Couple walking in front of Tidal Basin during DC Engagement Photos

DC Engagement Photos | A Guide to the Perfect Session

Your engagement photos are the kick off to your wedding journey and will be something you cherish forever. If you haven’t considered DC for your engagement photos, then I hope I can give you a lot to think about! In this blog post, I will be providing all of the important tips and tricks for the perfect DC Engagement Photos. Along with the tips, I will be sharing some of my favorite locations and even some outfit recommendations to really maximize what DC has to offer you.

DC Engagement Photo Locations

One of the big questions I get is “where should we go?” There are so many iconic locations in the DMV area that figuring out where to start can be difficult. However, the good thing is that there are so many! And not to mention, these DC locations are all fairly close to one another, meaning we can hit a couple of good spots in one session. Below, I will share some of my tried and true locations that give the DC experience and are great for photos.

DC Engagement Photos at the Monuments and Tidal Basin

The DC monuments are a classic staple in a lot of DC engagement photo sessions. Whether you are there in the spring, or even in the winter, this location is beautiful all year round. The two most popular are the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial with glimpses of the Washington Monument and Tidal Basin. If you search for a DC engagement session, chances are, you will find photos are these locations. What is not as easily accessible are the tips to navigating these landmark locations. Below I will spell out the need to know info if you are heart set on these glorious session spots.

Time (hour and time of year)

This is one of the crucial things to consider when thinking about a session at these hot spots. During a normal time of year (no festivals, peak blossom season, etc), these places are BUSY. So, how do we navigate the crowds? Easy solution is to plan a sunrise session if you want these locations to be the primary location for your photos. This way we can avoid the crowds and use the buildings however we want. Another suggestion I have is actually  to not use one of these locations as the primary spot for your session. If you cringe at the thought of a session at the crack of dawn, we may be able to get the same look by tacking one of these places to the end of an engagement session that happened elsewhere. If we visit the last 30 minutes, a majority of the crowd is on the other side of the building. Plus, I love the golden light along the basin during the summer!

Now, there is a crazy season you may have heard of called Cherry Blossom Season in DC. During the peak season, these beautiful blooms pack DC to its fullest. Some people embrace them and want both the blossoms and the monuments. This is possible, but it is HARD and can be hectic, so we need to plan plenty in advance. However, if you are open to suggestions, I recommend holding off on the Monuments during this time of year. If you keep reading below, I suggest the Constitution Gardens for a pop of Cherry Blossom in your photos… Or even better, I know where to find ALL of the blossoms with none of the people here in Richmond.

Parking and Fees

This is another question I get regarding the monuments. Where can you park and is there a fee? Parking is simple, during a normal time of year, street parking is around and there are parking lots around as well (for a fee). However, during cherry blossom season, around the monuments can be gridlocked. This is when I suggest ubering into the city.

In terms of fees, when I have a majority of a session at the monuments, typically those sessions are subject to a fee. You can read more about that here. My clients take on the cost of the fee when they choose a location that requires a permit.

Other Favorite DC Engagement Photo Locations

While I love the monuments and how those photos turn out, I do have a few other locations up my sleeve that I would dare to say I love more. Keep reading to see how you can incorporate these DC-aesthetic locations into your session!

The Library of Congress

This is one of my favorite locations. Before the indoor opens at 10am, the exterior is typically empty and easily usable for a photo session. The architecture reminds me of Europe, which is a whole vibe in itself. Not to mention, with its white exterior and the ability to take photos inside without a permit, it is the perfect engagement session location for a winter engagement as well! Street parking is easily accessible.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is a short walking distance from the Library of Congress, so they are quite the pair in an engagement session gallery! The large white columns and stairs in the front give the same feel as the Jefferson monument without the hassle. The main thing to keep in mind about this location is it is important to be aware of when court will be in session, which you can find online.

Couple walking side by side in the Constitution Gardens

Constitution Gardens

Constitution Gardens is a great location for many reasons. It has a great view of the Washington Monument along with beautiful greenery, bridges, and willow trees. Another big perk of this location is the Cherry Blossoms! While it is still a popular location to see these, it is not nearly as popular as the area immediately around the Tidal Basin. Still, an early morning session is ideal if your session is to fall during Cherry Blossom season.

Couple's holding hands during DC engagement photos

The American Pharmacists Association Building

Now this one is a diamond in the rough! This building is a simple, yet beautiful location to add onto a session. The white architecture, gorgeous door, and some fun nooks on the side make for good variety to a gallery. It is also right across the street from the Constitution Gardens, which means they pair well for an engagement session.

Unique Spots for DC Engagement Photos

There are plenty of other unique spots or themes to add to your DC engagement session. Here are some ideas!

Motion Blur Photo during DC engagement photos in the National Art Gallery

A Museum Stop

This is a DC favorite stop because there are so many great museums! One of my favorites is the National Art Gallery. Tip: make sure the museum you choose allows photography.

A Stop for Drinks (or Snacks) during your DC Engagement Photos

Ending or starting your session at a cute coffee shop, bar, or ice cream shop is always a fun way to personalize your session in DC! Not to mention, there are so many cute places, the options are endless!!

What to Wear

Now that you have all of the info you need, it is time to plan your outfits! One of the things I love to do is hop on a call and create a mood board for you to pull from. I have created a board with some inspo as well!

Time to Book

Once you are ready to get to the fun stuff, contact me! If you are a bride of mine, an engagement session is included in your session. If you are wanting to work with me, my contact form is the best way to get on my calendar!

Looking for more inspo? Check out these blogs.

Tips for Engagement Photos with your Dog

Old Town Alexandria Engagement Photos

Featured Categories


For Photographers