Engagement Session in the Woods in Northern Virginia
Potok's World Photography

Engagement Session in the Woods in Northern Virginia

In addition to being DC wedding photographers, we are also animal lovers. We have two beautiful cats that we absolutely adore and have done a fair amount of pet photography. For that reason, we understand when Washington-based fiancés and newlyweds want to include their furry friends in couples portraits. If our cats were more cooperative, we certainly would have posed with them for the portraiture we have had done!

In fact, we do not just understand the desire to bring pets to an engagement photo shoot, we encourage it! When spouses-to-be ask us whether bringing their pets is a good idea, we always say yes! Dogs in particular can be a great addition to any couples portrait session in the DC metro area. Any good Washington, DC, wedding photographer knows that.

For starters, man’s best friend invariably looks as cute as can be in photographs. Who does not love pictures featuring adorable canines and their sweet faces? The second reason why we advise fiancés and newlyweds to include their dogs in their engagement photographs is more subtle. In an indirect way, pictures of future spouses with their pets says a lot about their relationship.

Brides and grooms hire us as their DC wedding photographers to document their love story. In the couple of days that we are taking their pictures, we need to be able encapsulate their entire history. Though their couples portraits capture a brief moment in their relationship, they should give insight into their entire time together. The looks they exchange on film should communicate the depth of their feelings for one another. Their body language should reveal a comfort level being in each other’s arms developed over many embraces.

Posing for their engagement photos with pets adds an extra dimension to the story told in those images. Getting a cat or dog is typically a significant step in a relationship between two people. It is a joint responsibility that the couple assumes and that binds them together to a degree. In many cases, adopting a pet is a precursor to making more lasting commitments to one another. Many Washington-based couples get engaged within months or a year of getting a cat or dog together.

That is exactly what these particular fiancés did in the years before the groom-to-be popped the question. Once their relationship had reached a certain point, they adopted two lovely dogs. They quickly became treasured members of their household.

For that reason, the spouses-to-be wanted their two pets to be a part of their engagement photo session. As we were discussing the shoot with them, we made sure to select a venue that could accommodate dogs. An outdoor location seemed like the safest choice, so we looked at various parks in the Washington, DC, metro area.

Fortunately, the area of Northern Virginia where we and the couple live is filled with beautiful nature preserves and parks. There are acres of wooded areas that are perfect for outdoor wedding and engagement shoots. The one we selected for this particular photo session was the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. That popular biking and running path starts near the border between Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia. It then passes nearly 50 miles northwest through the Northern Virginia portion of suburban Washington, DC. Though the park around the W&OD Trail is never much more than 100 feet wide, it is filled with lovely forests. That makes it a great spot for a Washington, DC, wedding photographer to take outdoor couples portraits.

Once we and these future spouses arrived at a spot along the trail, they let their canine friends run free for a little bit. While the dogs frolicked, we took some pictures of the fiancés posing by themselves. After the pooches tired themselves out a bit, they were less distractible and more amenable to being posed. So the bride- and groom-to-be put them back on the leashes, and we arranged the group. We wanted the fiancés focused on their pets, but we also wanted connection between the two humans. To achieve that, we had the future spouses look at the dogs. At the same time, we made sure that they were connected by touch. Her hand on his arm indicates the tenderness that they feel for one another.

Location: Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park, Washington and Old Dominion Trail, Arlington, VA 22206.

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