DC Wedding Engagement Photographers: Manya & Michael at the National Arboretum

Two dreamers, so different, yet one single soul– you won’t want to miss this sweet, romantic DC engagement at the National Arboretum
Manya and Michael reached out to me looking for a wedding photographer who would satisfy their diverse photography desires.  Manya was looking for images that were creative, unique and artistic.   Michael wanted images that were candid and natural, yet executed with a meticulous eye for detail.
Manya shared, “You are a perfect fit for our different styles… that, along with your sense of humor and personality really sealed the deal for us.”
The image above shows a more artistic image that I’m imagining will appeal to Manya’s sensibilities– it is ethereal, artistic and truly unique.   The image below is candid, yet polished which I am thinking Michael will really appreciate, that along with how it captures Manya’s flowing red locks…
I like capturing an eclectic mix of photographs for my couples so providing a wide variety of images for Manya and Michael was right up my alley!  Here is a more traditional portrait  of the two of them.  I like how genuinely happy they are in this photograph…
Manya is an artist by avocation, she is outgoing, gregarious and a total night owl.  In contrast, Michael is logical, meticulous, an engineer by training and more of an “early bird” and introvert.  I like to capture photos that show a couple’s unique dynamics and personality and was inspired by these two!
I played with this concept a bit by placing them on opposing sides of the frame in this photo.  Manya appears confident and out-going while you can see a more reserved side of Michael.
Haaaa more fun with the same idea.  Opposites attract…
Manya shared, “We have found that these differences allow us to see the whole picture and give insight to one another when discussing issues of the day, visiting museums, going to parties, basically living life.  We have broadened each other’s world view, which has been wonderful”  Michael added, “Manya’s perspective on life makes me a better person.”
While they have different personalities, they share the same sense of humor, which is what made Manya realize that she truly loved Michael.  I really like this photo because you can see how happy they are together and how much they make each other laugh!

dc-creative-unique-best-wedding-engagement-photographers-national-arboretum-photos-3Manya shared, “What I love most about Michael is his genuine kindness, intelligence and humor.  He makes me feel loved- quirks and all, safe to be myself and even cherished.”
I think those sentiments really come across in this next photograph.  I really like its’ vibrant colors as well:
Michael reminisced, “Our First Date….. I had arrived early….as in 20 minutes early and was nervously walking around the neighborhood despite it being below freezing.”
He saw Manya and was awestruck– she was a knock-out, wearing a leather pencil shirt and a flowing mane of red hair.  Manya added, “I was playing for keeps.” 😉
Manya’s hair is stunning and I made sure to capture it throughout.  I liked this winding path and the way the sunlight passed through the leaves, too.
Michael went on, “During our courtship, I had one card to play….sinful decadent desserts.   I had fun making new things, to include a chocolate Babka!!! The test version was brought to work and deemed worthy, so the second batch went to Manya.”
Michael is a gentleman through and through– intelligent, respectful, loyal and head-over-heels in love.  I like this next photo really captures that and the effort he puts into “courting” Manya.  It’s really sweet…
They chose the National Arboretum as the location and it was stunning.  I could have spent all day there, shooting or even on a personal level, I love the outdoors, too!
They chose the arboretum because they visit gardens regularly when traveling (Buchart Gardens in Victoria British Columbia is their favorite).
Despite their love of gardens and living in Washington, D.C., this was the first time they had explored this garden together which was really fun.

Michael shared more about the balance of their relationship, “Despite our differences, as we opened up to each other and got beyond the surface, we found many, many, many similarities in our personalities….both in terms of our strengths, and our vulnerabilities. I am a stronger, better person for having her in my life and for returning my love in kind.”
Manya’s engagement ring is breathtaking.  She shared, “The stone came from the family jeweler, San Francisco Diamond Exchange….When it came time for ring shopping, Michael was in constant contact with Jessica James looking for the perfect diamond. She describes the stone that Michael chose as “a unicorn,” the quality and cut of the stone is so rare that “it almost doesn’t really exist.”
The setting is also completely hand made and unique as well.  Michael noticed these intertwined vines and I placed the ring in the place where all three of them joined together.  I like the organic texture of the weathered vines and the contrast between the geometric patterns and metallic sparkle of the diamond engagement ring.
While I love macro photography, photographing details at a close range, I also enjoy landscapes as well.   I liked this scene and the way the trees create leading lines that draw your eyes to a tiny couple in the background.  If you look closely you will see Manya & Michael.  This photo woudl look amazing as a canvas print!
When choosing their wardrobes for the day, Manya chose items that were comfortable and that could be layered by adding her jacket or scarf.
They also wore neutrals with a pop of color.  Manya loves Michael’s blue eyes, so she made sure that he wore blue.
I love how this photo almost feels like a watercolor painting.  it is not a Photoshop technique, I created it all in camera :).
The vulnerability and trust that these two share and beautiful, they are both so open and affectionate.
Manya shared that she and Michael were both surprised by how much fun they had during their engagement session.
She shared that my approach really lent itself to showing how much they love each other and taking in how happy they are to be marrying one another.
I want to end this blog post with a dramatic image of Manya and Michael silhouetted against the Washington sky along with several columns from the National Arboretum.
The sleek, dark lines make it a perfect end of the evening and may remind Michael of a certain black leather pencil skirt, haha.
Manya and Michael, thank you for sharing your stories with me, it was a pleasure to share them along with your beautiful photos.
I am beyond excited for your Hay-Adams DC wedding next year!   For more DC blog entries click here.

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