiful, and shows their resilience!

For this next photograph, it was low tide, so I walked on land that was normally submerged under water.  There were these little pieces of grass that spend part of their day crushed by the weight of the sea, literally drowning, but here they are popping right back up again.

I focused on the wet, delicate blades of grass and allowed Emily and Ben to be out of focus.   To me this image speaks volumes about resilience…

Ben shared, “It may sound simple, but I appreciate the way Emily listens to me.  I can literally tell her anything and she will give me her full attention.  It is one of the many qualities that makes her so special.”

I like how soft and natural this next photograph is.   Emily’s ear is towards Ben, I can totally imagine that she is listening to one of his secrets…

Emily and Ben love adventures and have had some many in Kinsale, VA over the years.  They enjoy winery tours, biking and especially to be out on the water boating, swimming or kayaking.

I use my camera settings (a combination of math, science & technology) to capture, moments, emotion, locations (art & life).  I actually captured both the last photo and the next one at the same time of day with the same lighting, I just changed my lenses, settings, etc for a completely different look.

I wanted to capture Emily & Ben silhouetted against the water with starbursts of sunlight.  I really like the way the light seems to pass through their bodies in this next photograph.  It almost looks spiritual…

Ben shared, “I love Emily’s laugh.  It is so contagious!”  I snapped this next photo shortly after the previous one, just when Emily threw her head back and laughed.

I can’t get over how clear everything was, it was such a perfect moment…

More laughter at the docks…

I really like the lines in this next photo, I’m guessing you can tell by now, I have a “thing” for reflections 😉 I also like how they are framed in a gap between the nautical wood pilings, of course the color and texture, too.

More fun reflections, framing, color and texture…

Life is but a dream…  Ben is super romantic, as Emily mentioned earlier, after some time he really opened up!

He shared, “I feel like I’m dreaming, because there is no possible way that a woman like Emily would love me. When her eyes meet mine it feels like the world just stops. In that moment I will always know that I am the luckiest man alive.  Emily is the woman of my dreams. ”

We headed inside of Ben’s parents’ summer home for a bit and a reflection on this artwork caught my eye.

Can you see Ben & Emily?

The light was fading and the sun was beginning to set.

Ben shared a few final remarks, “I love Emily’s passion and drive.  She can do anything she sets her mind to.  She will accomplish so much in this world!”  Mind-meld!!!!

Emily & Ben, I have no doubt that you two will accomplish very much in your lives and marriage and I wish you both all the very best!

F a c e b o o k