Our nation’s capital city is steeped in history and offers plenty of photographic opportunities. As one of the most photogenic cities in the world, DC is home to important buildings, monuments, and famous public spaces. It’s easy to give families a set of images that show off this history, but sometimes you want a not-so-touristy keepsake. Consider setting up a family photoshoot at a venue, such as a professional photo studio — take full control of your lighting and your backdrops. Here’s our list of the 10 best family photoshoot ideas near DC.
1. Take urban portraits in this modern venue
This versatile venue gives you lots of setting options for a family photo session. The indoor area is clean and reminiscent of a gallery space with large windows, allowing you to work with natural light. But the courtyard is where this space gets interesting, with weathered brick walls sure to make for a good backdrop. No lighting equipment is available, but between the natural light inside and the well-lit courtyard, you shouldn’t need any.
2. Pose at the National Mall
In the heart of the capitol, the National Mall is a great space for portraits. Surrounded by historic buildings, this open green space is sure to give you plenty of backdrops that make families look great, especially since the highly recognizable buildings will make it clear you’re in DC. The space becomes more crowded throughout the day, so consider scheduling shoots for the morning when there aren’t as many people and the light is nice.
3. Plan minimalist portraits in a contemporary apartment
Modern and clean decoration makes this bright apartment a great choice for minimalist portraits. Large windows and white walls make the space look airy, and the contemporary furniture and houseplants look great in photos. The backyard has a lot of weathered concrete, which could make for interesting urban portraits, but the interior of this venue is where you’ll probably do most of your work.
4. Take bohemian portraits in this unique rowhouse
This fun venue is a good choice for a quirkier take on indoor home family portraits. The soft blue wall in the living room and ample natural light from the large windows balance well with the colorful decorations. And with the full house available during a session, your clients will have plenty of room to spread out as you work.
5. Opt for the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin
The Jefferson Memorial across the tidal basin makes a great background as well. This area is slightly less crowded with people than the National Mall due to its location, so you may find there are fewer tourists getting in your shot. If the time of year is right, you’ll also be able to take advantage of the cherry blossoms planted along the water — they make a beautiful backdrop.
6. Book this penthouse loft to take unique portraits
High ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows make this contemporary space bright and ideal for portraiture. Hardwood throughout the interior makes an interesting backdrop, but the real standout feature of this space is the green roof. Outside, you’ll find weathered wood trelliswork with views of the city surrounding it.
7. Plan elegant portraits in this church library
This beautiful and quiet space inside a historic church makes for a great setting for family portraits. Large windows fill the space with natural light, and shelves filled with books make for a great backdrop with the antique furniture. This space has great potential for elegant, timeless portraiture any family is sure to appreciate.
8. Take rooftop portraits at this trendy lounge
If you want to get outdoors and enjoy great views, then this rooftop lounge makes for a great setting for a family photoshoot. The space is large, so you will have more than enough space for a bigger family. Plan your shoot around optimal sun positioning, and consider bringing some reflectors.
9. Stroll through the US Botanic Garden
Centrally located, the United States Botanic Garden is a wonderful stop on a family photoshoot. Filled with exotic plants on multiple levels, the gardens are sure to entertain families while providing you great backgrounds for photos. A mix of indoor and outdoor areas give you some variety for your setups, and at the right time of day, the space isn’t very crowded.
10. Take photos at the Smithsonian Institution Building Courtyard
Nicknamed the Castle, this is the first building that was part of the Smithsonian Institute. The striking red sandstone and Gothic style of the building make it stand out in photos, and the building’s courtyard makes a great spot to stop with families. It’s also one of the least trafficked of the Smithsonian’s buildings, so you’re less likely to have tourists in the background of your shots.
With so many tourists every year and abundant history surrounding you, it’s easy to feel stifled when working in DC. But you have plenty of options for photoshoot locations when you consider short-term rentals. Leasing a beautiful home for a couple of hours can be a great experience — it rejuvenates you creatively, and lets you give your families an unexpected environment that is different from what other photographers are offering. Peerspace is here to help connect you with all kinds of wonderful spaces, any of which would be great for a family portrait session.