Caitlyn and Patrick’s Fall Engagement Photography in Washington, D.C. (plus a peek into how I approach engagement portraits)

I met Caitlyn a few years ago when I lived in Boston, and she became one of my dearest friends while I lived in that city. We have stayed in touch after moving across the country from each other, and after she got engaged, I was thrilled when she asked me to photographer her engagement pictures.

Some time ago she also left Boston and moved to Washington, D.C. where she could complete her PhD to be a psychologist and be closer to her fiance Patrick, who does comedy and writes for a television channel.

I love getting to photograph people I really care about, and was thrilled by the prospect of doing their engagement session - after planning with them on the phone, we decided that I’d spend a long weekend with Caitlyn and Patrick, and photograph them over the course of two days so we could document some of their favorite things about their neighborhood and this chapter of their life. My time there doubled as an adventure for me, and it was delightful to be around them and their dry humor and wit (and honestly, I spent most of the weekend laughing with them).

When talking through vision for an engagement session, one of the first things I discuss with couples is whether they’re more drawn to a lifestyle or portrait approach to sessions. A lot of couples end up doing a combination and incorporating elements of both styles, but it really helps to talk through their vision and preferences by talking through these two approaches.

With a lifestyle approach I structure the session around a real activity that my clients love to do, documenting an everyday part of their life.  I still offer some posing direction/guidance, but there is more of a focus on creating a time capsule of an authentic activity for them. In the past I have documented couples cooking a meal together at home, dates in parks or at breweries, and hikes on favorite trails with beloved dogs.

In a session with a portrait approach, we choose a beautiful setting for the session  and their portraits focus on their relationship, dynamic, and the love they share. This approach tends to be a little more directed and there are more pictures of couples looking at each other, and looking at the camera, documenting their relationship and emotions and connection.

As I talked about these ideas with Caitlyn and Patrick, they suggested doing a medley of the lifestyle and portraits approaches. They love their neighborhood, Adams Morgan, and spend a lot of time there. So we did more portrait style pictures of them walking around this space that has provided such a big sense of place for them and focused on the love between them.

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Then we visited a favorite, super cozy coffee shop with a great vibe where we did more lifestyle focused portraits. I told them to have a little date and enjoy the moment. They ordered coffee and talked while I took lifestyle and candid pictures. I directed them at times, but mostly I just let them have time together and documented it.

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A large park nearby with trails and vibrant fall color made for an additional opportunity to take more portrait focused pictures again. There is a lot of focus on Caitlyn and Patrick in this space and the dynamic between the two of them. We had beautiful light, and I love how atmospheric, warm and lovely these portraits are.

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As a full collection, I love how all of these photos from Caitlyn and Patrick’s session feel so natural and true to them - the  medley of lifestyle and portrait pictures mix really beautifully to document this time in their lives.

Caitlyn and Patrick, thank you for hosting me in Washington, D.C. I loved all of the coffee, all of the laughing, catching up, and seeing the beautiful life you’re building together. It was an honor to document your love and relationship and made me so happy to spend time with you both!

Alyssa L-K