DC Themed Engagement Shoot

Engagement Sneak Peek: Lindsay & Zach’s Washington, DC Memorials Shoot

 

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of taking engagement photos for close friends Lindsay & Zach. Taking engagement photos for close friends as a ‘professional’ is always difficult – you have to walk the fine line between knowing what the couple wants separate from your friendship with them. Thankfully, this wasn’t an issue in what turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous morning engagement shoot.

We’d postponed the shoot from the summer to capture the changing leaves around the monuments and memorials as the couple is planning a fall wedding at one of my favorite venues, the Inn at Willow Grove.

I’m so glad we waited. We shot these on the morning of Halloween just at and after sunrise. In my opinion, there’s no better time to take pictures at the memorials. Not only do you get the gorgeous ‘golden hour’ light, but you have the advantage of seeing DC as it was meant to be seen – without hordes of tourists! We weren’t the only ones who had this idea – there was at least one other couple taking their save-the-date shots this morning, as well as a large group of young ROTC students from nearby universities. You can see their yellow and blue uniforms in some of the photos. I think this made it kind of patriotic and fun – don’t you?

Washington Monument Engagement Shoot - NickMcKetaPhoto.com

 But I digress…on to the shoot. Lindsay and Zach did so much right for this shoot. She chose a gorgeous jewel-toned dress that was classic and figure-flattering yet with just enough interest and fun details (blue shoes!) that it would offer something fun to photograph. Zach looked nice in a well-fitted suit.

DC Engagement Shoot - NickMcKetaPhoto.com

We chose the Lincoln Memorial for the first setting. While the light wasn’t quite bright enough to yield any great pictures inside the memorial itself, I love the shots taken from the steps, which offer up a great classic view of the tidal basin, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol in the background. Lindsay & Zach were able to be nice and loose and natural, despite the cold temperatures (we’ll get to that in a minute) and I love some of the more ‘candid’ shots we were able to get.

 

But the real magic happened as the sun came out and we were setting up our next set of shots by a group of trees. The light hit just right and we got these gorgeous shots as tests. Despite the fact that Lindsay & Zach were were all bundled up … they ended up using the shot below for their save the date because they liked the light so much! We love it – it’s natural and shows their true laid-back personalities.

 

Next, we moved over to one of my favorite new spots in DC at the request of Zach. The Albert Einstein Memorial sits outside of the National Academy of Sciences and offers a fun secondary backdrop. We got some great shots where Lindsay & Zach look so natural and relaxed. I think they knew the hard part was over!

My advice for couples looking to stage a similar shoot? Come early – seriously, it’s worth getting up before dawn to get great light and a more quiet setting. Sunset photos could also be fun, but the monuments and memorials are often quite crowded at that time. Wear a coat or ‘in-between’ look that you’re happy with … if I see a great shot, I’ll make sure to capture it, even if you aren’t in your ‘final’ outfit. Last – seek out a photographer that you are comfortable with. Some of the best shots from this shoot came because Lindsay & Zach felt relaxed and natural. With every engagement shoot I schedule, I’ll get an in-person meeting before we do our first set of photos if possible so that we can spend some time getting to know one another – this quick first meeting can go a long way towards making the final product the best it can be!

There were lots of great snaps from this shoot - see some of my favorite below. Don't forget to stay tuned for part two of the shoot, coming soon - we are planning some additional casual shots near their home in Clarendon, inspired by this fun engagement shoot our friends Lexie and Andrew did several years ago in DC.
Cushion Cut Engagement Ring in Leaves - NickMcKetaPhoto.com



Fall Photos

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler.  People are trading in their flip-flops and shorts for sweaters and boots.  Fall has come and as a photographer, I can not be more excited.  Summer is great for getting pictures of friends and vacations, but I prefer the colors and smells of Autumn.

Just some leaves covering up an old white fence.

Just some leaves covering up an old white fence.

Baby Pumpkins getting ready for next Fall!

Baby Pumpkins getting ready for next Fall!

This is one of the first pictures I ever took with a DSLR.  

This is one of the first pictures I ever took with a DSLR.  

Of course, no Fall season is complete without a trip to a Renaissance Fair.  Being with friends, drinking grog, and people watching checks off just about everything I want in my perfect day.  While very few of these I would consider "artsy" they are reminders of what makes these fairs so great.  Hovering over the images will provide a brief description of each one.

Air Shows

The following pictures were taken at Andrews Air Force Bases Joint Service Open House.  The show, sadly, has been canceled due to budget cuts, but here are some of my favorite pictures that I took while attending the show.

You can cycle between the images using your arrow keys.

I liked how the instrument panel(s), as well as the older planes looked in black and white.  I feel it gave them more of a classic look.

It took some time and patience, but I feel the picture of the P-51 (the second picture) is one of my favorites from the show.  I waited around the plane for the patron's to clear out and for the "pilot" to be inspecting his craft.   

Here are some more colorful images of modern aviation.  You can scroll through with your arrow keys, and when you hover over each image, it will display a write up about each picture.

Pet Photos

Introducing Oliver the Dog!!  He is a Long Haired, miniature cream Dachshund, and he wants nothing more in the world than to lie on your lap and be an attention hog.  He is the newest addition to our family, and he will be the subject of many photos in the future.  Here are some pictures taken on our recent adventure in a park across the street.

