Looking for the quintessential DC backdrop for your wedding photos? Check out these 20 wedding photo hotspots.
It may seem like its all about its politics—both contemporary and historical—but Washington D.C. isn’t the most visited state just because of its political positioning. It also has some of the most scenic and characteristic backdrops around—and they make great wedding photos!
Just be careful where you point your camera. There are a number of locations where you will need to acquire a permit if you are going to bring along a professional photographer. For the most part, the restrictions are heaviest for filmmakers, but there are a still a number of locations where camera equipment will be restricted. For something like wedding photos, where you have a lot riding on the timing of the shoot, you’ll want to make sure you’ve done your homework on the locations you’re allowed to have your photos done in, any dress code or equipment restrictions, and any associated permits or fees. You should expect to pay anything from the $50 photography permit for shooting in one of DC’s many National Parks to the $150 Office of Motion Picture and Television fee, to $250 venue fees for certain locations. Your photographer should be able to help you determine which fees and permits are required for the photo backdrop you’re looking for.
Of course, the top photo locations are worth the fees. Let’s take a quick look at the stories behind the DC locations that make the absolute best wedding photo backdrops.
This former church makes for one of the most vibrant wedding photo backdrops around. Built in 1886 as Friendship Baptist Church, one of the District’s oldest African-American congregations, its urban renewal makeover combines with the building’s eclectic architectural style to create an artistically and culturally expressive wedding photo background.
Tip: Use the vibrant color of the building to set off an impacting contrast against your wedding colors.
Dating back to 1912, Meridian Hill Park, or Malcom X Park to some, is as historic as it is gorgeous. Featuring a 13-basin cascading waterfall, along with its dramatic walls, stairways, and patterned-concrete walkways, it’s the perfect spot for those dramatic wedding photos.
Tip: Take advantage of reflection by timing your wedding photos to those sunrise or sunset colors.
Designed by architects Bennett, Parsons, and Frost, the hexagonal granite monolith makes for some of the most charismatic wedding photos around.
Tips: Get your photographer to work with the movement of the water to add some extra depth to your wedding photos.
Nothing says charismatic wedding photos like an old-timey amusement park!
Tip: Put the retro style to good use with your wedding style or photo filters.
Looking for unique, charismatic, and symbolic wedding photos? Head to Dupont Circle
Tip: To add some extra fun to your photos, take your shoot to the Metro escalator!
Any sports fans out there? Head to the stadium for your shots! The Washington Nationals’ stadium is a great venue for wedding photos.
Tip: Make arrangements with the venue to make use of features like the stadium and scoreboard.
Bring your passion for brewed bubblies into your wedding photos by shooting at the DC Brau Brewery.
Tip: the wall murals, giant vats, and ceiling-high stacks of cans can add a lot of character to your photos.
Use one of DC’s many stunning murals, like the “Black Broadway” mural, for an urban wedding photo backdrop.
Tip: The “I See Something New Every Day” mural in Adams Morgan offers a charming message for your photos.
Nothing says unique architecture like the bridge at The Yards.
Tip: Play with angles and lights to make the best use of the architectural shape.
Looking for floor-to-ceiling character? Look no further than the metro!
Tip: Angles are everything!
If you’re a foodie, or just into those iconic DC backdrops, you won’t be able to pass up Ben’s Chili Bowl.
Tip: Wait until the photos—and the wedding—are over before you partake in that snack!
Spiderman isn’t the only one having fun in the multiverse. Leo Villareal’s “Multiverse” light installation offers a great wedding photo backdrop.
Tip: Choose a photographer who knows how to work with light in photos.
Speaking of amazing architecture, the vaulted ceilings and 38 million books make a beautiful backdrop for wedding photos—especially if you are a couple of book lovers.
Tip: Take advantage of the tiered levels to work some great perspective into your wedding photos.
Nothing says elegant wedding photo backdrop like the National Gallery of Art—just double check with the gallery to make sure you have permissions to use your favorite area in your photos.
Tip: Use the stairs in the East Wing for some extra photo elegance.
Looking for cultural character? Head to Chinatown for some unique and fun wedding photos.
Tip: The Friendship Arch makes for some dramatic—and symbolic—wedding shots.
DC has a number of beautiful parks and gardens for a wedding photo background filled with vibrancy and growth.
Tip: Head to the Tidal Basin in the spring for some amazing cherry blossom shots.
DC is home to a number of memorials, including the Jefferson Memorial and the DC War Memorial. Both make monumental—and respectful—photo backdrops.
Tip: The DC War Memorial has all the columns you could want for your wedding photos.
Named in 1964 as a memorial to President John F. Kennedy, the Kennedy Center makes for some great wedding photos.
Tip: take your photos to the roof terrace to capture background views of Georgetown and the Potomac River.
Did someone say architectural goldmine? Union Station offers character and class for any wedding shoot.
Tip: Make the most of the architecture of those vaulted ceilings with angled shots.
Want to take the quintessential DC wedding photo? Shoot with the Capitol in the background. Circa 1800, the massive dome makes a beautifully—and recognizably—architectural icon for your photo backdrop.
Tip: play with the lighting around you to create the perfect city vibe in your backdrop.
DC is lovely in any season, and all seasons have their own unique charm, but springtime in DC means the cherry blossoms will be in bloom for your wedding photos.
Don’t limit your wedding photos to the mid-day timeframe. Sunrise and sunset can add a lot of beauty to your wedding photos.
With outdoor settings, take care to secure the proper footwear! Bring those wedding wedges along to avoid the frustration of stilettos on softer turf.
Don’t just plan the best backdrop; make sure you choose a photographer who can live up to the character and charisma of the background you are hoping to capture. Claudia Oliver has the photography expertise and artistic style to compliment all the different hues of Washington D.C.’s character.