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Top 14 Engagement Session Locations in Washington, DC

Washington DC is one of the most beautiful cities in the country to take engagement photos. It’s an especially sweet city if you are a DC native, work in the area, or love history. Over the past 6 years, DC has proven time and time again to offer a beautiful variety for portraits! If you are in need of ideas for specific spots, here are my top 14:

couple strolls together during engagement photos at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC

1. Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool

Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial is a sight to behold. All the tourists have yet to crowd the monument, as the sun shines through the trees along the reflecting pool. This spot offers so much variety. Classic white marble steps and columns, lush trees, and the potomac river right behind the monument for a waterfront option.

The only caveat for the Lincoln is that it is on National Park Service property, and requires a photography permit ($140 – found here).

Highlights: Stunning views and a lot of variety

Cost: $140 Permit Fee

Bride and groom dancing at the War Memorial in Washington DC

2. DC War Memorial

The DC War Memorial is rare in the fact that it is so tucked away. Right along the reflecting pool tree line, the rotunda of the war memorial is a stunning location for an engagement session or an intimate wedding ceremony!

Highlights: Secluded classic white marble memorial along the reflecting pool

Cost: $140 Permit Fee

Couple strolls together in front of the Capitol Building in Washington DC

3. East Side of the Capitol Building

The Capitol building is one of the most iconic buildings in the US, and for good reason. The East side offers a lot of walking space, greenery, and walking paths. The mall side of the Capitol building is a bit slanted and makes it a bit trickier to take photos. One perk of the Capitol building is that it’s free to take photos there! Capitol building police are always kind and encouraging while taking photos.

Pro: An iconic DC landmark with a variety of architecture and nature

Cost: Free!

engagement photos at the Library of Congress in Washington DC

Couple smiles at the camera in the Supreme Court Gardens with the Washington DC Capitol building in the background4.

4. Library of Congress & Supreme Court Gardens

The Library of Congress has classic french Washington DC architecture and several levels of walking space — perfect for portraits with the capitol in the background! I love to pair the Library of Congress with the Supreme Court steps and side gardens (a 2 minute walk away). You can easily sneak the Capitol building into the background, or walk over to the Capitol to include that as well. Click here to see this full engagement session!

Pro: An iconic DC landmark with a variety of architecture and nature

Cost: Free!

Couple smiles at the camera at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Washington DC

5. Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Although the Jefferson Memorial is currently under construction, it’s stunning when it’s in full swing! Click here to see this Engagement Session all around the memorial. The circular monument always has beautiful light, and it’s spot on the Tidal Basin can’t be beaten. This is the place to be during Cherry Blossom season (although I do love a few hidden gems away from tourists during that time!)

Highlights: Classic white marble, along the Tidal Basin

Cost: $140 Permit Fee

A couple strolls along the rooftop terrace of the Kennedy Center Washington DC

6. Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center is a great option for beautiful architecture without screaming “Washington DC.” You can typically take photos along the ground level as well as the rooftop terrace.

Highlights: Modern Architecture

Cost: Free!

Georgetown streets engagement photos Washington DC

7. Georgetown streets

The streets of Georgetown are so charming – I especially like starting on 31st street. There is also a public park nearby called Montrose Park for variety!

Highlights: Charming, away from hustle and bustle, nearby to several public parks

Cost: Free!

Engagement Photos along the C&O Canal in Georgetown Washington DC

8. Georgetown waterfront park and the C&O Canal

The C&O Canal will always hold a special place in my heart since my husband proposed to me there, but it’s also such a pretty backdrop for photos! Be sure to check in to make sure the Canal isn’t drained when planning your portraits. The waterfront park along the Potomac is also wonderful for portraits!

Highlights: Waterfront, few crowds

Cost: Free!

Engagement Photos at the Old Stone House on M Street in Georgetown

9. Old Stone House Gardens on M Street

The Old Stone House on M street is a delightfully surprising quiet space along M street. It’s the perfect spot if you want secluded portraits, and then photos strolling along the streets of Georgetown!

Highlights: Secluded, green space, very close to other Georgetown spots

Cost: Free!

A couple dances in the garden at Tudor Place in Washington DC

10. Tudor Place

Tudor Place is a historical venue in the heart of Georgetown. The grounds are so beautiful, especially in the spring! Acquiring a photo permit is a bit of an investment, but the variety of the grounds is totally worth it. Click here to see a full session from Tudor Place!

Highlights: Waterfront, few crowds

Cost: $200 per hour for a photo permit from the venue

Bride and groom strolling along the facade of Union Station in Washington DC

11. Union Station

The facade of Union Station provides stunning archways and columns. It is also right across the street from a park with plenty of walkways for photos with greenery!

Highlights: Beautiful architecture, has frequent tourists, though.

Cost: Free!

A portrait of a couple in Meridian Hill Park in Washington DC with stairs and a water feature

12. Meridian Hill Park

Meridian Hill Park is a great option if you are thinking of a mix of greenery and architecture. It’s also free!

Highlights: Large park with variety

Cost: Free!

Couple dancing in an alley in Old Town Alexandria

13. Old Town Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria is not technically in the Washington DC, but I love it SO much that I had to include it on this list. Between historical row homes, gardens, the pier, a waterfront park – there is an insane amount of variety for portraits.

Highlights: Lots of variety, super charming

Cost: Free! (A $25 permit at the Carlyle house, though.)


Engagement session in a neighborhood in downtown Washington DC

14. Your Apartment & neighborhood!

I like to cast a vision for engagement sessions for couples in this way: if you could see images of your great great grandparents doing something they loved together on a normal day of their relationship, wouldn’t you cherish those forever? Engagement sessions provide that opportunity! They aren’t simply an item to check of the to do list or a means of creating a Save The Date; they last much longer than that!

I always ask couples a few questions before we choose an engagement session location. What do you love to do together? How did you first start dating? Sometimes the most genuine images are in your local coffee shop, or walking around your neighborhood. Where do you feel the most like you. That’s one of the reasons an in home session can be so fun!

Highlights: Where couples are the most comfortable.

Cost: Free!

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