Location: Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC
Why I love it for photo sessions: No matter how many portrait sessions I do here, the Lincoln Memorial never gets old. It has so much variety. The reflecting pool is absolutely stunning at sunrise with the Washington Monument and Capitol Building in the background. You have the marble steps, towering columns, and nearby walking trails surrounded by trees all in one place. It is the top spot for photos in DC for a reason!
Best time to take photos here: Sunrise is the best time for portraits here! If you need a slightly later time, we can also go up to two hours after sunrise. However, the most magical light is right at sunrise. I know it’s really early in the morning, but it’s worth it for a few reasons.
First, it’s the only time of day we can take photos without being surrounded by crowds of tourists. If you want beautiful views of the monuments without a bunch of people in them, this is the best way. With fewer people, we can also capture the very best spots. When we have to work around tourists or crowds, it takes away from the experience. Waiting your turn for a spot, or having people talk to you as they walk by, can often be a big distraction.
Sunrise varies from season to season. Here’s an idea of sunrise times in DC throughout the year:
Spring (April – May): 5:45 – 6:50 AM
Summer (June – August): 5:45 – 6:30 AM
Fall (September – mid November): 6:30 – 7:30 AM
I don’t currently offer winter sessions at the monuments – it’s simply too cold to get photos that early in the morning. The cut-off for the fall is Thanksgiving, and sessions start again in the spring!
Can I get hair and makeup done for a sunrise session? Yes! Many photographers only do sunrise sessions at this location. Because of this, hair and makeup artists often offer early morning services to fit this need! Some can even come directly to you. I provide all of my clients with a list of my favorite vendors, so I can help you find someone.
Is a permit required? Yes, a permit is required through the National Park Service for all still photography. There is a permit fee in addition to a filing fee. The costs are below and are accurate as of writing this post, and clients are required to pay for this for all sessions at this location.
1-10 people $50/day + $90 filing fee
11-30 people $150/day + $90 filing fee
30 people or more $250/day + $90 filing fee
It can take a few weeks to get the permit back, so you’ll need to apply for it in advance. If you would like me to take care of filing it for you, please let me know!
Parking info: There is street parking nearby. Another reason we do all sessions at sunrise! There are always plenty of spots available this early in the morning. I’ll give you the best info on where to park so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
Are dogs allowed? Yes! Just let me know before your session that your pup will be joining us.
Are there bathrooms on-site? Yes, there are bathrooms in the Lincoln Memorial and in surrounding buildings.
Can I book multiple monument locations during a session? Yes! You’ll simply need to add additional photography time. Each session includes one hour. To do two locations such as the Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial, you’ll need two hours to account for travel between each location.
If you’re looking to do two monuments that are closer together, you can add a half hour to your session. Nearby options include the Constitution Gardens and DC War Memorial.
How can we book a Lincoln Memorial portrait session with you?
First, fill out my contact form here! I’ll be in touch within 48-business hours with all the details (although, usually I get back to you sooner). My email will include pricing info, my earliest spots available to book, and everything else. If you are ready to book at that point, you can easily do so online! If you want to chat first, you’re always welcome to set up a phone call or an appointment at my photography studio in Sterling to chat.
My portrait session calendar typically fills up 1-4 months in advance, with outdoor sessions taking place mid-April through mid-November. I recommend booking early to ensure you get a spot! In the meantime, here are more examples of photos taken at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.