On August 19th 2022, I had the absolute pleasure of finally meeting Grace and Thomas face to face at their Washington D.C. Engagement Session.
I like to describe myself as a cinematographer who doesn’t know how to do video. I approach wedding days and engagement sessions like I’m about to film a movie, always thinking about the overall story and plot. To me, if a photo doesn’t aid in telling the story then it’s not one worth taking and that shows in the way I put effort into observing the world, people, places, and things around me.
I think what makes this session so lovable is how it feels like a Rom Com movie. I strive to invoke feeling and nostalgia when people look at my photographs. My main goal is to avoid taking just photographs… I like to persuade viewers into seeing the before and after a picture. I want to communicate true, raw emotions.
Something that my clients appreciate and value about me is my ability to tell the difference between a photograph and a moment. Anyone can get out there with a camera and take the perfect Instagram worthy shots, but very few have an eye for cinema worthy shots.
Our first stop was the park where Thomas proposed to Grace, Rock Creek Park in Washington D.C. On the way to their spot, Thomas told me the story of the proposal. I laughed out loud when he added “then I went to pick her up at her house and I was so mad because she looked too pretty!” But in truth, he thought she was getting dressed up because she knew about the proposal. She didn’t, it was just perfect timing.
Thomas said when they got to the park, he told her to pick a spot for the picnic he had planned. Out of the 2,000 acres of the park, she picked the spot he had subconsciously chosen a few days before.
At this spot, they opted for more casual outfits, which fit the location perfectly. I love that they coordinated their outfits instead of matching their outfits. I think these photos are a good example for couples planning their engagement session outfits, since their clothes not only translated well in photos but you can tell Grace and Thomas felt comfortable in them, which is important for enjoying your session.
On our walk around, I had Grace and Thomas practice their first dance, which was when I learned that Grace and I shared a love for old school swing dancing. I had them discuss what they were most excited for at their wedding, what moments they thought would make them cry and they placed bets on who would cry first.
A little down the road, we stumbled upon a stone bridge, where I directed them in a few natural poses and then I did some hiking through the woods to get the perfect shot of the architecture of the bridge. The scraps on my ankles from the thorn bush was totally worth it.
After leaving Rock Creek Park we hoped over to The Lincoln Memorial. My mom and I miraculously made it through the traffic and Thomas and Grace found us a spot to park. Walking away from our parked cars, we talked and told stories that I will never forget; in fact I will be thinking of them every time I need a good laugh.
Grace did a quick change into her gorgeous Reformation rehearsal dinner dress. Thomas slipped on a suit jacket over his outfit from the park, which was the perfect way to bring his casual clothes into a fancier version for the new location.
When Grace asked me for advice about what to wear to their second fancier location I said “dress like you’re going to a friend’s wedding!” I’ve found that every couple needs a bit a of guidance when deciding what to wear for their engagement session, so I wrote Engagement Session Outfit Guide to help inquiring couples.
I chose to photograph them telling these stories and I included some of those photos below. A few weeks later, at their wedding I was talking about their engagement photos to Thomas and he said something along the lines of “I like how some of our photos were just us talking… we didn’t even know you were getting those.”
When we were at the Lincoln Memorial, we got the money shots of the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool, and of course we got some within the beautiful architecture of The Lincoln Memorial. However, my favorite photos of the night were when we wandered off to a small, quieter park on the edge of the National Mall.
When we walked up to this picturesque street, Grace said “this area always reminds me of New York, like Central Park” and I couldn’t agree more. This small street was quiet enough to escape the tourist mania but you could hear the hushed mumble of the the crowds as the sun set… it was perfectly romantic.
Here, I guided them through poses and prompts that brought out the giggles and love struck eyes. The more the sun went down, the more charming it all felt and by the end of the night Grace and Thomas were sharing a sweet hug under the glowing street lights.
Grace had mentioned to me that her biggest concern for their session was their photos not feeling like them. She said they tend to be awkward in front of the camera and and didn’t take things too seriously. Grace even said that she was so nervous, she took a shot before the photoshoot.
However, about 10 minutes into this session I had turned to them and said “I thought you said you were awkward in front of the camera!” They didn’t fully believe me until they received their photos and saw how natural and authentic they were.
The morning after their session, I sent Grace some sneak peaks via text message. She immediately responded with “We already feel so much better about the photos! You were so great at making us feel comfortable!”
Overall, I feel extremely grateful for this opportunity to capture the love Grace and Thomas share in a way that made them feel seen and understood.
I am a Documentary/Photojournalistic Wedding Photographer who is based in North Carolina but I LOVE travel weddings. After I graduated high school in 2020, I went straight into the entrepreneurial world and pursued my passion for photography. I believe in preserving the vintage, embracing the imperfections, listening to music on old vinyls, timeless but fashionable clothing, quiet romantic love, and writing down your feelings. I love Jesus and I know that my purpose is to capture to beauty that The Lord has created it. He has given me a vision to see the world a little more like he does. My business and life are dedicated to him.
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