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