Are you looking for a Washington, DC, venue where you can get interesting, unique and different engagement photos taken? If so, then we would recommend the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum. In our experience as DC wedding photographers, these spaces are two of the best locations in downtown Washington for unforgettable images.
The museums are co-located in the old Patent Office Building — an elegant historical landmark near the National Mall. They are part of the extensive network of Smithsonian museums scattered throughout downtown Washington, DC. Future brides and grooms love these venues because they offer something for every taste.
For art lovers, the National Portrait Gallery has corridor after corridor of lovely paintings of icons of American history. That DC-based museum’s mission is to tell America’s story through the faces of those who have shaped its history. As such, it is filled with beautiful tributes to those historical giants.
For those who appreciate the offbeat, the American Art Museum houses very eclectic installations that really liven up engagement photography. It is the country’s first museum dedicated uniquely to the preservation of American art. As part of that mission, the institution celebrates artists and works that speak about the American experience. It also aims to represent the incredible diversity of our nation and its artists. It does so by displaying contemporary crafts, modern folk and self-taught art, American impressionist paintings, African-American art, Latino art, New Deal art, works from the Gilded Age and video games.
DC wedding photographers appreciate these two Smithsonian museums because of the wealth of photographic possibilities that they offer. It is almost as though they were designed for pictures of couples in love. The National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum are filled with private nooks that are perfect for cuddling. They also have lots of long corridors that can be used to create leading lines that draw the eye to the fiancés. The American Art Museum’s sculptures can also be used to frame the spouses-to-be in visually pleasing ways. In short, wedding and engagement photographers have lots of opportunities to get creative when taking pictures in those two venues.
Pushing creative boundaries is much easier for a Washington, DC, wedding photographer when their clients have a playful side. Future brides and grooms who are willing to loosen up and get silly are often rewarded with spectacular portraiture. Those qualities were something that we appreciated about these lovely DC spouses-to-be. We loved that they were game for everything we suggested!
We started in their engagement photo shoot in the National Portrait Gallery. We took the couple up to a long, two-story hallway on the top floor of the building. The future spouses first posed in the middle of the corridor for some dramatic wide-angle portraits. We then ducked into one of the many gallery rooms adjoining the main hallway. While there, we took some photos of the couple cuddling and admiring one of the portraits displayed within. The fiancés then went up to the second floor of the chamber. We captured some gorgeous images of them embracing in a portico that opens to a spacious atrium. Before they came back down to the main floor, we took some additional photographs of them framed in an open window in the wall. That is where we produced this beautiful image of them lovingly touching foreheads.
Afterwards, we proceeded to the American Art Museum half of the building. We got some lovely images of the couple near some of the larger installations. Our favorites featured them posing beneath a painting with lines resembling the letter “M.”
We finished the engagement session in the Kogod Courtyard, the highlight of a recent renovation to the building. Occupying the space between the two museums, the courtyard has a beautiful, undulating window canopy. The latter allows plenty of natural light to illuminate the space, making it a beautiful space for engagement photography. We took a few wide-angle pictures of the couple there and then departed, vowing to come back again soon!
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