January 30, 2019
I am asked all the time what my favorite local shooting locations are. My answer is…there are many!
I am well-known for my seasonal flower farm portraits throughout the year. These, and at-home sessions make up a large portion of my shoots, and the rest are taken at locations of your choosing around the DMV. It can be hard narrowing down the right outdoor space for your session. There are so many to choose from! Here is a list of some of the spots I frequent most often. Read through and see which best suits your style and vision!
Manassas Battlefield – Manassas, VA | A large space with grassy fields, old wooden fencing, historic houses, stone bridge, lots of sun and pretty fall foliage. One of the busier portrait locations in the area, especially during peak fall season. And for good reason, it’s beautiful! The Burns family had a beautiful Fall session here last year.
Downtown Middleburg – Middleburg, VA | A quaint downtown area filled with cute brick-faced shops, cobblestone and hanging signage, a local hometown vibe with quiet side streets. Salamander Resort is located a block outside of downtown that also has beautiful grounds good for photography.
Great Falls – Great Falls, VA | These falls are a must-visit for those who have grown up in the Northern VA area, and the park makes for a fun/adventurous portrait spot. The VA side has dirt walking trails, climbing rocks and easy access to the impressive view of the rapids! A $10 entry fee per car required.
E.C. Lawrence & Cabell’s Mill – Centreville, VA | Located directly off Route 29, Cabell’s Mill is an old stone historic house surrounded by small walking trails and a pond. Their flat paved paths are easy to get around with young children and those with mobility issues.
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens – Reston, VA | A gorgeous botanical garden with seasonal blooms located near Wolf Trap. Really large with a wide variety of backdrops including a pond, tree-covered trails, and flowers galore. Reservation and $25 photo fee required as well as admission price.
Frying Pan Park – Herndon, VA | A fun spot for young kids! Frying Pan is little farm with a large red barn and walking paths around fenced-in pastures home to horses, goats, pigs, sheep, bunnies and more. A fun location for young kids to play while getting a few photos taken!
Nottoway Park – Vienna, VA | A large park in Vienna home to a mustard yellow historic house, open grassy sports fields, graveled paths and a playground. Pretty pastel blooms in Spring!
Wolf Trap – Herndon, VA | Well-known concert venue also open to hiking and portraits. Behind the stage is an open grassy field leading to a few wooded walking trails, streams and bridge at the bottom of the hill.
Seven Oaks Lavender Farm – Catlett, VA | A personal favorite! Locally-loved pick-your-own lavender farm. I host my Field & Farm portraits here each June where we use the farm’s many backdrops including the lavender field, wide open fields, surrounding cow pastures, white shed, chicken coop, hay bales and more. Click here for our Field & Farm 2019 recap!
Wollam Gardens – Jeffersonton, VA | Another favorite! Wollam Gardens is an 11-acre working seasonal flower farm and wedding venue home to a unique variety of annuals, perennials, herbs and shrubs. Flowers are grown throughout their farm in fields, greenhouses, and hoop houses. $50 photo fee per session required. Keep a lookout for our shoot weekends here throughout the year! For previews from a Spring maternity session, click here.
Burnside Farm – Haymarket, VA | A rotating seasonal flower farm, Burnside is well-loved for their “Holland in Haymarket” tulip event in Spring and sunflowers in late Summer. Reservation and a $50 photo fee + admission required.
Silver Lake Park – Haymarket, VA | I had some of my own family portraits taken here! It is a quiet park surrounding a fishing lake, with beautiful golden light in the late afternoon that shines through tall trees and a small walking bridge. You can park close here, not much walking involved if you have young kids.
Rady Park – Warrenton, VA | A beautiful and quaint wooded community park in the quiet side streets of Warrenton. Surrounded by rolling hills and a wooden fence, their wide variety of seasonal blooms make this location perfect for portraits any time of year. Lighting falls great at sunset.
Whitehall Estate – Bluemont, VA | Elegant wedding venue in the rolling hills of Bluemont, Virginia. Lovely white building with green shutters, surrounded by greenery, hills, open fields, white and stone barns, and a swing. Perfect for engagement sessions.
Oatlands Historic House + Gardens – Leesburg, VA | This has become a personal favorite since moving to Aldie! Oatlands is an elegant historic plantation with sweeping grounds and gardens right off of Route 15. Really beautiful at any time of year and endless backdrops to choose from including bricked walks, seasonal flower beds, views of rolling hills and pastures, a glass greenhouse. Reservation and $50 photo fee is required for sessions.
48 Fields – Leesburg, VA | A gorgeous wedding venue and portrait location in Leesburg. Their venue is a romantic all-white barn with light wooden doors surrounded by fields of tall grass and working barns. Really beautiful for engagements and couple sessions. Reservation and a $25 photo fee required.
Click here for a stylized family session with the Simpson family!
Mt. Zion Historic Site + Gilbert’s Corner Regional Park – Aldie, VA | This park and historic structure sit side-by-side, minutes from my house. The combination of the bricked historic property, old fence, dense green foliage pairs really well with the open tall grassy field and view of the rolling hills at Gilbert’s Corner Park. A quick and easy location for young family minis!
Green Spring Gardens – Alexandria, VA | A hidden gem located in the busy streets of Alexandria. Large expanses of gardens with countless blooms and a wide variety of color. In the center sits a tall, historic brick and black-trimmed house, behind it a large duck pond, gazebo and walking trails. Pretty at any time of year, but Spring is my personal favorite with the azaleas and viburnum in full-bloom! For a Spring senior session, click here. And a family winter session, click here.
