Unconventional Engagement Photos in Washington DC
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Unconventional Engagement Photos in Washington DC

Your love story is unique. There are no two people on earth like you and your future spouse. And no two people fell in love the same way. So if you believe (as we do) that your wedding and engagement pictures should tell the world your love story, then why would you opt for standard, cookie-cutter images. Why would you want pictures that look exactly like everybody else’s? How do they communicate how unique your relationship is? No, if you want to show what makes your love special, then go for something different. Go for something that makes people take notice. Go for unconventional engagement photos.

What We Don’t Mean by Unconventional Pictures

Does the word “unconventional” fill you with dread? Does it conjure up images in your head of wacky props, uncomfortable poses and cringeworthy photoshopping? If so, we understand. But before you freak out and go running to another wedding and engagement photography website, let us clarify what we don’t mean by unconventional. We are absolutely NOT talking about gimmicky photos. We are definitely not talking about anything that will land you on a BuzzFeed list of the most embarrassing engagement photos. So no silly costumes, no awkward lifting and no dinosaurs photoshopped in. In 20 years, your kids will laugh enough at your past hairstyles and fashion choices. There is absolutely no need to give them additional ammunition!

What We Do Mean by Unconventional Engagement Photos

Hopefully, we have reassured you that we have no intention of taking cringeworthy pictures of you. (Honestly, we probably hate the ideas mentioned above more than you do!) If you are still with us at this point, then let us explain what we do mean by the word we chose. In our opinion, unconventional engagement photos should be:


More than anything, this is what we think of when we imagine unconventional pictures. Those kinds of photos are different in a good way, something nobody has ever seen before. They are the ones that make you take a closer look when you are scrolling through image after image of couples in love. They have an X-factor, a special element or a look and feel that make you stop and take notice.


Unique engagement photos are nice, but they are essentially meaningless if there is no story behind them. They are unconventional simply for the sake of being unconventional. They are basically candy -- tasty to eat but nothing more than empty calories. So we also believe that unconventional engagement pictures should be personal. They should open a window into who you are as a couple. Someone who has never met you before should get why you are together just by looking at the images.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Wait, aren’t all engagement photos personal?” On the surface, yes. In the sense that they depict two people whose faces are unique to them. But how often do cookie-cutter pictures really show you something about who those people are? How often do they tell you something about their relationship? With conventional engagement photos, you could change the couple posing for them, and the impact would be exactly the same. But when your engagement photographer finds ways to make your photos personal? Then you get images with meaning and depth.


One of the things we dislike most about standard engagement photos is the lack of intimacy you see in so many of them. It sometimes seems as though the people in a picture barely know each other, let alone plan to spend a lifetime together! There is just no connection evident in the scene. And sadly, there are a lot of images out there like that. Think of how many of them you have seen in your search for a photographer. So unfortunately, engagement pictures that are intimate are somewhat unconventional.

So what can you look for to make sure you get engagement photographers who take intimate pictures? Start by noticing where the couples’ eyes are pointed. To us, nothing exemplifies the lack of intimacy in so many conventional pictures more than when one or both subjects are looking directly at the photographer. Those images do a great job of showing the connection between the couple and the camera. What they do not do, though, is highlight the chemistry between the two people who are getting married. You know, that little thing that all engagement photos are supposed to communicate?

Unconventional Image from a DC Engagement Session

The image featured here is a great example of what we are talking about. It checks all three of the boxes we mentioned above. For starters, it is definitely unique. The silhouetting effect makes it more striking and visually interesting than ordinary engagement photos. We created that by setting up flashes behind this couple and aiming it at them. That illuminated the edges of their bodies but left their fronts dark. The end result is an image with bold contrast. The kind you cannot take your eyes off of!

To make the photo personal, we put “gels” (a fancy photographer’s word for pieces of colored plastic) on the lights to change their hue. The light pointed at her was red, and the one at him orange. How did illuminating the couple personalize their image? The bride’s most distinctive feature was her blazing red hair. Illuminating that with a similarly colored light while leaving her face dark highlighted what makes her stand out in a crowd.

That this unconventional engagement photo is intimate should be pretty obvious from the way they are kissing one another. Their kiss is gentle and sweet, with their lips barely touching. Everything about their body language is romantic, loving and tender. Is there any connection with the camera? No way! They seem to be unaware that they are even being photographed!

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Location: U Street Northwest, Washington, DC.

Keywords: DC Engagement Sessions (4).

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