Dogs love their toys.  Before going out on a shoot with one, bring some 'squeakies' to draw their attention.

Dogs love their toys.  Before going out on a shoot with one, bring some 'squeakies' to draw their attention.

Have you ever seen a dog look happier than this one does in this picture?

Have you ever seen a dog look happier than this one does in this picture?

Look at those floppy ears!!

Look at those floppy ears!!

He's a little tired after doing some running around.  Nothing a little shade and some creative placement in high-grass can't cure.

He's a little tired after doing some running around.  Nothing a little shade and some creative placement in high-grass can't cure.

A little black and white for some artistic flair.  He looks like he's nesting.

A little black and white for some artistic flair.  He looks like he's nesting.

#FriFotos

Those of you that follow me on Twitter (@NickMcKetaPhoto) know that I am at my most active on Fridays with “FriFotos”.  Its a very simple concept: Tuesday a theme is announced, and on Friday, twitters from around the world share their pictures with the hash tag of “FriFotos”. 

When I decided to become more professional with my photography, I knew I had to get more involved in social networking.  I had a personal Twitter account, but didn't know the difference between @ and #. I wanted to share my thoughts and photographs, I just didn’t now how to go about it.  My girlfriend taught me the basics of "Proper Twitter format and etiquette", gave me a few pointers on what to and not to tweet (this is my 'professional' account after-all), and sent me on my way.  

It was a little intimidating at first, but like everything else, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.  The first time I had something re-tweeted I felt like a kid on christmas morning!  I believe the theme for that particular week was #brick.  

#Brick  The first Frifotos image I had retweeted!

#Brick  The first Frifotos image I had retweeted!

Frifotos also gives me a chance to look back at some of my 'older' pictures.  I see them all the time while looking for something in particular,  but don't really look at them with any kind of purpose.  But, when I'm told "This week's theme will be #Night", I'm able to look through and realize how many decent night shots I actually have in my collection.  Suddenly, all those thousands and thousands of images on my hard drives aren't so 'random'.  

Bonus: It also gives me another 'tag' in which to sort my images!

Every week I get to see fun pictures taken from all over the world.  There have been some gorgeous destinations, really great poses, and more importantly, great ideas shared in this ever growing community.  While I need to tweet more frequently, I think I have Fridays covered.

DC in Snow - 2014

Reports of “Stay inside and off the roads” filled the television on the thirteenth of February.  I took that to mean go driving.  For those not in the Washington DC area, the nationals capital is not prepared to handle an inch of snow, let alone the mini ‘Blizzard of 2014’.

Knowing that the roads would be bad, but empty, I took the opportunity to enjoy something that does not happen very often, a quiet District of Columbia.  Here are the pictures from my ‘adventure’.

This was the first “real” picture I took of the day.  I say “real” because I did technically take a few practice shots of my girlfriend making a very delicious peanut butter cheese cake.  I would share the picture of that, but I devoured it.  Thanks honey!  Anyway….

Snow_DC-34.jpg

Before I could even get to my car, I saw this fire hydrant.  I liked how it looked there, partially buried in the freshly falling snow, with the mounds of snow form the tractors behind it.   

While deciding where to go, I was listening to a local sports talk show.  The Nationals Pitchers and Cathers had reported for spring training earlier in the day (in Florida) and I thought “How fitting!  They are having fun in the sun while its winter in full swing here.  I need to get a picture of this!  So, Here is a few pictures from Nationals Stadium.  Too bad it was so dreary out, but I liked the way some of these turned out.  If nothing else, it sparked my Natitude! 

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Next on the my list was to hit up the Capital Building.  I thought that on a day where the city was shut down, it would be easy to find parking.  It wasn’t.  Every where I looked there were road closing, and cops at the corner saying “you can’t park here”.  I finally managed to get a spot (right by the National Mall!!) and started to walk about the area.  Turns out, lots of people had the same idea as me, as evident by the amount of snowmen on the field!  I have to say, some people are pretty creative and skilled with snow, the sculptors of “Two feet of Snow” even got interviewed by the weather channel!   

Two feet of snow.  Get it?!

Two feet of snow.  Get it?!

Next I wanted to hit up the Lincoln and Korean War Memorial.  I wish I had a little better lighting, as I would have really liked to catch the reflection of the sunset off the wall or as  more light bounced off the snow, but I’m pretty happy with how this series developed.


The Lincoln memorial is completely protected by the elements, so there wasn’t very many neat things I could do with him.  Plus, there was a fair amount of tourists there and they were getting in the way.  I did manage to get this neat “smoke” like effect when I tried to use my flash to get his picture though, so there is that.  

"Over the meadow and through the woods...."

"Over the meadow and through the woods...."

Walking back to my car I noticed this refreshment stand.  With the night sky getting darker and the snow fall and the bright lights on in the window, it reminded me of grandma’s house as a little kid.  You now, running in to get some hot cocoa after being cold and wet after playing outside all day. 



I startled these geese with my clomping .  I’ve never been accused of being stealthy.

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That wraps up my shoot (and my first blog post on this topic).  Feel free to leave feedback on the article and/or any of the images you have seen.