In my job as a freelance food photographer, I am well aware that I have the enviably job of traveling around the Washington, DC area, photographing plates of gorgeous food. Often when I’m on assignment for the Washington Post or other editorial clients, I’m asked to take a portrait of the chef as well.

Chef portraits present a couple of unique challenges. Often when I arrive at the restaurant, it’s my first time there, so I quickly have to assess the light and decide where best to take the portrait. I approach these as portraits of artists, many who aren’t that keen to be in front of the camera. I work to make these as creative as possible, as I do with my couples in their wedding and wedding engagement photos. The chefs have often been photographed many times before so I am looking for new angles and interesting lighting. I’ve collected some of my favorite chef portraits and even more of them can be seen here.

So if you’re looking for advice on where to eat in DC that’s fun and new–get in touch, I’ve got you covered!


Food photography Washington DC Deb Lindsey

Handry Tjan, Executive Chef at Kobo, prepares the dishes for the winter vegan tasting menu in Chevy Chase, MD.

Food photography Washington DC Deb Lindsey

Chef Matt Lang at Texas Jack’s in Arlington, VA.


Food photography Washington DC Deb Lindsey

Ripple’s new executive chef Ryan Ratino in Washington, DC.


Food photography Washington DC Deb Lindsey

Chef and owner Marjorie Meek-Bradley carves brisket in the small kitchen in her new fast casual restaurant Smoked and Stacked in Washington, DC. Food photography Washington DC Deb Lindsey

Chef Fabio Trabocchi and Co-owner Maria Trabocchi at their new restaurant Sfoglina in Washington, DC. At right is All Purpose chef and owner Mike Friedman in a booth at his DC restaurant.


Food photography Washington DC Deb Lindsey

Masseria chef Nicholas Stefanelli in front of his restaurant in DC and (right) Johnny Fulchino with chef Ann Cashion at their new location for Johnny’s Half Shell in  Adams Morgan, DC.


Food photography Washington DC Deb Lindsey

Chef Michael Schlow prepares dishes for customers at the bar of his new restaurant Conosci photographed in Washington, DC.


Food photography Washington DC Deb Lindsey

Chefs Ainiwaer Abuduwayiti and Ekber Keyser in their restaurant Dolan Uyghur in Washington, DC.



It’s always exciting to see one of my favorite weddings on a great local blog like District Weddings!

Becky + Harry’s gorgeous and elegant spring wedding at the Fairmont Washington was featured this week. Check it out here and you can also peek back at my full blog post. Happy almost one year anniversary to this wonderful couple.

Fairmont DC Wedding Deb Lindsey

Finding a restaurant to have your wedding rehearsal dinner in Washington, DC can a tough decision. So many factors weigh in: how many people are you hosting, what type of food, casual or formal, easily accessible and close to where wedding guests are staying. In my other career as a food photographer, primarily for the Washington Post,  I get around town quite a bit to photograph the food and atmosphere at many of the new and interesting restaurants opening around the city. And some I’ve been to recently are fun and funky locations to have your wedding rehearsal dinner!


The newest restaurant from Fabio and Maria Trabocchi is a fine dining pasta restaurant in the Van Ness neighborhood. It’s homey atmosphere and extraordinary beautiful dishes make it a perfect spot for hosting a party. The newly enclosed outdoor patio could easily accommodate a rehearsal crowd. In the main restaurant there are elegant touches of red and padded booths keep the decibel levels way down. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing there twice for the Washington Post and have been back for dinner so it’s a new DC restaurant I highly recommend!

Rehearsal dinners in DC Sfoglina

Rehearsal dinners in DC Sfoglina

Rehearsal dinners in DC Sfoglina

Rehearsal dinners in DC SfoglinaRuta del Vino

This is another restaurant near and dear to my heart for a couple reasons. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Petworth recently for the Washington Post reviews I’ve done and Ruta del Vino was my first time in the neighborhood. Justin and Jessica, the owners of the restaurant are new to the DC dining scene and their comfortable neighborhood venue feels like a great place to hang out. The centerpiece of the restaurant is the large bar and there is a more secluded back room that would give a party group some privacy. The food is fabulous, there’s a great wine selection and I am completely addicted to the churros dipped in chocolate!! Their website is a work in progress that (I hope) will be live soon with lots of my photos.

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The other fabulous Petworth restaurant that could be a perfect foodie rehearsal dinner spot is Himitsu. The Washington Post review is out this weekend and the food is adventurous and delicious. The chef Kevin Tien and the co-owner and beverage director Carlie Steiner are totally focused on providing an amazing dining experience for each patron at their tiny restaurant. You’d have to take over the entire restaurant for a rehearsal dinner but boy, would it be memorable if you did!! And get the duck platter with buttermilk biscuits. You can thank me later.

Wedding rehearsal restaurants DC

Wedding rehearsal restaurants DC

Wedding rehearsal restaurants DCThe Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse

For the more adventurous and edgy couple, the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse could be a perfect wedding rehearsal restaurant. They’re located a part of DC that is rapidly changing with the renovation of the old Hecht’s Warehouse building and the influx of new restaurants. A couple things stand out at the Tavern. First is a large open performance space attached to the restaurant that would even be perfect for a wedding. Second is the fish. As a Maryland girl I am a total crab cake snob and these are some of the best I’ve had. The smoked fish platter is another must get–if not for dinner than definitely for brunch!

Rehearsal dinner DC restaurants

Rehearsal dinner DC restaurants

Rehearsal dinner DC restaurantsJohnny’s Half Shell

Keeping with the seafood theme, Johnny’s Half Shell in Adam’s Morgan has some of the best in town. The 80-seat restaurant in the heart of the city, has just the right mix of casual and homey touches–an aquarium on display and an abundance of blue in the color scheme. And the original Johnny’s Half Shell sign from the first restaurant hangs high overheard. And most importantly, chef Ann Cashion’s cooking would definitely delight your guests!

