You’re engaged!! Congratulations!!! You’ve set a date, you’ve begun the planning process, and now you’re planning your engagement session. Here is the question of the hour— where should you take engagement portraits?? Thankfully, if you live in or near Washington, DC, you have dozens of stunning, iconic backgrounds to use as a backdrop for your love story. Of course there are the obvious choices (the Monuments are so timeless!!), but if you’re looking for some creative DC engagement session location backgrounds without the monuments, here are a 22 of my favorites:
1. National Gallery of Art
Sometimes a couple wants DC engagement portraits without being too “monument-heavy.” This is my favorite spot for sunrise sessions on the Mall— it gives a nod to iconic monuments without screaming “DC”, all the while feauturing amazing, high-class backdrops.
2. American Pharmacists Association
Just steps from the Lincoln Memorial, this gorgeous outdoor space on Constitution Avenue gives the elegance of Georgian architecture without saying, “Hey! We’re in DC!!”
3. Alexandria Waterfront
I love the nautical, charming feel of Alexandria’s waterfront! Smaller-scale than Annapolis with close proximity to DC.
4. Downtown Bethesda
For an out-of-the-ordinary look still close to the city, Bethesda’s murals offer some wonderful options!
5. National Cathedral
Gorgeous architecture and neutral stonework makes a perfect backdrop for any classy couple.
6. Peirce Mill Park
For the couple who prefers a more rustic, outdoors backdrop without traveling outside of the city, Peirce Mill Park is a wonderful option. Old stone buildings, herringbone-patterned wood doors, a large field, plenty of trees, and an old mill wheel.
7. Woodley Park
Just steps from the National Zoo, this neighborhood features stunning architectural arches and amazing light… and my favorite tree in DC.
8. Reagan National Airport & Gravelly Point Park
For any couple who has endured long-distance dating and engagement (or jobs that involve a lot of travel), the airport becomes about as comfortable as the living room. If you want planes to feature in your photos, consider doing photos at Gravelly Point, right next to the airport!
9. Capitol Hill
A quiet neighborhood make for walking— wide sidewalks, happy homes, and plenty of neutral backgrounds.
10. Your Favorite Coffee Shop
The window of a favorite coffee shop offers some amazing framing, while giving a nod to your favorite date moments.
11. Historic Eastern Market
One of the oldest marketplaces in the US, this historic area is a neighborhood favorite, and offers a gorgeous backdrop for photos!
12. Yards Park
If you’re a Nats fan, you already know how amazing Yards Park is! Modern landscape, waterfront, and the National’s Stadium right there!
13. Meridian Hill Park
Tiered fountains, careful landscaping, and quiet sunset moments make this park a favorite for anyone in or near Adams Morgan.
14. Georgetown University
Georgetown is dear to the heart of many Washington residents, and many choose to include it in their engagement session!
15. Georgetown Waterfront
Classic Georgetown backdrop, with fun visual elements like the water fountain and the Key Bridge.
16. Georgetown Canal
Offers a bit more privacy than the Georgetown Streets, with a shot of the iconic Georgetown Canal boat.
17. Georgetown Streets
Popular enough to need it’s own category, Georgetown is a favorite backdrop for many couples who enjoy living, brunching, shopping, and relaxing in this part of the city.
18. National Mall
If you love the being in the heart of the city but want neutral backgrounds, the National Mall is perfect!
19. US Capitol
Nothing says “DC” like the US Capitol. If you love this city and want it to feature strongly in your engagement photos, use this building as your background!
I can’t do a roundup of DC engagement session locations without including the three most popular…
20. Jefferson Memorial
With it’s gently curved rotunda, round roof, and perfect pillars, the Jefferson Memorial is favorite backdrop for engagement photos. Choose a sunrise start time if you want to avoid tourists, or a sunset session if you want a warm soft glow breaking in through the columns.
21. Reflecting Pool
If you love sunrises, love the Washington Monument, and want to guarantee gorgeous light in your engagement photos, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool is the spot for you!! I start sessions here more than any other spot in DC… and you can see why!! And the tree-lined pathways lining either side of the pool provide great lines and pretty backdrops as well!
22. Lincoln Memorial
Arguably the most romantic spot in DC, #SunriseAtTheLincoln is definitely “a thing.” For the best photos, start at the Reflecting Pool about 10 minutes after sunrise, and then move up toward the monument as the sun begins to peak over the trees.
So there you have it!! A roundup of the top 22 engagement session locations in DC! Did I miss any? I’m always looking for new creative ideas for engagement sessions!!