I have had heaps of couples ask me where to snap engagement or proposal photos in DC. Welp, here you have it folks! Here is my ultimate guide to engagement locations in DC. For Virginia ideas, check out my pervious blog post on Top 5 Northern Virginia Locations.
1. John F. Kennedy Center
I absolutely love the roof of the Kennedy Center. The back of the building never has people on it. Although the building is not open at sunrise, sunset is the perfect backdrop romantic photos. You can also see the Washington Monument in some angles.
2. Georgetown Waterfront
The Georgetown Waterfront is also perfect for engagement photos. Sunrise or sunset is ideal here! You can take a stroll near the bridge or walk up near the row houses. There is an ice rink in the winter time or you could also opt to rent a boat near by. The canals are extremely private and charming for a walk near the water. You can wander one of the 3 main bridges and grab coffee after!
3. Lincoln Memorial
Many people don't know that you need a permit to shoot at the monuments. Pricing and information can be found on the NPS website. Sunrise is best for Lincoln if you want to avoid crowds and get amazing lighting. I also love the tree walkway near the main monument!
4. National Arboretum
If you're looking for a secret garden for your engagement location, the National Arboretum is it! Dumbarton Oaks or the U.S. Botanical Gardens can also give that garden feel but they do not allow professional photography. In the arboretum, the herb garden and National Columns are the best spot for photos.
5. Dupont Circle
I am in love with unique spots that are special to a couple. There are so many darling neighborhoods in DC that really any small park like Dupont can be a romantic setting for a photo! The area around Logan Circle is also quite charming as well.
6. Meridian Hill Park
Meridian Hill Park is the best location for those who like vines, cobblestone and vintage looking colors. The park is least busy at sunrise but sunset also makes for great photos here! The Josephine Butler house next door to this park is also one of my favorite wedding venues in the city!
7. Jefferson Memorial
The same rules apply for permits at the Jefferson memorial. Sunrise is by far the best lighting but you can also capture great sunset photos with less people in the back of the building.
8. Tidal Basin or Haines Point
All around the Tidal Basin is perfect for photos during blossom season but even at sunrise (on the weekend at least) you will get some tourists in your photos! During blossom season, the Kenwood neighborhood is also a great location to snap some pink blooms or you can travel out of the city for some more secluded blossom action! Check out my blog post on cherry blossom locations if you're planning for some blooms.
9. National Cathedral Gardens
This location is one of my personal favorites! I love the National Cathedral and the gardens are just stunning. You need to file for a permit to shoot here but it's totally worth it!
10. National Portrait Gallery
This is one of my favorite indoor locations! You really do need to get lucky with the tourist influx so it is best to go on a weekday or Sunday before close.
11. Smithsonian Gardens
This location is ideal because it is right on the mall! You can pick your favorite museum beforehand and maybe even snap some photos on the carousel.
12. Capitol Building
The two best places to get a snap of the capitol building are places you might expect! The back of the building is right near the Library of Congress (which also makes for a stunning backdrop). The lawn at the front of the building is also an obvious choice but the Pennsylvaia Ave crosswalk is also fun at sunrise! Capitol Building is stunning inside and out. I would LOVE to get on the Speakers Balcony but you need an escort. The west lawn before the steps is also stunning!
13. Surrounding Neighborhoods
DC is filled with picturesque neighborhoods. Mt. Pleasant, Logan Circle and Georgetown provide a fun cityscape back drop for any session!
I just love these iron gates and the gothic architecture. At sunrise, you have the place to yourself!
16. Dumbarton Oaks Park
Dumbarton Oaks is a dream... Ok, so technically for hire photography is not allowed inside the gardens but you can go around to the areas surrounding including the Dumbarton House and path starting at Lover's Lane.
17. Franciscan Monastery, St. Francis Hall
When the flowers are in bloom here, it is stunning! I love the arches and little gardens.
18. Union Station
I just love the colors at Union Station,! It is best at sunrise but good in the rain as well!
19. Federal Triangle
The Federal Triangle area looks like Europe! It may be a metro stop but it has very classic vibes!
YOU CAN ALSO CHOOSE ANY OF THESE WEDDING VENUES AS AN ENGAGEMENT BACKDROP
There you have it folks, the best engagement locations in DC. Here are some other less popular options to consider: Roosevelt Island, Eastern Market, Union Market, The Zoo and Nats Park (for all you baseball fans). You can even walk around the many college campuses that have stunning backdrops for engagement photos. For the more adventurous couple, check out my bucket list shooting locations.
I hope this was helpful for your planning! Remember, sunrise and sunset are the best times for any location. Definitely consider the seasonal look you want for your session as well!