Lyndsay and Troy’s recent engagement photoshoot in downtown Washington DC was everything that is great about getting couple’s portraits done in the Nation’s Capital. Their US Capitol engagement photos had the history and iconic buildings for which the city is so famous. At the same time, their National Gallery of Art engagement session led to portraits with a creative and vibrant feel. (Perhaps more importantly, the museum provided a warm indoor space on a very cold and blustery day. Which helped make a winter engagement session in DC a lot more enjoyable!) Just like the city of DC blends so many things so perfectly, this mix of settings combined seamlessly to give Lyndsay and Troy’s engagement portraits a quintessentially DC feel.
In the end, though, what really mattered most was the love and connection between the couple themselves. Lyndsay and Troy had such a sweet way about them and such a natural comfort in one another’s arms that we could have created beautiful portraits of them anywhere. We cannot wait to help them document the next chapter in their love story at their October wedding at The Capitol View at 400!
Winter Engagement Session in DC
Lyndsay and Troy booked us for their wedding and engagement photos right at the very beginning of 2022. They were excited to get started, so they asked us if we could do their engagement photoshoot in January. The couple also wanted to send out their save-the-date cards as soon as possible. We were equally thrilled about the opportunity to photograph a pair of future spouses whose niceness had impressed us throughout the inquiry and booking process. And we always try to help our couples keep their wedding planning sailing along smoothly. So even though we were in the middle of photographing an epic four-day Indian wedding, we got Lyndsay and Troy on the calendar for winter engagement session in DC!
As we’ve mentioned elsewhere on our website and blog, getting awesome winter engagement photos can be a little tricky. Though portraits in the snow can be stunning, and winter sunrises and sunsets are the stuff of dreams, the cold does pose a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, with some smart wardrobe choices and a positive mindset, a couple can get all of the good with only a little of the drawbacks.
Lyndsay and Troy were nothing if not good sports. In fact, they might have been the most patient and agreeable couple we’ve ever photographed! Despite the bitter cold and biting wind, they posed without complaint. That they trusted that we would give them unforgettable engagement photos despite the adverse conditions meant the world to us!
US Capitol Engagement Photos
When we were scheduling Lyndsay and Troy’s engagement photoshoot, we asked them if they had a particular vibe in mind for the location. They said something that combined “city” and “historic.” Very few other places on Earth mesh those two feels better than downtown DC! More specifically, we suggested the National Gallery of Art as the location. It is in the heart of the Nation’s Capital. It is just steps from some of the country’s most historic buildings. And it offers creative possibilities you don’t find at other DC museums.
We had Lyndsay and Troy meet us by the Constitution Ave NW entrance to the museum’s West Building. We chose that spot very specifically. Just a block away is a spot on Pennsylvania Ave NW with a spectacular view of the US Capitol. It is the ideal place to get that building in the background of engagement photos. You’re far enough away that the couple isn’t right on top of it. But still close enough for it to feature prominently. And best of all, it requires no permit! (Unlike when you want to do US Capitol engagement photos from areas closer to the building.)
It doesn’t get any more “city meets historic” than the US Capitol building, right? So we jumped right in and had the future spouses pose in the wide median that bisects Pennsylvania Ave. (That is another thing that makes this spot perfect – no dodging traffic!) We started with a few standard, “for grandma’s mantel” shots of them looking at the camera. Then we had them face each other, and we took some closeup shots with the US Capitol looming behind them. Finally, we changed up the posing a little and took some wider shots with more of the city and the museum in the frame.
Artistic National Gallery of Art Engagement Session
Had the weather been more cooperative, we could have spent another 20 minutes getting gorgeous US Capitol engagement photos with Lyndsay and Troy. But their good attitudes aside, we could tell they were freezing! So we had them throw their coats back on and head into the National Gallery of Art for some indoor portraits.
Because its entrance was a little closer, the museum’s East Building was the first stop. As we’ve mentioned before, that half of the National Gallery of Art houses the more creative and abstract works in the collection. So it’s great for National Gallery of Art engagement photos that really stand out from the rest!
