Washington DC is a wonderful city with many beautiful monuments, parks, and public gardens. It’s no wonder that people dream of taking their outdoor portrait photography sessions in one of these areas.
As a DC area portrait photographer, I like to schedule my outdoor portrait sessions during April, May and early June to enjoy the beautiful spring greenery and then in September and October for the fall colors. I tend to avoid the summer months like late June, July and August because DC is SOOOOO HOT AND HUMID!
Here is what you need to know about taking professional portraits at Washington DC’s monuments and why it’s a great idea to get creative with your locations!
Washington DC Outdoor Photography Permits
Did you know that in order to take professional photos in front of the Lincoln Memorial, you do need a permit? Yes! The Lincoln Memorial is a National Park, and requires the proper permit. You have to apply for the permit ahead of time, and costs about $50. The permit is only good for a specific day, so if we needed to reschedule our session due to weather or any other reason, we’d have to apply for another permit. That’s another $50! There are further restrictions on where you can take commercial photos near certain places as well. You can view the full list of restricted areas on the National Parks website.
Another consideration is the crowds. I schedule my family portrait sessions during the Golden Hour – about an hour before sunset – for the best light. When the weather is nice, these monuments can get quite crowded. Just because we have a permit doesn’t mean we get any special privileges besides being able to take photos!
Creative Outdoor Portrait Locations in Washington DC
With that said, if you’re looking for outdoor portraits with a DC-worthy backdrop, there are lots of other options. In fact, I have a few favorite spots just down the street from my studio that are beautiful, accessible, and create that backdrop that we’re looking for. My studio is adjacent to Glover Archbold Park, which has a variety of nice locations. The Georgetown University Campus is a short walk and has old, majestic trees and a few water features. We can get really creative when it comes to finding a location. There are other local parks and urban spots that work nicely as well. It’s no secret that parking in DC can be a nightmare, so finding a location with convenient parking is a huge plus.
Outdoor Portrait Artwork
Finally, consider your final portrait artwork. This may sound funny, but we don’t want the background of your artwork to steal the show. Yes, let’s take outdoor portraits that are uniquely DC, but we want the focus and attention on your beautiful family. Instead of guests looking at the monument, they’ll see how happy your family is in the portrait.
Washington DC Portrait Photographer
As a Washington DC photographer and resident, I completely understand the appeal of taking your outdoor portraits in front of a beloved monument. However, we can skip the hassle of crowds and still capture your portrait with a DC background you’ll love. I have a list of outdoor locations to choose from that won’t require us to jump through hoops.
If you have any questions or want to schedule a consultation, please send me a message here.