This is one of those posts that, as a Washington, DC wedding photographer, I should have created, oh, five or more years ago! I help every single client who books a session with me find the perfect location for their engagement session, so why not have a reference with a ton of ideas all in one place!?
- LINCOLN MEMORIAL
Between the gorgeous steps, sky-high columns, and history-filled walls, I cannot think of anywhere more classic DC. To avoid crowds, this spot is best at sunrise! The National Parks Service does require a permit for all locations on the National Mall and its’ surrounding monuments, so I am happy to help you get started on the paperwork! Click to view a full Lincoln Memorial engagement session.
- REFLECTING POOL & CONSTITUTION GARDENS
These are two stunning locations just outside of the Lincoln Memorial! Chances are, if you choose a sunrise session, we will have time to stop at all three which will give you a huge variety in your photographs! Click to view a full Constitution Gardens engagement session.
- UNION STATION
Looking for the gorgeous architecture of DC without the permit fees? Union Station may be the perfect spot to consider! Arched walkways, grand architecture, and great light are all part of what makes this an amazing spot. As a bonus, we can hit up the surrounding neighborhoods for a different backdrop! Click to view a full Union Station engagement session.
- LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
This might just be one of my all-time favorite spots to shoot in DC. Between its vintage green light posts, cascading stairs, and brass doors, every time I arrive it makes me feel like I just stepped off a plane in Paris. With the way the sun sets, this location is best for sunrise sessions and best of all? No permit fee! It’s also right across the street from one of my next favorite spots, the iconic Capitol! Click to view a full Library of Congress engagement session.
- UNITED STATES CAPITOL
You may have seen this gorgeous spot in a movie or two ;) And that’s part of the beauty of living in DC! It actually makes for a stunning backdrop for photos, which, I guess is part of why it’s photographed as much as it is! As mentioned above, I love pairing this spot with either the Library of Congress or the Supreme Court. Photography in front of the Supreme Court is only allowed during the periods when Court is not in session! Click to view a full US Capitol engagement session.
- MERIDIAN HILL PARK
If you’re looking for a break from the classic white architecture of DC, Meridian Hill Park may be the perfect spot for you! It features a brownstone design which is equally as lovely and is surrounded by lush greenery that makes for beautiful photos. Actually seeing water in the fountain is a bit of an ongoing joke in DC, but you’re mostly likely to see this in the summer — it’s pretty without as well though, IMO! Afternoons get crowded here, so sunrise tends to ensure that no one is in the back of your photos! Click to view a full Meridian Hill Park engagement session.
- NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
Sometimes, the weather just isn’t on your side and a session cannot be rescheduled! Whether it’s rain or just freezing cold, one of my favorite indoor locations is the National Portrait Gallery. Its turn of the century architecture — think black and white tile floors and gold gilding — make me swoon and are great in photographs. Click to view a full National Portrait Gallery session (part of this couple’s wedding day!).
- BISHOP’S GARDEN at WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL
If you’re looking for the best of DC in one spot, this is absolutely the spot for you. The Cathedral itself boasts stunning arched walkways, epic doors, and cascading stairs. But the Bishop’s Garden may just be the highlight of this location! It’s a sprawling mass of flowers, trees, and bushes that make you feel like you just stepped into a secret garden right in the middle of DC. This is another spot that’s best saved for sunrise! Click to view a full Bishop’s Garden engagement session or a Washington National Cathedral wedding.
- DUMBARTON OAKS
Since we’re on the topic of stunning gardens, I, of course, cannot forget to mention Dumbarton Oaks. Professional photography is unfortunately no longer allowed on this property, but let me know if you love it and I give you tips on the best time to visit — it may make for a great date night! Click to view a full Dumbarton Oaks engagement session.
- TUDOR PLACE
This is the Dumbarton Oaks that you CAN use for photos! Think incredible gardens, an old manor home, and endless views! There is a small permit fee, but as the entire property is closed on Mondays, it’s well worth it to have the place to yourself.
- DC WAR MEMORIAL
You didn’t think I could really write this list without a few more monuments, did you? After all, that’s what DC is know for! The DC War Memorial is, hands down, my favorite! It’s like a mini Jefferson Memorial, but experiences virtually no tourist traffic due to being off the beaten path. Pair this with the Constitution Gardens and, voilá, a stunning engagement spot! Click to view a DC War Memorial engagement session.
- JEFFERSON MEMORIAL & TIDAL BASIN
The grandeur of the Jefferson Memorial never fails to take my breath away! Like the Lincoln, you can find DC’s iconic white columns, grand staircases, and even a view of the Washington Monument without ever leaving. If you’re lucky enough to be onsite during Cherry Blossom season, we can also walk the Tidal Basin to get shots of those infamous blooms! Just be prepared that sunrise is a must, the date will shift a TON of times, and crowds will be a plenty — but those fleeting blooms are oh-so worth it! Click to view a full Jefferson Memorial engagement session or a Cherry Blossom engagement session.
No DC photo location list would be complete without Georgetown! This gem features endless possibilities for photos including the Georgetown Waterfront, the canals, graffiti pier, cute alleyways, cobblestone streets, and stunning homes! I love meeting my couples here at sunrise because we have the streets to ourselves! Click to view a full Georgetown engagement session.
- GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY
In addition to Georgetown proper, the University itself is home to some pretty stunning gothic architecture unlike anything else you can find in DC! I haven’t had a chance to shoot here just yet, but it’s certainly on my bucket list! Images below are by Annamarie Akins Photography.
- DAUGHTER’S OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION // DAR CONSTITUTION HALL
A personal favorite! I often think about if I could go back in time and “redo” my wedding, where would I want to have it? This spot is a serious contender! It is another “sunrise” only spot, but there are lots of bonus locations in walking distance to make for a truly unique session! Click to view a full DAR Constitution Hall session or a DAR Constitution Hall wedding.