PHOTOGRAPHY

Shelly Pate

Best Washington, DC Locations for Flowers in Spring Engagement Photos

The experience of discovering flowers in an urban setting at springtime is magical. Finding the city of Washington, DC decorated with spring florals is the perfect setting for portrait photography. From sunrise to sunset there are many opportunities to capture one of my favorite seasons in the city. Here are my top recommendations for taking spring engagement photos surrounded by flowers in Washington, DC.

The Perfect Urban Setting for Spring Engagement Photos

sunrise at tidal basin with cherry blossoms at Washington Monument

The gorgeous flowers found throughout the city following winter provide the ideal setting for your spring engagement photos. There are endless spots to explore as we cater your spring photo session to fit your personality as a couple. Even if spring wedding colors aren’t your style, we can still incorporate the beauty available to us in this season. It is the perfect finishing touch to complement your spring engagement photo outfits and overall look.

couple kisses under cherry blossoms at Tidal Basin engagement session

In the DC Metro Area, it helps to capture your engagement photos or proposals during the more temperate seasons of the year such as spring. This allows us to capture your photos indoors and outdoors without much complication. Below are some highlights and tips according to shooting during different seasons in Washington, DC:

You can also explore options in the surrounding DC Metro Area:

  1. Spring Engagement Photo Ideas on Assateague Island, Maryland 
  2. Old Town Alexandria, Virginia Engagement Guide
  3. Baltimore Winter Engagement Tips
  4. Fall Forest Trail for Maryland Engagement Photos

Where to Go for Your Spring Engagement Photos

The following are my favorite locations in Washington, DC for photographing spring engagement photos. Also included are pro tips from my own experience as an engagement photographer in DC. Some of these location recommendations are outside of the city or don’t even feature flowers!

Cherry Blossoms

couple kisses under cherry blossoms at DC engagement session

For popular tourist areas like the cherry blossoms and the Lincoln Memorial, sunrise is always best! Weekdays at sunrise provides the bonus of fewer people around and the pretty golden hour light. I recommend taking the Metro and booking a ride rather than driving and encountering limited parking. At the Tidal Basin, be prepared for crowds no matter the time of day though there are some areas a little off the beaten path. If we are past the peak blooms, I’ll also search the day before our session for the best spots!

couple walks holding hands under cherry blossoms for DC spring engagement photos
engagement ring on tulip at DC spring engagement photos
  • East Potomac Park: Hains Point: east side of the park where Yoshino cherry blossoms bloom during peak blooming season (late March-early April). 
  • Keep in mind that it is usually still cold when the cherry blossoms bloom and they are very temperamental flowers. Despite predictions, they often end up blooming early or late.
  • Due to the crowds, I would not recommend this spot for spring flower photos with your pups.

Rawlins Park in Foggy Bottom

It’s a public park near George Washington University that’s two blocks away from the White House and National Mall. This public park turns into a sea of pink when the magnolias are in bloom in early March.

couple walks holding hands in florals for DC spring engagement photos

The National Arboretum

couple sits under flowers at National Arboretum spring engagement photos

One of my favorite Washington, DC engagement photoshoot spots, the National Arboretum is an epic botanical garden just north of the Capitol building. It offers a calmer, less crowded atmosphere for your spring engagement photos that doesn’t require a sunrise session. The following are some of its best features (note that shooting here does require a permit):

  • Cherry blossoms
  • Dogwood trees
  • Magnolias
  • Azaleas
  • Herb garden
  • Trails
  • Vast open fields
  • Asian gardens
  • Flowering rose gardens
  • Conifer trees
couple walks beside flowers at National Arboretum spring engagement photos

Tudor Place

bride walks down aisle at Tudor Place wedding
couple kisses in garden at Tudor Place wedding

Enid A. Haupt Garden – Smithsonian Gardens

The Enid A. Haupt Garden is a public garden located between the Smithsonian Castle and Independence Avenue along the National Mall. It features Victorian-styled gardens of the mid to late 19th century. These flowers generally bloom 2-3 weeks prior to the DC cherry blossoms.

Flowers are featured throughout the property in the Parterre, the Moongate Garden and the Fountain Garden. I love the beautiful 9-foot tall pink granite moon gates that surround the pool in the Moongate Garden. This is also a great alternative to the crowds at the Tidal Basin for spring engagement photos during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Dumbarton House

couple exchanges vows at Dumbarton House wedding ceremony

Dumbarton House is a historic wedding venue and museum perfect for smaller more intimate weddings and engagement photos with a garden party vibe!

St. Francis Hall & Gardens

couple kisses in garden at St. Francis Hall & Gardens

St. Francis Hall sits right next door to the Franciscan Monastery which hosts beautiful gardens with a variety of archways and blooming flowers to explore. The gardens have such a European style from the architecture of the walkways to the covered arches and terracotta roof shingles. From the vast lush gardens to the stonework and high ceilings of St. Francis Hall itself, you aren’t going to find anything like it!

The National Cathedral – Bishop’s Garden

couple kisses at National Cathedral garden wedding

Bishop’s Garden has medieval-style stone structures featuring sculptures, blossoming wisteria, and vibrant tulips with peak blooms mid-April and onwards. There are many other gorgeous spots along the grounds with the National Cathedral as your backdrop!

  1. Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington, DC has 25 acres with different blooms per season including orchids in winter due to their greenhouse.
woman sits on Spanish steps for Meridian Hill Park headshots
  1. Meridian Hill Park: located in Adams Morgan, this super green Italian-style garden provides a garden feel with glimpses of the city from its Spanish steps and romantic alcoves throughout. 
woman poses at Meridian Hill Park headshots
  1. Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC is always beautiful and has great open spaces suited best for including your dogs even off leash in the fields.  
  2. Great Falls Park is a national park in Maryland with lots of running water, various falls, wooded areas and meadows.
  3. Georgetown offers lots of color and greenery, even if flowers aren’t included in every photo. 
  1. The National Portrait Gallery’s courtyard is an indoor DC option that doesn’t require a permit.

Locations in the Greater DC Metro Area for Spring Engagement Photos

couple poses at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens engagement session
  1. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia (requires a permit) includes many blooms in the spring such as daffodils, tulips, lilacs, wildflowers and irises.
couple poses in wildflower field at 48 Fields Farm wedding
  1. 48 Fields Farm, close to downtown Leesburg, Virginia boasts a beautiful barn with a gorgeous yellow wildflower field (that actually blooms in the fall but has gorgeous spring flowers too!) 
  1. An alternative is taking photos at your own local park like these two did in Falls Church, Virginia for both their spring elopement and vow renewal! Choose a favorite location that perhaps you regularly go to for runs or walking your dogs like this wildflower field where we captured engagement photos in the fall!
couple poses in garden at spring engagement photos

I love so many of these locations for the pops of color that spring flower photography provides even for wedding photos. We can go to any of these spots for the first look, pre-ceremony portraits or bridals, or during golden hour. The light of golden hour changes the look of the flowers so if you want to showcase those colors we’ll take the photos earlier in the day. There are so many options available for spring engagement photos!

couple poses under cherry blossom at DC Tidal Basin engagement session

Ready to explore springtime in Washington, DC? Let’s start planning your engagement session adventure!

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