Sam + Alex :: Georgetown + Capitol :: E-session

Sam + Alex :: Georgetown + Capitol :: E-session

:: Work it, Make it, do it, makes us Better, Faster, Stronger :: 

Monday (E-Session Day!)

Today is the day after my birthday; what better way to start the week than with a blog post for my brides, and anyone that needs advice when it comes to engagement sessions.

I get lots of questions regarding engagement sessions; a few of the questions I get are: Why do an engagement session at all? What time is best for engagement photos? What are your favorite locations for engagement photos? what to wear? How do you get the couple to be themselves? How do you make the couple smile? How do you make the couple kiss? These are all very good questions.

Well, I got an e-mail from my very good friends Henry, Jessenia, and Magdiel (Mag) back in April letting me know they were coming to D.C. to test their new cameras (Nikon D4’s), and a few new lenses also from the Nikon line (being a former Nikon user) I got really excited and thought this was perfect since I also wanted to test the new Canon EOS 5D Mark III.  At the same time I wanted to test the new equipment I wanted to answer all those questions I had been getting regarding engagement session so I set out to plan an amazing evening.

The first thing I did was to welcome my friends to my city.  I’ve known Henry and Jessenia for over two years and thanks to them I met Mag and his beautiful wife Leti.  I cannot feel more blessed to have friends as talented and supportive as these three amazing photographers.  The second thing I did was to invite one of my 2012 couples; the lucky couple was the beautiful Sam and her handsome Alex.  I have the honor of being Sam and Alex’s photographer this coming September; and couldn’t be happier when they said YES to my crazy request of coming out with the five of us to Georgetown.

To answer a few of your questions; engagement sessions are the perfect time to meet your photographer, learn his/her style of shooting and feel comfortable in front of a camera(s).  Having said that I can confirm that couples that do have an engagement session feel more comfortable and photograph more naturally the day of the wedding.  Why? because by the time your wedding comes we are already friends – we trust each other! and trust is everything when it comes to wedding photography.  I would highly advise you have an engagement session with your photographer; get to know each other so the day of your wedding you know what to expect from the professional you have chosen to document the most important day in your life.

What time is best for engagement photos? this one is tricky since I live in Northern, VA and Washington, DC is literally my playground.  As you know we have tourists all year round and it’s hard to get our beautiful DC without dozens of people on the background but we manage.  For me, the best time for photos is early in the morning or late in the afternoon.  For my early riser brides the best time would be between 5am and 8am and For my brides that like those sun kissed images that best time for photos would be between 5pm and 6pm.  Avoid going out between 10am and 2pm unless you are going to a beautiful shaded park – still the light is very harsh and photos are not as beautiful.

What are my favorite locations for engagement photos? this one is tough! I like to get to know my couples and send a few questionnaires to learn about them.  My favorite locations would be locations that have meaning to them, locations that I know they definitely want, and/or locations where I KNOW the light is beautiful.  Light is everything for a photographer and I would rather get stunning images at a not so desirable locations with amazing light than ugly photos at a rocking location.  I look at light and lighting patterns before I look at locations.  I can move my couples to beautiful light and work with the background but I cannot work with an amazing background with UGLY light – see what I mean?

What to wear to an engagement session?  My suggestions on what to wear:  I always advise my clients to incorporate their love of their favorite thing or things in their engagement session.  This could be their love for shoes, skirts, headbands, accessories etc… I ask all my clients to bring their favorite things to wear.  I also ask clients to bring comfy shoes for when we walk long distances and remind them to be ready to change into their beautiful heels (if they happen to bring any).

I do tell my clients to wear comfortable clothing.  I do this because if my clients are not comfortable it will definitely show in the pictures.  Most couples bring between 2 and 3 outfit changes; some bring more and let me pick – I definitely like variety.  One thing I would like to point out is that I avoid matching outfits and always advise my clients to compliment one another.  You want them to wear their favorite outfits; something they love to wear and would love to see on photos not just today but for years to come.  I do e-mail my couples ahead of time and tell them to wear something they will not regret seeing in photos in the future:)Remind your clients to have a good time and to think of this engagement session as a “date” and less of smiling to the cameras.  This is my style; and it could be different for other photographers…

How do I get my couples to be themselves/kiss/smile? very good questions… I do send questionnaires to my couples and get to know them before I meet with them.  By the time I get to the engagement session I already know how they met, what they like to do together, their hobbies, and already have an idea of their personalities.  You’ll see what I mean when you see Sam and Alex’s engagement images below…

Meet one of my September couples :: Sam & Alex!

When I first asked Sam and Alex to come out with us I knew that Sam was a little shy.  I also knew that Alex was not shy so I asked him to help me get Sam’s sweet personality out and he did.  It is not hard to photograph couples in-love.  The hardest part is communicating with your couples in-love.  I am not going to say I am a good communicator, but I will say that I am the luckiest girl in the world because “my couples” communicate well with me.  Every photographer knows her/his bride.  My brides are all different but share the most important qualities for me – what are these you ask? for one they like my style of photography.  They also like and want good photography, look natural, and are adventurous.  I am an out of the box kinda girl and my photography is inspired by “YOU”.  If you are Sexy – you’ll get sexy images, if you are sporty – you’ll get sporty inspire images and so forth.  I photograph YOU and try my best at getting that very special side out of you during our engagement sessions.

I was so anxious to look at the images after I got home from Sam and Alex’s e-session.  They had 5 professional photographers with them and I wanted to see if our styles blended well together.  No wonder I’m friends with Henry, Jessenia and Mag – These guys are freaking amazing photographers and photograph the way I do.  You can say we were perfect together; everything was perfect, the couple was perfect, the location couldn’t have been more perfect, and of course the weather was perfect.

I We loved photographing Sam and Alex.  I love Sam’s smile; she’s got that angelic face and personality; which is really who she is.  Alex is outgoing, strong, and so in-love with Sam that it is hard to miss how in tune they are with each other.  My favorite images are the ones of them on the bikes.  It was during this part of the day that I saw this couple shine not as individuals but as a couple.  They are fun, loving, and playful together.  Sam trusts Alex and he looks just so happy to be her prince charming.

The last part of our day was in-front of the Capitol.  I have been wanting to get a couple out there for sometime and Sam and Alex were game.  It was a little cold that April evening but they didn’t care; and together we made those beautiful images in-front our our city’s Capitol Building.

Sam and Alex :: Thank you so much for coming out with us; thank you for letting 5 adventurous photographers capture these beautiful images for you.  Thank you for being you and for trusting Darling Photographers with your wedding day!!!

To my dear husband and friends that came out to do this engagement session with me – This industry we call photography is so much better because you guys are in with me.  I wouldn’t be ME without you.  Thank you for being my friends, for trusting me, and for helping me grow in this industry.  We are better because we help each other and want to be better together – God Bless you!

Special Thanks to: Victor Paumen, Henry Rivera Photography, Jessenia, and Magdiel Sanchez Photography.  You guys made this engagement session and blog post.


P.S. I hope you find this blog post helpful and all your questions answered.

With Love,



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  • henry - June 11, 2012 - 9:59 pm

    Knowing you and Victor has been one of the best things that could of happen to us. Darling, you are a friend that holds a special place in our hearts, you mean so much to us!! Having to go to Virginia and spend time with you and Victor has been a great experience. We can’t thank you enough. Photographing your couple was amazing, they were a great couple to work with. Loved the Mexican Restaurant!!! But the best part of everything was to be able to spent that quality time together.AGAIN THANK YOU FOR THOSE KIND WORDS THEY MEAN ALOT…..ReplyCancel

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