Favorite Locations In And Around Washington DC

One of the first questions I get when booking a client is, “Where do you recommend we have the session?”. With that in mind, I thought I’d list here my favorite locations in and around DC to help you decide where your session with me will take place.

Whether you booked an engagement session, a family session, or a solo session with me, I want you to pick a location that has deep meaning to you. It’s there that we’ll create the most gorgeous images you could have hoped for.

Keep in mind that most locations in the DMV require a paid photography permit! I’ve highlighted them in bold, so know that if you pick one of them, we’ll need to factor that in.

Without further ado, here’s my list of favorite locations in the DMV:


NATURE

Do you love hiking? Is that something you and your significant other do on the regular? Then let’s go explore!

I have a secret spot, with an easy trail, right behind my in-laws’ backyard. This is a woodsy location and I love it because for most of the year it feels like a you’re about to enter your very own fairytale.

Other spots I’ve photographed at or would love to get to: Billy Goat Trail A in MD, Sugarloaf Mountain in MD, Bear’s Den in VA, Rock Creek Park in DC.

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URBAN

I love exploring the city, so if you’re like me, let’s get lost in DC!

I like to think of these urban sessions as real hang-outs. We can plan the session around an activity like visiting your favorite bookshop, or getting a coffee at a cute cafe.

Union Market is a fun place to hang around a summer afternoon. We can get a drink before the shoot, or after, or both!

Other options are Capitol Hill, Blagden Alley, and the Eastern Market area.

Some of my favorite sessions were done in the client’s own neighborhood. So if you love your neck of the woods, that’s a good place to consider.

 

HISTORIC

We are in one of the most culturally rich areas of the United States. So much of history happened right here! Here are some nature/historic sites that can be the perfect location for your session:

MD: Great Falls, Monocacy Battlefield, Glen Echo Park, Hampton Historic Mansion, Glenview Mansion (I got married there!), Rawlings Conservatory

VA: Old Town Alexandria, Manassas Battlefield

West Virginia: Harpers Ferry

Washington DC: Georgetown, Tudor Place

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CLASSIC WASHINGTON DC

Let’s talk about permits, because this, my friends, is permit-land. I would love for our bureaucratic institutions that decide these things to get with the times and make this easier on all of us family/engagement photographers, but that’s a topic for another post!

If you dream of photos with any of the monuments as the setting, know that the NPS charges a fee of $140. It takes between a week and 3 weeks to get it processed and you have to fax it in. It’s like they’re stuck in 1989.

With that said, I’m not gonna lie, I love a sunrise shoot at the Jefferson Memorial, or in the less visited spots like Constitution Gardens and the DC War Memorial. Super important though… It has to be a sunrise shoot. Otherwise you’re looking at sharing the spot with 1000 teenagers on their 8th grade field trip and trust me, that’s no fun.

I personally prefer to photograph on the Capitol Grounds (also at sunrise or Sunday sunsets when the buildings are closed!!). They require a permit, but there’s no fee! AAAH! JOY! From there we can even sneak in a few shots around the Library of Congress and if you’re an RBG fan like me, I’ll take you to the Supreme Court too!

 
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LOCAL DC

These are the spots locals love to frequent and they can be such great locations for shoots!

One of my top choices is the Kennedy Center rooftop, which is available as long as there’s no event going on. The clean, stark architecture and views of the city at sunset make for great photos. The Georgetown Waterfront is another good spot with beautiful views of the Key Bridge (a DC staple). I also love Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan for a neighborhood vibe.

Another favorite location of mine is the National Gallery of Art. Not inside (that’s technically not allowed), but the outside. It’s such gorgeous architecture and we can get really creative with it!

 

THE BEACH

Did you know we can get to the Eastern Shore in less than an hour? Sandy Point State Park and Terrapin Beach Park are two beaches on the Chesapeake Bay I’d love to do a session at.

 

AT HOME

Your home is where the magic happens. It’s where you and your loved ones feel most comfortable. Where you can let your hair down and allow me to capture your true self in all your gorgeous glory.

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The main goal of my sessions is to capture real moments and nothing is realer than the place where you live. Of course I’ll sneak in a perfect framer for grandma’s mantelpiece, but I thrive on recording truth. I want you to hold in your hands, years from now, images that will make your eyes well up. Images that will make you smile because you’re so happy that I was able to capture a fleeting moment you hoped you’d never forget.

The only thing that we need for a home session to work is light. Lots of it! Big windows that let in a good amount of natural light. And we’re set!

Best thing about a home session: no permit required! :D

Elisenda Llinares