Washington, DC is home to some of the most beautiful engagement session photo locations in the US. Every year, we photograph couples from all over the country (and world!) who want a photography session at the iconic memorials or tidal basin during cherry blossoms.
Our local couples, however, often want something a little bit more unique. However, finding that picture-perfect unique photo location can be difficult.
Where do I even start to look? What makes a photo location pretty? What day of the week or time of day is best? Do I need a permit to have my engagement session there?
That’s where we come in!
Now admittedly, we have a LOT of engagement session location ideas. While they aren’t necessarily as well-known as the Lincoln Memorial, some of them are a bit more recognizable.
But this list is different.
In this engagement session photo location list, you will find our very most top secret spots for engagement photos. These are the spots that we LOVE, but typically keep to ourselves and our couples so that they don’t get overrun with photographers.
However, we like you a lot, and we want to share the love.
Some of these photo spots are truly so far off of most people’s radar that you’d never come across them. Some of these spots are idea-based and can be adjusted to fit your unique style. And some of these spots are flat-out “hidden in plain sight,” so much so that you might wonder, “how did I not know that was there?!”
So, without further ado, I give you our list of top secret engagement photo spots in the Washington, DC region!
This spot is hands-down one of the most underrated (and unknown!) engagement session photo locations in the DC area. We stumbled across this spot one day, long ago, while strolling around the Capitol just for fun and have never forgotten it! It’s the perfect location for a mixture of classic DC photos and a unique, less “iconic” backdrop. You can easily walk to the east side of the Capitol during your session for beautiful photos with the building in the background OR skip the Capitol all together and go to the quaint Capitol Hill streets nearby as a second location.
I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you’ve never even been past this spot, but it’s one of the most beautiful engagement session photo locations in the area! When the roses are in bloom, this beautiful garden is STUNNING and completely filled with colorful roses. We recommend May-August to really take advantage of peek bloom, and June is usually the very best time of year to enjoy!
The NGA is no secret to DC locals and tourists alike, but did you know that you can have your engagement session INSIDE the museum?
We absolutely love this spot for its unique and diverse feel. The modern art sections of the building have tons of negative space and interesting architecture, and the more traditional and historic areas of the building have a beautiful, classic look to them. In the winter, you can plan an entirely indoor shoot and still have beautiful results. In the warmer months, you can shoot outdoors around the museum as well!
Ask us for our favorite routes through the gallery or we can guide you to our favorite spots!
This gorgeous historic estate is a La Vie En Rose team favorite! Nestled in Georgetown and easy to miss, Tudor Place’s gardens are well-worth the $250 permit fee to shoot here. For a truly romantic and all-encompassing garden engagement session experience, this is the place to go!
Because we are connected with the staff at Tudor Place, we can help you apply for and obtain the proper permitting and also ensure that we gain entrance to the gardens at the right time of day! April through June is our favorite time to shoot here, although it honestly is gorgeous throughout the entire year!
If you’re up for venturing further outside the city, we adore Fleetwood Farm for its relaxed atmosphere and completely tourist-free space. Fleetwood is a lovely spot for engagement photos specifically because there is a mixture of “being in nature” and quaint country cottage vibes. It’s also a great option because you can enjoy a glass of wine before or after your session – a great way to create an entire experience!
One of my personal all-time favorite engagement session locations is The Reach at Kennedy Center. I’ve always loved the Kennedy Center for sessions in general, but the newest addition has beautiful reflected light, dreamy gardens and lots of open space. The white marble of the building reflects light in a particularly flattering way, and the location lends itself to a multiple-location session or simply taking advantage of the rooftop deck at the main building.
Great Marsh has been increasing in popularity as a wedding venue since it opened in 2018, and for good reason. The estate house is SO pretty and uniquely designed, and the back patio ceremony space is stunning. So, it’s super fun that the owners of the venue allow couples to have engagement sessions there! While there is a permit fee for photographing on site, it’s a truly unique spot that has options for gorgeous backdrops and angles all of the property!
Another “hiding in plain sight” location is the Supreme Court building and gardens surrounding it. As usual, the white marble architecture reflects light beautifully and creates a stunning and stately backdrop. You also get a lovely garden setting right next to it so that your final photo gallery has a variety of looks!
It’s important to look up on-going news and activities around this building before your session, as it is sometimes blocked off from the public. Even if it ends up being unexpectedly inaccessible, there are so many other gorgeous spots within just a few blocks to take advantage of, including the Library of Congress and the Capitol building itself!
If you’re looking for an urban vibe in DC without being too grungy, Logan Circle + 14th St are the perfect fit. Particularly if you live near this area of town, the walkability and authentic DC feel of this neighborhood give it a distinctly different vibe than most of our other photo locations! We recommend sunrise for this spot to avoid large crowds. We can guide you around our favorite streets or let you lead the way if you have specific locations in mind!
A bonus to this location is ending at Meridian Hill Park, which is an old favorite of ours! While the fountain at the park is out of service (for we don’t even know how long!), it’s still has some really lovely spots and is a great secondary option if you want a mixture of urban and garden looks.
As an extension of the last recommendation, we love when our couples choose locations that are meaningful and unique to them. If you love your neighborhood or have a favorite café or bar that has charm, this can be an ideal location for a photo session! We recommend pairing this option with another nearby option that is outdoors so that we can get plenty of natural light portraits (both seated and standing) during your session.
We will give you recommendations about whether or not we think a spot is ideal for photos and can also recommend a secondary location nearby!
A very often overlooked engagement session photo option is your own wedding venue (or another venue in the area!). Wedding venues often have designated beautiful spaces that are specifically ideal for portraits, and these spots are also often unoccupied during weekdays, especially in the earlier morning!
If you have a vision in mind for your engagement session but can’t quite figure out the right spot, a wedding venue is a great next step. We can help you find the perfect spot to fit your vibe and will even lead the process of getting necessary permits or permission in advance!
Romantic with moody fall vibes and jewel tones, this wedding was cozy and so beautifully designed.
La Vie En Rose photographs their 100th wedding at an all-time favorite wedding venue, Rockhouse Hotel.
Mixing sophisticated style with family traditions and meaningful moments - our kind of DC wedding!
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