Best Locations For your DC Engagement Session

As a DC Engagement Photographer, I love talking about potential locations with my couples. The choice of an engagement location sets the stage for this significant milestone, reflecting the couple’s personality, interests, and shared memories.

In this blog post, I will guide you through the process of selecting the best spot, whether you are looking for a fall, winter, spring, or summer couple session.

The National Mall

The National Mall is an iconic location with its wide open spaces, monumental architecture, and historic landmarks. Between the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflection Pool, the Jefferson Memorial and the DC War Memorial, my couples have usually a hard time choosing!

Pro-tip: it’s a popular tourist destination, so it can get crowded during peak hours. To minimize distractions and have more space for your session, consider scheduling your shoot early in the morning, right after sunrise, or in the late afternoon. These times generally have fewer visitors, allowing you to capture intimate and uninterrupted moments. Like many locations on the list, this is the perfect spot for fall engagement sessions!

Please note that Washington DC can be a headache due to the many permits required. You heard that right, most DC parks, which are federally owned, require a permit from the National Parks Service (learn more about it here). It costs approximately $140 per day.

Georgetown

Walking around Georgetown, one of the historic neighborhoods of DC, always gives me plenty of ideas for a session. But if you don’t want to pay for a permit, we will have to stay away from the waterfront. Good thing the colorful bricks and walls of the classic houses provide the perfect backdrop for your beautiful faces. I also have my favorite shops to visit. I always think that planning activities during a session offers more natural poses and allows me to better document your love. Also getting an ice cream or a delicious croissant makes the whole session more fun!

I love doing fall sessions in Georgetown. The leaves turn these crazy colors, that contrast perfectly with the colorful row houses. Spring is always a great time in DC with the cherry blossoms. You can easily find incredible cherry trees in the lovely streets of Georgetown.

Read more: How To Plan an Engagement Session In Georgetown

Union Station

Union Station is the best during the holidays! Photo by Natasha Lamalle Photography

Union Station is not only a transportation hub but also a stunning architectural gem. The grand interior with its ornate details, spacious hall, and beautiful light creates a unique and sophisticated backdrop for engagement photos. I would consider this location because it’s very close to other great locations as the National Gallery of Art or the Capitol.

This is my number one backup location for rainy days. On the bright side, it requires no permit when you shoot outside so you don’t have to worry about paperwork. If you want to take some photos inside, I will just need to contact the event management team to get a green light.

The Library of Congress

As the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress boasts stunning architecture, intricate details, and grandeur that creates a regal atmosphere for your engagement photos. Explore the iconic Reading Room, the Great Hall, and the beautiful corridors for timeless images.

Weekdays are generally less crowded at the Library of Congress compared to weekends when more visitors are present. Choosing a weekday for your session can provide a more serene and intimate atmosphere, allowing you to capture stunning photos without distractions. But most importantly, we will need a time-entry ticket to get in, so it needs a bit of planning!

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill is one of the greatest backdrops in all of DC. The Congress, Eastern Market, the Library of Congress, I love the different little parks and street art that you stumble upon. Of course, it’s always a good idea to plan your session there.

When is it the best time to shoot there? Every Saturday morning. We can hit Eastern Market during operating hours with plenty of vendors for a natural and full-of-life session. While you stroll through the stalls I will capture the fleeting gazes that you share while shopping for that perfect find. Otherwise, any season is good in this historical neighborhood of DC. I prefer doing sessions early in the morning or in the evening, an hour or two before sundown.

National Gallery of Art

The tunnel between the East and West Building is the best. Photo by Natasha Lamalle Photography

The National Gallery of Art is probably one of my favorite locations in DC for engagement sessions and wedding portraits. Actually, I’ve also captured proposals there (the West Building has some incredible indoor gardens). If you are looking for an indoor location because of a rainy and cold day or if you just love all the art, this is the place for you.

meridian hill park

I have loved doing sessions here with couples that live in this northwest neighborhood. It has a wonderful community feeling. Meridian Hill Park is a fun location if you want a mix of greenery and unique architecture in your photos. If you live there, do not look further, you have found your perfect location for an engagement session in the capital. You can also get married there and I tell you all about it in this blog post.

The Wharf

The Wharf is a vibrant waterfront district that offers a mix of modern architecture, lively ambiance, and scenic views of the Potomac River. Capture your love against the backdrop of colorful buildings, waterfront promenades, and bustling activity.

The business development organization hosts various events, festivals, and concerts throughout the year. These events can add excitement and energy to your photos! The golden hour is always great at The Wharf to get a beautiful sunset in the background.

Navy Yard

The Yards is also a great spot for proposals! Photo by Natasha Lamalle Photography.

There are so many reasons why Navy Yard is a great place for engagement sessions. First off, it features a mix of historic and modern architecture by the Anacostia River, offering scenic waterfront views! There are parks and green spaces in the Navy Yard area, providing a natural and vibrant setting for photos. I love to tell my couples to meet up at The Yards, a great summer/fall park. The neighborhood is also home to notable landmarks like Nationals Park so if you’re baseball fans, you can easily integrate this in your photos!

The arboretum

It’s one of my favorite addresses in Washington DC. The National Arboretum is a great location for any session. The best time to schedule a session in this part of the town is spring, during our dear cherry blossom, and fall! This ideal location comes at a cost. Count between $100-150 for a photography permit. It’s also one of the best locations during the cherry blossoms. Check out Janelle and Daniel’s engagement photos during this popular season.

Columbia Heights and Petworth

I lived for 5 years in this neighborhood so I know it by heart. It’s a typical DC residential area with awesome rows of bars and restaurants! I had a couple living in Columbia Heights and Petworth and they wanted to have their session in their favorite place in DC. We hung out in community gardens and used colorful street art as a perfect backdrop to create beautiful images.

At sunset, that’s when the neighborhood is the most interesting. Lights are popping, and we can get the best sunset in DC! I always love taking the time to find the spot to get a beautiful pink sky.

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