Shelly Pate

DC Engagement Photographer: My Favorite Sunrise Spot to Capture Your Love

It’s a privilege being an engagement and wedding photographer in the beautiful city of Washington, DC. I photograph so much more than what passes in front of my lens. I get to capture love, excitement, nervousness and all the mixed feelings that go into the relationships that lead to weddings. Mostly, it’s capturing love. As a DC engagement photographer, one of my favorite places to do this is at the Lincoln Memorial during sunrise.

Couple holds hands standing beside reflecting pool at Lincoln Memorial

Capturing Your Sunrise Engagement Photos Before the Birds are Chirping

Washington, DC boasts an endless supply of historic landmarks, tucked-away hidden gems, and remarkable architecture serving as the perfect backdrop for capturing any occasion. But, when it comes to documenting two people in love–nothing beats the Lincoln Memorial at sunrise. Sure, we have to get up stinkin’ early to do it. And yes, depending on the time of year, it might be a little cold.

But, there’s just something magical about that early morning air when it’s just the two of you by the glistening water of the Reflecting Pool when the sun is just starting to peak over the Washington Monument. It seriously cannot get any more romantic than that. As your DC engagement photographer, I disappear as you two shine in the morning light while I capture your love!

The Washington Monument at sunrise by Reflecting Pool

A DC Engagement Photographer Who Just Can’t Stop Going Back!

I can’t help but return to the Lincoln Memorial because of the lighting! An added bonus to going at sunrise is the guarantee of fewer people present than any other time of day. We often have the space entirely to ourselves! That’s saying a lot for taking DC engagement photos at a national monument.

DC engagement photographer captures couple holding hands in front of Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool

The sun rises on the Washington Monument side, so we get beautiful light resting on both the Lincoln and the Reflecting Pool. It’s easy to walk alongside the water and capture you two just enjoying one another as naturally as possible! The sunrise colors are just gorgeous and the white monument allows for an open color palette for outfits! Wearing both neutrals and colors looks amazing.

The Many Options the Lincoln Memorial Provides

Fewer people at sunrise means not only less distractions in your photos but also more spaces within the Lincoln’s columns for us to get those perfect angles. We can get creative! I love the variety that these grand and small spots have to offer. Seriously, every time I go I find a new space, angle, or side of the monument I newly love!

Couple walks along columns at DC engagement session

I’m get to be both your DC engagement photographer and your tour guide! I really love photographing my couples within the interior columns showing the Washington Monument in the background. I also like taking couples on the side of the Memorial so we are standing on the grass with the Monument behind them. There are also areas by the Reflection Pool with willow trees that provide a bit of nature in this urban spot.

Tips for Taking Your Photos at the Lincoln Memorial

Being both your DC engagement photographer and local expert, I’m here to help you best plan your engagement photo session! Here are my insider tips!

  • Best Time of Year: photos seriously look good any time of year! This more so depends upon your comfort level in the cold or heat. It can be chilly in the early mornings no matter the season so bring a jacket that you can throw on if you get cold.
  • Plan Extra Time: for getting ready, transportation, and parking at the Lincoln. Parking especially can take longer than you expect. I recommend parking on Ohio Drive SW or Constitution Ave.
  • Permits: generally, a permit is not required for an engagement session, though it is  for a wedding. We can chat about this in more detail on our consultation call or you can find more information here.
Couple holds dogs in front of Lincoln Memorial captured by DC engagement photographer
  • Include Your Pups! Yes, bring them, they just cannot go inside the monument itself. I recommend bringing along a friend or family member to watch your fur baby while we shoot!
  • Make a Day of It: get plenty of sleep the night before and plan an awesome breakfast date afterwards!
Couple embraces on steps of Lincoln Memorial at sunrise engagement session

 A PRO TIP from Your DC Engagement Photographer

I highly recommend combining your hair and makeup trial with your engagement photos. This allows you to get to know each other and your artist can then learn your preferences. I would only recommend doing your HMU trial before your sunrise engagement session if you can start early enough to be un-rushed. If you’re an early rise–then go for it!

P.S. You Don’t Have To Get Up Early

Couple walks dog together in front of Lincoln Memorial at sunset

Take it from a DC engagement photographer who loves shooting the Lincoln Memorial at any time of day: sunset is just as beautiful! There will just be more people around so you’ll have to allow a little more time for parking. No matter sunrise or sunset, the sides of the memorial will always be free of tourists. So there are options and then you can do your HMU trial session without feeling rushed!

If you’re thinking that the Lincoln Memorial is the place for your engagement photos then I would love to talk about my favorite spots and shots!

Couple dances beside columns at sunrise captured by DC engagement photographer
DC engagement photographer takes artsy photo of couple standing beside Lincoln Memorial columns
Couple holds hands leaning against wall at sunrise engagement session
Couple embraces at sunrise captured by DC engagement photographer

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