Wedding rehearsal dinner DCMezcalero Cocina Mexicana

One last place on my list is a restaurant I was at just last week for the Post’s $20 Diner column. The new restaurant is run by the owners of El Sol Restaurante & Tequileria, has colorful murals painted on the exposed brick and a rustic charm. Located on 14th St. in Columbia Heights it’s big enough for a good size crowd even if you didn’t take over the whole restaurant. The food from the carne asada (my favorite) to the tacos is exceptional. And with more than 65 Mezcals, it might just be the perfect spot in DC for a party.

wedding rehearsal dinner DC

wedding rehearsal dinner DC

wedding rehearsal dinner DC

There are so many options for wedding rehearsal spots in the DC area. These are just a few of my favorites and I expect as I continue to photograph food around town that I’ll have more to add to this list. Maybe even some in the suburbs!!



Monica + Talisha’s small waterfront wedding in Crownsville, Maryland near Annapolis was published today on Stone Fox Bride. It’s exciting for me as a wedding photographer when one of my favorite weddings of all time gets a random request to be published on a national wedding blog. They were stunning brides which didn’t hurt the photos one bit!

You can check out my original blog post and see all the fabulous photos from their wedding day! But I just couldn’t resist posting here a few of my favorites that I think capture the spirit of their wedding celebration.

Crownsville Maryland same sex weddingCrownsville Maryland same sex weddingCrownsville Maryland same sex weddingCrownsville Maryland same sex wedding

This unseasonably warm winter weather has me thinking about my upcoming spring wedding engagement photo sessions. It is tempting to take advantage of 70 degree days in February, but most people prefer to wait for some green on the trees and even a few flowers. So now’s a good time to pull together some tips for planning your session and answering a few common questions.

When should we do the photos?

I recommend that you try to do your wedding engagement photos in a different season and location than where you’re getting married. It’s not always possible, but it’s nice to be able to mix the look of things up a bit. If you’re getting married at a vineyard in the fall, maybe the engagement session could be in an urban setting in the spring. For the actual timing on the day of the photography session, I prefer to schedule late in the day for the best light (starting 1 ½ to 2 hours before sunset depending on the where we’ll be) and to photograph on a sunny day. On your wedding day I work with whatever the weather brings–for the engagement session, a sunny day makes for the best photos!

wedding engagement Deb Lindsey Photography

Where should we go?

Washington DC is full of iconic spots to take portraits. If you’re looking for something that immediately says the “Nation’s Capital,” the Mall is a logical spot. The Reflecting Pool, the Lincoln Memorial or the Capitol grounds are all great backdrops.

wedding engagement Deb Lindsey Photographywedding engagement Deb Lindsey Photographywedding engagement Deb Lindsey Photographywedding engagement Deb Lindsey PhotographyBut, my favorite locations are the ones that have meaning to you and your partner. Where you had your first date or how you like to spend your time together. Is it hiking on the C&O Canal or shopping in Georgetown? Playing with your pooch or maybe it’s a restaurant where you like to hang out? Sometimes it’s just fun to wander your neighborhood getting a sense of where you live and what feels familiar.

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And if nothing comes to mind and you need some help deciding where to go, I can help! There are several interesting spots and parks around town that I can recommend. Sometimes it’s just nice to have some pretty flowers in the photo and leave the focus on the two of you.

wedding engagement Deb Lindsey Photographywedding engagement Deb Lindsey Photography

What should we wear?

This is the most frequently asked question by far! First, wear something you think you look great in. When you feel good about how you look, that confidence shows in the photographs. Look at the color combos between the two of you. If you’re wearing purple your partner shouldn’t be wearing orange! The same goes for mixing prints and patterns. Keep your styles at a similar level. If you’re wearing a suit and your fiancé is in shorts it’s probably a mismatch in photos. The feedback I’ve gotten from couples is that if they’re a little more dressed up than they’d usually be on a weekend that’s about the right level. It’s not necessary to have hair and makeup professionally done but it doesn’t hurt! I love a pop of color, especially against green trees or those white pillars all over DC. If you’re wearing heels, bring a pair of comfortable shoes for walking. Photographing around DC will almost always involve some walking. Bringing a change of clothes is fine and can add to the variety of the photos. Changing shirts or putting a sweater over a shirt is easy but a full outfit change might be trickier on the Mall or somewhere without a restroom.

wedding engagement Deb Lindsey Photographywedding engagement Deb Lindsey Photography

How much time will it take?

Generally I plan for about an hour and a half to two hours for an engagement session. That includes the time we’re actually shooting and the walking to get there. I’m not opposed to a couple locations as long as they’re not too far away from each other.

I’m not that comfortable in front of the camera. Can you help??

Of course! I’m not a fan of overly posed photos, but I completely understand that it’s hard to be in front of the camera (and it’s one of the reasons I prefer to stay behind it). I will put you in the prettiest light, give you a few tips if you need them and let you interact naturally. To me the best wedding engagement photos capture your relationship and are about having fun. I tend to shoot with a longer lens so that gives me a little distance and makes it feel less intrusive.

wedding engagement Deb Lindsey Photographywedding engagement Deb Lindsey Photographywedding engagement Deb Lindsey Photography

Having your wedding engagement photos done should be fun and easy and I work hard to make it that way. It’s also a great way for us to get to know each other a bit before the wedding day and the other bonus is you get to spend a some quality time with your sweetheart hugging, kissing and holding hands in a public setting!

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