Emily and Johnny’s Spring Engagement Photography at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

From some of our first conversations, Emily and Johnny always envisioned the fresh and colorful season of spring as the backdrop for their engagement portraits at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Although we started planning their session back in the winter, we held off on deciding an exact date until we could see how the spring foliage progressed - when my couples are looking for something specific like blooming flowers or changing leaves, I always suggest touching base as the season approaches to best time their sessions - rather than try to predict mother nature. We touched base throughout the spring season and ended up with a session in mid-May at the height of the blooming trees; our coordination totally paid off to bring out their vision. 

The arboretum greeted us with an abundance of buds and blooms. It is such a vast space, and I love the variety of natural elements it provides (it’s also where I got married, so I am a little biased and always enjoy getting to shoot there). The day of our session, I got to the arboretum a little early to scope out the light, foliage, and flowers to find what was looking beautiful right then before meeting up with Emily and Johnny.

Emily and Johnny wanted pictures that would feel intimate and sweet, as well as some pictures that would be playful and happy. They  have an energy and feeling of fun about them, so I wanted to show their goofy sides, too. I offered some direction as they were being photographed so they would feel comfortable and not too stiff or staged, but also allowed them to be themselves and feel natural and candid at the same time. 

We started with pictures under a row of trees with white blossoms that added a dapply background bokeh texture in portraits. I love Emily’s smile, looking up at the trees in this one. 

A really beautiful lilac area was the perfect setting for a detail-photo of Emily’s engagement ring and for a loving photo of them looking at each other under the purple blossoms. From there, we wandered to an area with some crabapple trees that felt so light and ethereal. As we walked through the arboretum we experienced a good variety of those flowery blossoms Emily and Johnny wanted represented in their pictures. 

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Some of my favorite portraits came from an unexpected area of towering pine trees with long, drapey branches. There was really beautiful sunlight coming through the trees behind Emily and Johnny and a little bench for them to sit - I love the richness and warmth in these portraits.

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One of my favorite pictures from their session is this black and white one where Johnny is kissing Emily’s cheek as she laughs. They have a really happy, goofy side, and I love all the elements of them enjoying each other’s silliness and sweetness here.

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We also took a few pictures near their future wedding ceremony garden at the arboretum, and that was a fun spot to visit in anticipation of their wedding day. As we wrapped up their session we found a greenhouse to explore that was home to succulents of all shapes and sizes which made for some different textures and colors in their photos. 

Emily and Johnny, thank you for celebrating the season of spring with me, and for a beautiful morning wandering at the arboretum. It was so fun to explore the grounds with you and see you so in love with each other!

Alyssa L-K