Fort CF Smith Park – Arlington, VA | One of my most-used parks, especially in the Fall. A great central location for many of my Arlington/Alexandria families, manicured grass lawns surrounded by uncut wildflower borders, large mature oak trees. Fort CF Smith is compact with a good variety of backdrops, great for young kids with their little legs!
Old Town Alexandria – Alexandria, VA | Old Town’s charm is a timeless favorite. Bricked walks, cobblestone streets, colorful homes, a covered walking tunnel and seasonal foliage. Really the perfect engagement spot for DC couples getting married in the city, but you can also make it fun for family sessions using the docks and some of the fun colorful murals and fountains near the water! Click here for Molly and Brian’s Old Town engagement session!
Cherry Hill Park – Falls Church, VA | A small space with a lot of pretty backdrops packed in (and a large playground for after the shoot!). On the park grounds sits an old working grey barn, white historic home, and pretty walkways lined with sitting rocks and seasonal flowers.
The Monuments & The Mall – Downtown, DC | The Mall and surrounding area is home to classic portrait locations like the Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool, Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin. All really lovely at any time of year, but does get crowded, especially in peak seasons like the Spring cherry blossoms. The Jefferson is particularly lovely during winter when its huge holly bushes are sporting their festive red berries! Click here for photos from my DC holiday session with Heather & Eric.
Rock Creek Park – Downtown, DC | A really large and beautiful DC park space with trails, bridges crossing streams, climbing rocks. A great variety of natural backdrops and big enough to bypass large crowds in peak seasons. Many different spots to choose from.
Dumbarton Oaks Park – Downtown, DC | Another hidden city gem, located close to Georgetown. Dumbarton Oaks is a historic estate home to a museum and gorgeous botanical garden and surrounding park space. Extravagant flower beds and oak trees. Click here to view a beautiful fall maternity session at Dumbarton! *The historic gardens of Dumbarton Oaks no longer allows photography, but the public park across the street and surrounding bricked city streets are great too!
Meridian Hill Park – Downtown, DC | Meridian Hill is home to the iconic cascading fountain in the center of a large public park with monumental walls and seasonal beds in the center of the city. Can be hard to find parking (parallel parking around the park), especially in nice weather, but worth it!
Great Falls – Potomac, MD | The Maryland side of Great Falls is my preferred side to shoot on during the holiday season. A white historic home with green shutters (decorated for the holidays with green garland and red bows) sits beside the canal and towpath. Harder to get to the falls on this side, but the path and canal make for a really gorgeous backdrop no matter what time of year. A $10 National Park entry fee per car required.
Glen Echo Park – Glen Echo, MD | This is a really fun and unique shooting location! An old 1900’s DC amusement park turned into an arts and cultural center. The park’s carnival structures are still standing, so in the background of your portraits sits a vintage carousel, vintage signage and colorful buildings. Fun for themed family sessions with bold pops of color!
Butterbee Farm – Pikesville, MD | Another flower farm favorite! Beautiful seasonal farm hidden in the neighborhood side streets of Pikesville. The views from the farm are rolling corn fields…and rows & rows of seasonal flowers. Butterbee has greenhouses filled with plants and endless fields for frolicking. A $100 photo fee required. Click here for photos from my recent visit to Butterbee!
Kenwood – Bethesda, MD | Love the cherry blossoms but hate the DC crowds? The Kenwood neighborhood in Bethesda offers you another option! This neighborhood is famous for its cherry blossom-lined streets and gorgeous homes. While it still gets crowded during peak blossom season, it is a great option for viewing the blooms without a trip into the city! Parking is limited. Click here for the George family’s portraits here this past Spring.
Cylburn Arboretum – Baltimore, MD | As their website suggests, Cylburn’s 200-acres is an urban oasis in Baltimore County. Walk through their gorgeous gardens and wooded trails and see their hundreds of seasonal plants and central historic stone mansion. Free to public, dogs welcome. Check out my visit to Cylburn this summer here!
Snead’s Asparagus Farm – Fredericksburg, VA | A family-run sustainable Christmas tree and asparagus farm located in Fredericksburg. Photo backdrops include seasonal plants, a beautiful wooden barn, open fields and more. $20 photo fee plus $5 admission.
Downtown Fredericksburg – Fredericksburg, VA | Downtown Fredericksburg has lovely blocks of bricked buildings, quaint shops, vintage signage and courtyards. A great option if you want a historic downtown feel without city crowds!
James Madison University – Harrisonburg, VA | A location near and dear to my heart! JMU’s campus sits in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Their large quad, stone archways, fountains and kissing rock make gorgeous backdrops for both senior and engagement photography. The campus was my home for four years and my photography courses had me shooting all over campus – I know every inch of the grounds!
Ratliff’s Blueberry & Christmas Tree Farm – Broadway, VA | A seasonal family-run tree and berry farm about 30 minutes North of JMU off 81. Tucked away off the main road, their rolling fields provide a natural and uninterrupted backdrop for portraits. Great during the Christmas season – and I would love to shoot here during peak blueberry season!
Hope this list helps you narrow down your options! If there are any places that we’ve shot at together that I forgot to add to the list – leave a comment below!
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