Newly engaged? Congratulations! Let’s go fam!!!! I’m a huge fan of using Instagram all over the District but as one of the longest running engagement photographers in DC, the question my clients and newly engaged couples always ask is: What are the best engagement photo locations in DC? I’ve shot over 200 weddings and engagement sessions in the DMV so I’ve learned the best spots as well as the most unique!
*A note about “The Monuments”. Technically there is only one monument in DC, the Washington Monument. Anything else considered a “monument” is a memorial. Just a little bit of DC information for you but if you disagree, feel free to let me know on Instagram!
Here is the exhaustive list of the best engagement photo locations in Washington DC
The Lincoln Memorial is one of if not the most visited place in all of Washington DC. It’s size and the fact you can photograph it in any light makes it my top spot for engagement photos. Many of my favorite engagement photos I’ve shot have been at or around the Lincoln Memorial. My favorite photo at the Lincoln Memorial? Anything that includes the reflecting pool!
Now for this DC engagement location, you can only take engagement photos at the Cherry Blossoms for about a week or so, every year but they are so gorgeous to do so. Usually, the cherry blossoms hit peak bloom around the end of March or beginning of April, and that’s the best time to have your cherry blossoms engagement session! The best cherry blossom flower views are at the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial which helps if the weather isn’t perfect either!
Pro Tip: Schedule your shoots during sunrise to avoid crowds! It’s worth the 4AM hair and makeup time.
The unsung hero of engagement sessions in DC, the Jefferson memorial. This unique memorial is hard to get to and parking is tough unless you show up early, but the diversity of looks you can get make it high on the list! Whether it’s in the memorial, near the water, or even in the green grassy areas nearby, you can get some amazing engagement photos here!
Pro Tip: Parking is not closeby, so unless you’re up for walking a lot before engagement photos, try to get a cab together or meet there!
Others may disagree, but I love shooting engagement photos at the Capitol building. Obviously there’s the historical aspect and a lot of my couples work in Congress as staffers so this location means a lot to them. The best place I think is actually on the East side of the Capitol because during the afternoons, the light is behind the dome and you get this magical glow. There’s also some grass and trees so you can really get a variety of shots within walking distance. Coffee at Union Station or Ebenezers Coffeehouse is not too far away!
Just a few steps from the Capitol building is the US Supreme Court! In addition to the incredible columns and white marble, there are mirroring fountains and the East side of the court is lined with greenery resembling tropical locations. It’s one of the most underrated photo spots in the District, but for a city with so many lawyers is often one couples don’t want to miss!
If you’re anything like me, you love industrial chic! But you also know that bricks, industry, and Brooklyn vibes are harder to find in Washington DC when looking for engagement locations. One spot I love is Union Market and it’s surrounding areas! Ever-changing art installs garner on the walls with art and inspiring quotes, plus at night the whole area changes to be a romantic einstein light-filled oasis. There’s a rooftop on the main building you can access and endless graffiti-filled alleys. It’s close to H St and NoMA as well for other photo options, plus has great food and drink for before or after a session! Cuddle up at Union Market when choosing your engagement photo locations!
Meridian Hill Park
Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcolm X Park is a northwest DC staple and a fantastic place to do engagement photos. From the lower courtyard where there are wonderful benches and architecture to the famous cascading waterfall, Meridian Hill Park engagement sessions have tons of variety. Walk up the steps on either side, and the park becomes this secret getaway with no crowds and you can feel more comfortable while posing with your person!
The quintessential symbol of DC. The Eiffel Tower of the Capitol, the Washington Monument! If you want to signify your time in DC and make it obvious to your family back in Iowa, this is where you want to make it happen. The monument is difficult to get into photos when you’re at it, so oddly enough don’t try to get too close to it. You can strategically place the monument in your photos from as far away as the Capitol or Lincoln Memorial.
If you’re planning an engagement shoot on the mall you may need to plan a bit. I have found the national park service will have an issue if the couple is wearing wedding attire.
National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art, specifically The East Building is an incredible indoor location for DC engagement photos. There’s lots of patterns and colors, artwork, and my personal favorite: the multiverse: an escalator walkway that connects the West Building and East Building of the National Gallery of Art is a definite for some creative shots. If you still want DC, but want something a little different the NGA is your spot!
Pro tip: The National Gallery of Art closes at 5PM, so make sure you’re there before then even if the sunset is a long ways away.
