Client Guides

March 31, 2022

Top 12 Places for Photos in Washington, DC

top-photo-locations-in-washington-dc

Top Photo Locations in Washington, DC

Are you looking for the best photo locations in Washington, DC? The good news is there are many beautiful spots to choose from! As a family and couples photographer, I’ve been to many of them over the years. These locations are perfect for family photos, anniversary or engagement photos, or maternity photos!

Here’s a list of my most requested spots for photos in Washington, DC.

1. Lincoln Memorial*

2. Thomas Jefferson Memorial*

3. DC War Memorial*

4. Georgetown

5. Constitution Gardens*

6. Yards Park

7. Capitol Hill / Supreme Court

8. National Portrait Gallery

9. Washington National Cathedral*

10. Tudor Place Historic House & Gardens*

11. Meridian Hill Park

12. National Arboretum*

Scroll down to learn more about each location!

*These locations may require a permit or special permission! I’ll walk you through the process.

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is an iconic spot for good reason. On its own, it offers stunning marble columns and epic views of the entire monument behind you. It also boasts views of the reflecting pool with the Washington Monument in the background, and is within walking distance of two over top spots (DC War Memorial and Constitution Gardens).

This location is best at sunrise to avoid tourists and crowds. It also simply has the best light at this time (trust me, the view of the sun rising behind the Washington Monument and lighting up the reflecting pool is worth it alone). It’s also very easy to find parking this time of day, a huge bonus in the city.

A permit for still photography is required through the National Park Service for all locations on the National Mall. The permit is $50, and they require a $90 filing fee, so you’ll pay $140. It’s easy to file for it, however, and I will walk you through the process.

See more Lincoln Memorial photos here

More Lincoln Memorial photos

 

 

 

 

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Another iconic location, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial offers a quieter view of the city. Since it’s located on the other side of the Tidal Basin, it’s less crowded, and it has parking lots just steps away. These sessions also take place at sunrise for the same reasons I mentioned with the Lincoln – it gives us the best light, avoids tourists, and allows us to all easily secure parking.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial features stunning waterfront views of the Tidal Basin, along with the Washington Monument.

A permit for still photography is required through the National Park Service for all locations on the National Mall. The permit is $50, and they require a $90 filing fee, so you’ll pay $140. It’s easy to file for it, however, and I will walk you through the process.

See more Thomas Jefferson Memorial photos here

More Thomas Jefferson Memorial photos

thomas jefferson engagement photosjefferson engagement photos cherry blossoms

 

DC War Memorial

The DC War Memorial is a hidden gem tucked in the trees near the Lincoln Memorial. It’s much quieter than the other locations, and it still gives you those iconic DC looks. It offers marble columns and plenty of greenery! Some couples and families will start their session at the Lincoln, and then take a stroll together to the DC War Memorial to capture a few more photos there.

A permit for still photography is required through the National Park Service for all locations on the National Mall. The permit is $50, and they require a $90 filing fee, so you’ll pay $140. It’s easy to file for it, however, and I will walk you through the process.

dc-war-memorial-engagement-photos

 

Georgetown

I love Georgetown for so many reasons! It’s also a little quieter than the monuments but still gives you classic DC vibes. You have the option of waterfront photos on the river, photos on the canal, or throughout the residential neighborhoods. If you’re up for walking a bit, we can often hit all three spots! The charming cobblestone roads, brick walls, and row houses are a beautiful backdrop for photos.

See more Georgetown photos here

More Georgetown photos

More Georgetown photos

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Constitution Gardens

The Constitution Gardens are another hidden gem in the heart of the city. Just steps from the Lincoln Memorial, this peaceful location gives you beautiful views of the Washington Monument. It also holds several willow trees and a beautiful pond. It’s particularly stunning in the fall. Due to it’s proximity to the Lincoln, you could easily add this onto a session there! You can also combine it with the DC War Memorial.

A permit for still photography is required through the National Park Service for all locations on the National Mall. The permit is $50, and they require a $90 filing fee, so you’ll pay $140. It’s easy to file for it, however, and I will walk you through the process.

See more Constitution Gardens photos here

 

Yards Park

Yards Park is often described as a scenic, riverfront location. It can be found along the Anacostia River in the Capitol Riverfront community. With beautiful water views, a boardwalk, and plenty of greenery, it’s a great blend of city and nature. I highly recommend it at sunrise so the light comes up behind the boardwalk! It’s also much less crowded at this time of day, and it’s easy to park in the adjacent parking lot.

It also has beautiful flowers in the fall, as you’ll see below!

See more photos from this Yards Park anniversary session here 

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Capitol Hill / Supreme Court / Library of Congress

Capitol Hill is a popular location for many reasons! We can take photos with the marble columns at the Supreme Court, or near the fountains at the Library of Congress. The Capitol is just steps away, and we can capture more casual, candid photos in the nearby residential neighborhood. It offers a little bit of everything!

Like many DC locations, I recommend it at sunrise due to the crowds and the way the light rises behind the Supreme Court. However, it’s also an option at sunset.

See more photos from this Capitol Hill engagement session here

 

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is a wonderful option when you need indoor photos. The beautiful atrium is filled with natural light, and the garden offers a lovely touch of greenery. We can also take a few photos upstairs in one of the hallways.

 

national portrait gallery portrait session photo

 

Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral is the world’s sixth-largest Gothic cathedral. The grounds are impeccable, from the beautiful Bishop’s Garden to the front steps of the Cathedral itself. It’s best to take photos here just before sunset, and there is easy parking right on-site.

They require a $250 permit which must be requested. See those details here.

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Tudor Place Historic House & Gardens

Tucked into the heart of Georgetown, the Tudor Place Historic House and Gardens is a magical choice for photos. Featuring 5.5 acres of land, gorgeous architecture, and plenty of blooms, it is always beautiful. I particularly love the house as a backdrop, along with the elegant columns and greenery.

A permit is required – you can view the details here!

See more photos Tudor Place Historic House & Gardens here

tudor house & historic gardens georgetown top dc photo locations

 

 

Meridian Hill Park

Meridian Hill Park is located in the Washington, DC, neighborhood of Columbia Heights. It’s also near Adams Morgan. It includes one of the longest cascading fountains in North America, a reflecting pool, and many unique architectural features. It also offers plenty of greenery.

The Lower Level is currently closed through Summer 2022 (where the fountains are located), but there are many beautiful spots throughout the park.

See more photos from this Meridian Hill Park family session here

 

 

 

U.S. National Arboretum

The grounds of the U.S. National Arboretum give you the benefit of a beautiful nature park right in the city! When you’re walking around, it often feels like you’ve left the city completely. Considering it includes 446 acres, that’s not surprising! Popular features include the National Capitol Columns. It has twenty-two Corinthian columns which were part of the US Capitol Building at one point.

The property also includes large meadows, beautiful trees, flowers, and more. It’s located in Northeast DC with entrances in New York Avenue and R Street with convenient parking.

A permit is required – you can view the details here!

See more photos from this U.S. National Arboretum engagement session here

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Looking for more photo locations? Check out the top photo locations in Northern Virginia here!

Ready to book your own session? Reach out here!

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