I’m a wedding and portrait photographer that has grown up in Northern Virginia since high school! I am well versed in the areas that can make for some of the best portrait and engagement session locations in both DC and Virginia. This list is by no means all inclusive, but they are some of my favorites. I recommend DC engagement session locations at sunrise since they tend to get a little crowded.
1. Lincoln Memorial
This is definitely one that I recommend at sunrise. And at sunrise, it is gorgeous! If you wait until sunset, there will likely be way too many people. Another perk of going into the city for your engagement session is that the Tidal Basin and the World War II Memorial are right there for some more diversity in your images.
This DC engagement session location boasts amazing riverfront views with the Key Bridge. More than that, there are charming brick alleys next to the river, quant cafes, and the city feel all in several square blocks! This location is good at both sunrise and sunset. While there may be more people at sunset (and get there early to find parking!), it’s still perfectly workable.
3. Washington National Cathedral
This location is expensive (permit fee applies), but the views are worth it! You have both Bishop’s Garden AND the Cathedral architecture to work with. It’s absolutely stunning. This is my favorite DC engagement session location, hands down.
4. Tidal Basin
Obviously this location is a classic, and for good reason! The Cherry Blossom season is DC is special, but chaotic. You won’t know when peak bloom is until perhaps days prior, so it’s super hard to book these and requires a lot of flexibility!
5. Old Town Alexandria
Our first Northern Virginia engagement session location on the list! Old Town Alexandria is just outside the city on the Virginia side. Old Town is one of the most charming towns in the DC metro area, and is famous for good reason. Think cobblestone streets, corner cafes, rich history, and river views! Thomas and I got married in Old Town, so I am somewhat biased to its charms. Either way, it makes for an excellent engagement session location if you want something other than monuments.
6. The Capitol
The Capitol is a stunner of a location. While with all the things going on in the world, it’s difficult to know if the fences will be up or not, it’s definitely worth it if the fences are down! I recommend this location at sunrise! If doing this session at sunset, then I recommend the other side of the Capitol for lighting purposes.
This lovely spot is another Virginia engagement session location. While it’s a little bit off the beaten path in Leesburg, it encompasses all of Virginia. It’s a beautiful property with a lovely house, and then so many gardens and rolling hills. This engagement session locations boasts romantic vibes of all kinds. It does require a permit fee, and is about one hour outside of DC, but if you’re cool with those things, it is totally worth it. View their full blog post here!
8. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
This is also a location in Virginia about 30 minutes outside of the city. The permit for for these botanical gardens is very inexpensive, and their grounds are beautiful! If you live in Northern Virginia, this location will probably be super convenient for you, and equally beautiful.
View their blog post here!
Thanks so much for reading through this post! I hope you found it helpful when searching for where in the DC and Northern Virginia area to have your portrait or engagement session! To see more engagement sessions, visit the blog here!
October 21, 2021