There is one element that plays a role in a lot of the most memorable DC engagement photos. It is not something that appears in any photography course or manual. In fact, many a Washington DC wedding photographer is reluctant to admit that it matters.
The component we are referring to is luck. Sometimes it takes unexpected occurrences or surprisingly favorable conditions to turn a pretty good picture into something unforgettable. DC wedding photographers can get every part of a portrait right — lighting, composition, posing, the moment — but it still might need an extra spark to really be great. Sometimes a scene needs a little “je ne sais quoi” to set it apart.
Sunrise and sunset pictures of fiancés or newlyweds are great examples of how much luck can matter to DC wedding photographers. For a sky to light up with beautiful colors, the conditions need to be just right. For starters, there must be clouds.
Without them, the sun’s rays do little more than turn a bit of the horizon orange. The day, however, cannot be overcast. If it is, the sun will obviously not illuminate anything. Next, the clouds also have to be in the right position. They should be on the same side of the sky as the sun. The latter will light up clouds in other parts of the sky, but generally not in a particularly glorious fashion. Finally, the clouds cannot block the horizon. The sun needs space and a low angle to be able to light the scene with reds, yellows and oranges.
This confluence of circumstances does not always occur, obviously. If even one element does not cooperate, the sunrise or sunset will not be much to look at. Many a Washington DC wedding and engagement photographer has arrived at a portrait session only to be disappointed by the sky. When that has happened to us, we have simply found other ways to give our couples beautiful photography. But those experiences have reminded us that even when we plan a shoot meticulously, we often have to adjust midstream.
More often than not, though, our luck during portrait sessions has been good. We have been fortunate to have our photographs of couples like you enhanced by happy happenstances on many occasions. Over time, we have learned to just be ready with our cameras when those fortuitous surprises occur. We will certainly be prepared for those moments during your engagement session or wedding!
The picture featured on this webpage is a perfect example of the results of that approach. This future bride and groom hired us to do their engagement shoot a few weeks before their nuptials. The Georgetown Waterfront had long been one of their favorite spots in the Nation’s Capital. In fact, they exchanged their wedding vows on a Potomac River cruise that embarked from that DC area’s pier. Because of their love of this part of Washington, they also wanted their engagement portraits done there.
We started at Sequoia, a swanky waterside restaurant where the spouses-to-be would later host their post-wedding dinner. We then brought the fiancés along the river to Georgetown Waterfront Park. While there, we got some beautiful images of them embracing with the sun dipping below the horizon behind them. The tall trees of Theodore Roosevelt Island proved to be a great background for those portraits. They offered a rare bit of greenery in an otherwise urban landscape.
It was at that point that we have the aforementioned stroke of luck that transformed the pictures from great to unforgettable. As we strolled along the boardwalk, we happened upon a salsa dancing class practicing their moves next to the water. The future bride and groom were so inspired by the scene that they decided to join in. They took each other’s hands, pulled one another close and began swaying to the beat. They quickly became a part of the scene.
This turned the scene into a dream tableau for DC wedding photographers like us. By setting our camera apertures to a wide-open position, we were able to focus on the couple and blur the other dancers. That provided a wonderful sense of them being in their own world even when surrounded by a crowd. The expressions on their faces add to that feeling. They are laughing and in love -- clearly no one else there matters. The visible presence of the dance class in the photo, however, gave the entire scene much-needed context. The result was a truly memorable engagement portrait. One that would not have happened without a little luck!DC engagement session (6), Georgetown waterfront engagement (3).
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