February 6, 2020

3 Tips for DC Cherry Blossom Engagement Photos


If you’re a photographer or you’re hoping to get your engagement or anniversary photos taken around the Tidal Basin during peak cherry blossom season, today’s blog post is for you! Here are three tips to help you make the most of this beautiful season.

dc cherry blossom photos

Tip #1: Sunrise is Always Best

There’s no doubt about it: the cherry blossoms in DC are stunning!! So you know there are going to be a ton of tourists coming to the area just to see them. There are also tons of photographers in the area, either for personal or professional work. In general, I recommend doing most iconic DC locations at sunrise just to avoid the crowds. In this case, it’s always the best way to make the most of the blossoms! Trust me, you don’t want a thousand people in the background of your photos, and you also don’t want to feel stressed out by the crowds.

Getting up early is completely worth it! You get more freedom to move around to the best spots, you don’t have lots of people staring at you and it’s a lot easier to get those epic photos of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial or Washington Monument in the background.

One note: it is sometimes still cold this time of year, especially at sunrise! If it is chilly, I recommend bringing a jacket and gloves to wear in between photos. In the shoot I’m sharing for this blog post, it was only 25 degrees! Now, that’s colder than it usually is that time of year, but it’s always worth it to be prepared.


Tip #2: Keep a Close Eye on the Peak Bloom Dates

It’s really common for the predicted peak dates to move around, so it’s really important to pay extra attention. Last year we ended up moving dates three times due to unexpected colder temperatures, so you want to keep the lines of communication open.

I highly recommend following along at The Cherry Blossom Watch 2019 Washington DC website. They have a section dedicated to the Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Forecast, which gives you the most updated info from NPS and Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.

If you’re working with me for your photos, I’ll keep you updated on any peak forecast changes, and we can work together to make the most of any shifts.


Tip #3: If You Miss the Yoshino Cherry Blossoms, You May Want to Do a Kwanzan Cherry Blossom Session

The cherry blossom festival in DC celebrates the Japanse Yoshino blossoms that line the Tidal Basin. These blooms have a very light pink undertone, but they mostly look like white blossoms in photos. Due to the festival and short peak bloom dates, it’s definitely the most popular type of blossom for photos.

However, if you either miss the first date, or if there is some weather disaster (like the year the blooms popped and immediately were frozen over by a freak ice storm), the Kwanzan Cherry blossoms are a beautiful option. In fact, the photos above are from a session two years ago where that exact situation happened!

As you can tell, the Kwanzan Cherry blossoms have a darker pink tone, and are also a gorgeous backdrop for photos. There are several trees around the Tidal Basin, and they typically bloom about 15 days after the Yoshino cherry blossoms (the average peak bloom date is April 22nd). Of course, like the Yoshino cherry blossoms, they are a little unpredictable, so it’s important to keep an eye on the forecasts when planning your session!

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  1. […] First, if you’re hoping to have the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in your photos, you have to go during peak bloom (or close to it). This can be difficult to schedule, due to the unpredictable nature of the blooms. For tips on how to schedule those sessions, view this blog post about cherry blossom photo tips! […]

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