Ashmita and Kevin’s recent engagement session was a great time with a lovely couple whose wedding we can’t wait to document! In anticipation of their marriage celebrations in January 2022, the couple also asked us to take pre-wedding portraits for them. The time we spent walking around the woodsy nature trails of Ellanor C. Lawrence Park with them was invaluable. For starters, their Ellanor C. Lawrence Park engagement photos are gorgeous depictions of their love and give insight into what brought the two of them together. Just as importantly, though, their engagement photoshoot in Fairfax VA allowed them and us to get to know one another better. And that can help make everything smoother on a wedding day!
Ellanor C Lawrence Park Engagement Photos: No Fees for Using the Space!
Shortly after they hired us to do their wedding and engagement photography, Ashmita and Kevin talked us through the kind of portraits they were looking for. Images in a natural setting somewhere in Northern Virginia was their main priority. So we started researching locations in and around Fairfax. (As a side note, this is one of our secret joys about our job. As people who have lived, worked and traveled overseas extensively, we LOVE learning about new places. So the challenge of finding great spots for engagement portraits in the DMV is always welcome!)
Finding outdoorsy places for an engagement photoshoot in and around the Nation’s Capital is not as easy as it sounds. Any commercial photography session on National Park Service land requires a pretty expensive permit. Because we want to keep our couples from having to pay those fees, we’re always looking for locations that are free. Ellanor C. Lawrence Park turned out to be just that sort of place.
Fairfax VA Engagement Photos in a Variety of Settings
Fortunately, the park’s charms are not limited to the low cost of doing commercial photography there! It’s also a gorgeous location that offers lots of backdrops for beautiful engagement portraits. If you like settings with lots of trees and colorful fall foliage, Ellanor C. Lawrence Park’s 650 acres include miles of paths through the woods. Like the nature part of a forest but want more variety? Those aforementioned trails cross streams and end at lovely green meadows.
In fact, so varied are the options at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park that we barely scratched the surface during Ashmita and Kevin’s engagement session. The hour we spent wandering the wooded paths and creating beautiful Fairfax VA engagement photos for them didn’t even take us more than a few hundred meters into the forest. But that didn’t even matter at all! We got all the gorgeous portraits a couple could want in just a fraction of the park’s area.
Fun Start to Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Engagement Session
We met Ashmita and Kevin at the park’s main entrance, located just a short drive from Dulles International Airport. The future spouses arrived early — which we loved! — and were wearing clothes appropriate for hiking. So we jumped right into the session and plunged into the woods.
To help the bride- and groom-to-be relax, we started by taking a few shots for “Grandma’s mantel.” These are just basic portraits in which the couple looks at the camera and smiles. We got the idea to begin engagement sessions or couples portrait portions of wedding days from the fantastic Two Mann U course that Erika and Lanny Mann offer. And we’ve found that having our clients do something they’ve done for a million pictures before is a great way to make an engagement photoshoot less daunting.
Gorgeous Nature Trail Engagement Photos
With that out of the way, we began looking for interesting backdrops for more creative images. Our first stop was in front of some trees whose leaves had just turned golden yellow and bright orange. That was a perfect spot for romantic nature trail engagement photos. So we had Ashmita and Kevin cuddle in close for some intimate shots.
Then we decided to get a little more daring with the compositions. To take advantage of the slowly dying late-fall light, we gave the couple a papery umbrella and had them stand between it and the sun. That positioning cast shadow outlines of their faces onto the surface of the umbrella. To ensure we captured some images of the sweet way they were looking at each other, we also had them turn around and enjoy a private moment under the parasol.
We loved how the sunset was lighting up Ashmita’s hair, so we put a flash behind the couple once the sun was too low in the sky to do that. That had the added advantage of creating a bit of separation between the couple and the background. Which gives the images a bit more depth. As the sun set completely and the sky grew dark, we decided to create some dazzling silhouettes. First with the light pointing at Ashmita and Kevin from behind, which lit them faintly against a dark background. Then we turned the flash around and aimed it at some bushes. That created a beautiful green circle, against which the couple’s silhouettes appeared.
We took a few more shots of the future spouses walking hand-in-hand in the woods before wrapping up the session and bidding them adieu. Thank you, Ashmita and Kevin, for being so easy to work with! We can’t wait to document your wedding for you!
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