In a city with as much history as Washington, DC, you’re sure to find plenty of great spaces for photoshoots to fit any style or theme. Among historic landmarks, beautiful parks, amazing architecture, and great rental spaces, there are tons of locations in DC to use for your photography. While you may be contending with tourists at some of the public locations, a private rental is a great way to have the space you need to work without distraction. Check out Peerspace for some truly unique listings, as well as some ideas for public spaces, too. That said, here’s our list of 14 awesome photoshoot ideas in DC.
1. Form a secret society in this historic Masonic lodge
If you’re looking for a truly unique space for photos, look no further than this Masonic Lodge. Built in 1893, this historic building is the oldest Masonic building in DC that is still used by the Masons. The space is filled with Egyptian-themed decoration and Masonic iconography that will make any photographs stand out. Additionally, WiFi is available throughout the building if you need to connect to the internet.
2. Take serene, contemplative portraits in the Dupont Church sanctuary
Another great historic location for stunning photos is this church’s sanctuary. Stained-glass windows throughout the space let in ample light and highlight historic features, like the wood-beam ceiling and the antique pews. Built in the Gothic style, this sanctuary makes for an awesome photoshoot idea in DC.
3. Sunrise on the National Mall
Take advantage of the fantastic light and lack of tourists in the early hours of the day on the National Mall. You’ll get great backlight through the trees and have far fewer people to contend with. You’ll also be able to make some images that feel like they’re far from the city, even though they’re in the heart of it.
4. Capture avant-garde photos in this contemporary art space
This gorgeous gallery space makes a great urban backdrop for photos. Exposed brick with painted lettering looks unique, and the outdoor area receives plenty of natural light. Indoors, there are plenty of white walls near windows for bright portraits and a change of pace from the aged brick outside.
5. Go bohemian in this dreamy flower shop
Housed in a building constructed in 1925, this flower shop brims with fresh greenery and natural light. Vintage wallpaper and eccentric decorations accent the space, creating interesting backdrops for photos. The shop is on the smaller side, but you should have plenty of space for a reasonably sized production.
6. Soak up the sun at Lafayette Square
Less populated than the National Mall, Lafayette Square is another great option for outdoor photoshoots that are in the city. Seven acres of public park give you plenty of room to spread out. In addition to the greenery, there’s also wonderful architecture surrounding the space that makes for a picture-perfect background.
7. Pose with the city skyline during a photo session on a sunny rooftop deck
If you’re looking to use the city as a backdrop, then this rooftop deck is an excellent option. Because the space has beautiful views of downtown DC, you’ll have plenty of great options for backgrounds. And since the space is completely exposed, plan your shoot according to the weather. You’ll have the best natural light in the late afternoon and early evening.
8. Hang out on the balcony in this offbeat production space
High ceilings and a green roof set this spacious loft apart from other venues. Inside, there is plenty of natural light for your photography, as well as interesting backdrops. Outside, you’ll find a balcony constructed of weathered wooden beams and nice views of the city that will lend character to any photoshoot.
9. Dodge the tourist crowds at the National Cathedral
Using historic buildings as backdrops can be tricky — doing so can make your images feel more like a souvenir and distract from your subject. But the National Cathedral may be an exception to this rule. It’s much less popular in photos than other landmarks in DC, and its gorgeous architecture can class up any photoshoot.
10. Strike a pose in this elegant private room
Add a touch classiness to your photoshoot with this moody private room. This is a space that feels like it is filled with history, with tall windows, dark wood accents, and aged photographs decorating the walls. It would be a great spot to set up a lifestyle or formal fashion shoot.
11. Dress to impress at this luxury production space
Another upscale venue, this luxury production space has plenty of windows to let in natural light, as well as vintage tile floors and leather furniture throughout. This space has two bars and plenty of seating, so it would be ideal for lifestyle photography or products related to food and beverages.
12. Pose where a president once lived in this historic mansion
Sometimes you just need to go big. This historic mansion — only recently opened to the public — is set up to be a wedding venue, so it’s a good option for any large production that needs an elegant feel. Large rooms indoors give you plenty of backgrounds to work with, and the house itself makes a great backdrop outside. As a bonus, there’s plenty of free parking.
13. Stare in awe at this ornate atrium
Adjacent to the aforementioned historic mansion, this atrium space is as fascinating. The space functions as a visitors’ center and museum, but the main gallery would be a great location for stunning photos. White walls, wood accents, and archways make this space stand out, and there is plenty of natural light coming through the windows. There are seriously cool pieces of patriotic art here that would make for an interesting visual element.
14. Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin
When the cherry blossoms are in bloom, you can’t miss this iconic DC photo opportunity. The city of Tokyo gifted 2,000 of them in 1909 and, ever since then, the trees have become a beloved symbol of the city. Take a walk along the Tidal Basin and use the trees and water as a backdrop. You’ll be contending for space with tourists, so it may be best to plan your shoot for earlier in the day — that way, you can also take advantage of the ideal morning light. But there are few more beautiful sights in the city, and you only have the opportunity part of the year, so take advantage of this spectacle.
When people think of DC, they think of politics. But there’s so much more to the city. As one of the nation’s oldest, it’s had plenty of time to develop and nurture its artistic and creative community. Help the rest of the nation discover everything DC has to offer by creating striking work in the city and posting it online for all to see.