This Spring Washington, DC engagement session at Lincoln Memorial features Cherry Blossoms and a handsome Weimaraner named Duke! This lovely session showcases Samantha & Brendyn’s classic style as Sam was stunning in a navy blue floral mini-dress which paired perfectly Brendyn’s crisp charcoal grey suit and navy tie.
When I tell you “the pressure was on” I mean I had actual nightmares and woke up in a frantic sweat leading up to this session.
Samantha and Brendyn, who are also learning all of the behind-the-scenes terrors of this story as you read it here, are originally from Indiana and booked me for their 2022 wedding. After booking, Sam said “we actually have an engagement session planned for the Cherry Blossom bloom with a local photographer but we understand how important the engagement session with you is so we will plan one sometime when we’re back home!” But if you know me at all, Spring blossoms and flower-obsessed, I had to convince her to have me out to DC.
I told with Sam “paying for my flight will probably cost the same as hiring the local photographer plus as an added bonus, your engagement photos will be consistent with your wedding photos.” Thankfully, she agreed! So I booked my flight in December for the scheduled date, March 20, 2021.
** NOTE: The Cherry Blossoms are a whole thing. People travel from around the world to see the peak bloom and the dates have ranged anywhere from March 15 to April 10 and only last about a week! Learn more here where I studied about these beautiful blooming trees!
This is where nightmares set in ? I have to assume that Samantha had been dreaming of a Cherry Blossom engagement session since probably before she was engaged when they moved out there! So I knew I had to deliver. Having never been to D.C., I had to STUDY REMOTELY the areas where she wanted to shoot to figure out lighting and location. (I use Google Maps quite a bit and an app called Sun Seeker to explore an area before shooting!) So I did all that, looked at other photographers photos and knew how I wanted to execute this once in a lifetime session! Still pretty stressed but at least I’ve got a game plan and would have to trust my education and knowledge of photography once I got there.
Well, guess what… No blooms. Of course, God wasn’t going to bless me with this glorious opportunity to shoot in D.C. without making it difficult on me! Leading up to the session, Cherry Blossoms weren’t bloomed. And they weren’t expected to be bloomed when I got there. And as I write this, CHERRY BLOSSOMS STILL HAVEN’T BLOOMED. But I’m not one for going down without a fight. I worked my tail off to utilize any and all resources I had to find some blooms for their session without even being in the same state.
I’m telling you, the night before a sunrise shoot, I’m up until 11:30 or later still searching for blooms and planning out where we’ll be going for this shoot! #stressed (we didn’t have a lot of time to just “drive around” and find them and that’s just not efficient!)
So I stalked Instagram hashtags, geo-locations and other people spotting blooms and THANK YOU SO MUCH Caity, a new photographer friend who I met through an educator and used to live in DC, she spotted some blooms on an IG story and she helped me find where this ONE TREE-LINED PATH of an early blooming breed of Cherry Blossoms was at! These trees actually photograph much more colorful than the other trees anyway!
Lighting was definitely less than ideal for me but I took the education I have learned and taught Brendyn how to “body block” (which he is now a total pro at!) and we got GORGEOUS images that I am so proud of!!!
Alright, so now to tell you about my sweet couple! Sam and Bren were NATURALS in front of the camera. So with normal shoots at sunset, the light is best at the end. So throughout the whole shoot I am taking my time to get them comfortable, teaching them my posing system and getting to know them through light conversation. Well, sunrise shoots are completely opposite.
So as soon as we got to the Reflecting Pool at the National Mall, I threw some quick info at them, little bits of info to help them know what to expect during the session. Oh, did I mention it was 30 degrees? So, I said “ya know, let’s just wing it!”. OH and we were working with Duke — the perfect storm — Rushing to pose, a restless pup and 30-degree temps… it was a bit stressful … BUT THEY KILLED IT. The first image below was like the first 10 frames. Look at how perfect they are!!
Remember Brittany and Brandon from the fall?
Samantha and Brittany are sisters!! Beauty definitely runs in the family! I can’t wait to see this sweet couple in October at the Botts’ wedding at Laurel Hall! If I’m lucky, I’ll get to shoot all the Wright sisters’ weddings!! ???
I can already imagine how gorgeous Samantha will be next June. She is STUNNING! Brains and beauty… Brendyn, you really hit the jackpot! Enjoy my favorites from this DC blossom engagement session!
What a handsome boy!!
I really had the hardest time not putting all these Lincoln Memorial photos in black and white!! It’s such a classic vibe and B&W just looks so CLASSY!
SAMANTHA, YOU ARE STUNNING!!
I can’t get over this one — I mean, it’s like she has a Beyonce stage fan in front of her! No, she was not walking, that’s just windblown hair perfection.
I don’t know what it is about this one below but I’m obsessed with it — Maybe it’s because I think Brendyn looks like a badass spy, walking away from an explosion or something… got his girl by his side and his trusty sidekick, Duke — I don’t know but I love it.
I mean, does this not look like the final scene of a movie where the guy gets his girl?!
Anywho… ONTO THE BLOOMS!!! A quick stop at a patch of daffodils before we get to the grand finale
I am so thankful to have my oldest friend, Abby, on this trip with me! She was my little helper during my session and it was her idea to shake the tree and OMG, IT WAS MAGIC!!!
MAGIC, I tell ya!! If I don’t hear from Sam that this is framed in her home I’ll be very surprised lol!
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Courtney Rudicel is an Indiana Wedding Photographer and Educator. Her specialty is fun, colorful & playfully romantic wedding photography for classic and timeless couples and branding photography for boss business owners looking to enhance their overall brand with compelling imagery that tells their story. Within Indiana, she serves Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Lafayette, Bloomington and South Bend. Areas in surrounding states that she serves: Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, Ohio; Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is available for destination weddings, engagements, and branding sessions. Contact her for more detailed pricing.