We started on the staircase/escalators that connect the top and bottom floors of the building. The distinctive zigzag shape they create allows for some very visually interesting posing and compositions. We also introduced a bit of color into the otherwise neutral background when we silhouetted Lyndsay and Troy against a bright blue circle of light.
Engagement Photos in Multiverse
From there, we took the couple down to the subterranean tunnel that connects the National Gallery of Art’s East Building to its sibling to the west. Running the length of that space is an installation that is one of the museum’s main attractions. “Multiverse,” a futuristic work by Leo Villareal, is a silver metal half-tube fitted with thousands of little lights. The latter illuminate in dazzling and intricate patterns, much to the delight of the museum visitors who ride the moving walkway that passes through the installation. Needless to say, Multiverse is a great spot for really creative engagement portraits!
The space is not always the easiest to use for engagement pictures, however. Many of the best angles and compositions for Multiverse engagement photos require that the couple be on the moving walkway. Which means, of course, that we can only take a limited number of shots before they drift past us. Which means the couple usually has to ride the walkway several times. In what was quickly becoming a theme of the photoshoot, though, Lyndsay and Troy were patient and cheerful throughout. No matter how many times we asked them to hop on the walkway just one last time, they were always happy to do it. Fortunately, the reward for their patience was some stunning portraits of the lights twinkling around them as they embraced!
Intimate Engagement Portraits in the National Gallery of Art West Building
Multiverse led us to the second half of the National Gallery of Art’s indoor space: the West Building. As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, this part is the repository for the museum’s more conventional artwork. While those pieces and installations don’t always make the best settings for engagement photos, the West Building does have its plusses.
For starters, it has a couple of gorgeous, flower-filled fountains that are great for portraits with layered compositions and a more natural vibe. The best part is that one fountain is a bright and open atrium, while another is in a darkier, moodier room. So getting similar shots with very different feels is very easy. And exactly what we did with Lyndsay and Troy! We started with some wider-angle portraits in the darker space with them illuminated in the background. Then we moved to the airier area and got closer-up pictures of them framed in the curve of the fountain there.
The West Building also has lots of benches and little nooks that are perfect for intimate images of couples cuddling together. We had Lyndsay and Troy sit on a bench in the aforementioned atrium and snuggle up close to one another. The pictures that we took of them sharing those private moments were some of the sweetest of the entire session. They also did a great job of revealing important elements of Lyndsay’s and Troy’s personalities as individuals and as a couple.
A Few More US Capitol Engagement Photos
We exited the museum on the National Mall side and stopped to take some expansive images of the couple on the steps leading down to Madison Dr NW. The soaring neoclassical columns at the entrance added a grandeur and very “DC” feel to those photos. We then noticed that the small terrace to the side of the steps offered another superb view of the US Capitol. It also has some lovely green shrubbery that allowed us to add a bit of color and nature to the pictures. To vary things up a bit, we decided to work Lyndsay’s engagement ring into her US Capitol engagement photos. So we adjusted the posing to bring that gorgeous piece of jewelry into the foreground. The result? Ring shots with a classically Washington vibe!
Creative Outdoor National Gallery of Art DC Engagement Photos to Close Out the Session
Though we very much wanted to let Lyndsay and Troy get out of the cold, we couldn’t resist making one last stop. The courtyard between the East and West Buildings have some one-of-a-kind features that expand creative possibilities. In that space are a series of glass pyramids that rise out of the concrete. I.M. Pei, the renowned designer of the East Building, created these distinctive structures. They presage the perhaps more famous glass pyramid that Pei later designed in the Louvre courtyard.
More importantly for adding creativity to engagement photos at the National Gallery of Art, though, are the glass surfaces. They bounce reflections off of one another in fun and interesting ways. Positioning a couple in the middle of the pyramids allows for some very cool angles and perspectives. Which is why we asked Lyndsay and Troy to brave the cold for just a few more minutes. We’d like to think that the unique and offbeat portraits we create for them made it all worth it!
Thank you again for your patience, Lyndsay and Troy! We loved taking your engagement portraits and are so excited to document the next chapter in your love story!
Contact Us for More Information!
Interested in learning more about our services? Please visit our Wedding Photography FAQ page for answers to all your questions! Ready to inquire about our availability on your wedding date? Contact us now to get the conversation started!