Library of Congress – Madison Building
I was hesitant to include the Madison because honestly, it’s my secret weapon for engagement sessions and wedding portraits. I love the lines, color, and simplicity of the Madison building’s entryway and outdoor lounge areas. In the summer, light fills the columns with beauty and makes even iPhone photos look good (also shade!). In the winter, it’s a great place to hide your couple from the vicious DC weather.
If gorgeous European architecture is your fancy, one hidden gem in Washington DC is the National Cathedral. Because it is a few miles from Capitol Hill, the National Cathedral is seldom crowded which means you can shoot wherever you’d like. Something I love especially is the secluded garden on the backside of the church. There are benches, great light and the backdrop of the National Cathedral can turn into a street in Paris.
DC War Memorial
One of the unsung heroes of the National Mall for photo locations, the DC War Memorial is secluded and a wonderful spot for something different that still mixes luscious greens and granite looks! This is also a great spot to get warmed up as it’s near the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting pool. Very versatile!
￼Another lesser-known area but very cool for photos, Eastern Market and its surrounding area have a ton of neat little alleys and patterns to keep any couple or photographer occupied. Also, the cute houses near Barracks Row always make for fun classic engagement photos in the summer if you want a Capitol Hill Vibe
Everyone loves Georgetown! Georgetown has a ton of unique options in all kinds of weather. From the urban couple who wants the street look to the couple who wants a natural Fall leaves look, Georgetown is a great spot. Personally, I love shooting under the bridge.
Now CityCenter is one of the more controversial locations. It’s technically private and thus you need to obtain a permit if you’d like to shoot there. With all of the seasonal art installations, CityCenter can be worth it especially for couples who live and work there.
Union Station may not be the first one to come to mind when you think of DC engagement session but you’d be surprised. It’s a gorgeously designed building and in the mornings is essentially empty. Whenever I photograph DC couples here, I divide the shoot into 3 sections: outdoor iconic hallway, inside, and on top of the parking garage outside for some epic sky views!
Yards Park. Located near the Navy Yard metro, Yards Park has a ton of unique urban structures and park area, along with the Potomac River in the background which makes photos extra interesting. I like Yards Park because it’s close to good food (Bluejacket and BonChon) and honestly it’s just not a common place for engagement photos yet. I’ve also shot a ton of weddings at District Winery near there as well!
Pro Tip: Head out for ice cream at Ice Cream Jubilee after your session!
District Wharf aka “The Wharf”
South of the National Mall, DC’s newest waterfront attraction adds a fantastic engagement photo location to the Southwest quadrant! Being on the Potomac River during sunset is hard to beat, or rock a few photos in front of the modern architecture. I’m a huge fan of the variety here in within such a small space. There’s also plenty of places to grab a pre-session drink or post-session appetizer!
Pro Tip: Street parking is your best bet here if you don’t want to pay for the parking garages!
Historic Old Town Alexandria
My last recommendation on where to do engagement photos in DC isn’t in DC but it is one of the places I shoot at the most. Historic Old Town Alexandria has a variety of views and vibes from the waterfront to the loved cobblestone streets. There are great food and ice cream options too so post-session we can hang out!
National Portrait Gallery
National Portrait Gallery is one of my secret weapons when it comes to engagement photo locations in DC. Not only is the building expansive with floors on floors of unique exhibits and installations, it is all INDOORS! Never reschedule an engagement session again! In addition to being indoors, something I love about this DC engagement location is that it has earlier and later hours than it’s other District museums. So so cool!
These really are my top places for engagement photos in Washington DC, what are some secret spots you’ve found to be beautiful? To me, these are the best engagement photo locations in Washington DC!
Want an Instagram shareable version? Checkout our Instagram Guide on the 22 Best Engagement Photo Locations in Washington DC!
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Adam Mason of Mason Photography is a Washington DC Wedding Photographer who’s been photographing engagement sessions and weddings in the District for 6 years. Other than making couples feel comfortable in front of the camera, his main goal is to create memories that don’t exist yet. He exists to eliminate fear, create connection between those who are divided, and to let people become fulfilled in who they are and who they’re becoming.
Adam frequently travel for weddings and non-profit portrait sessions. He’s photographed weddings and stories in 19 countries and over 30 states from Maui to Iceland.
Learn more about Adam and Mason Photography’s
pricing & availability here: About Adam