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Washington D.C. Wedding Photography in the National Capital Area

Congratulations -- you’ve made a wise decision to hold your wedding festivities in the National Capital area.  Washington D.C. is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Its monuments and other landmarks provide iconic, instantly - recognizable backdrops that will make your wedding photographs even more special and unique.  In addition, Washington’s gardens, monumental architecture and accessible urban locales offer unlimited settings for photography.  The surrounding Virginia and Maryland suburbs also offer easy access to historic towns and peaceful parkland.
It’s your day, why not make a plan to get away with your groom for an hour or two and have some fun making truly unique wedding photography images?  To help you maximize time in front of the camera, consider the following during your planning:

1.  Hire a professional wedding photographer.

Your time on location will be limited and there are no re-takes.    A seasoned wedding photographer will have the experience to work effectively in public places, the technical expertise to adjust to a variety of lighting conditions and the artistic flair to balance you and the site you’ve selected in your photographic compositions.

2.  Think about the types and feel of the images you want to capture.

Are you looking for the classic “long-shots” of the two of you posed in the foreground and the national monuments as your background?  Are you looking to catch the subtle emotions of the two of you enjoying some quiet time alone in a colorful garden?  Maybe the world is your stage and the two of you want to take a stroll down Embassy Row?  The possibilities are endless and your photographer can help you decide on locations that will produce the kinds of images you want.

3.  Choose a location close to your ceremony or reception site. 

Traffic in this metro area is legendary, so why tempt fate by traveling to distant locations?  If you’ve got your heart set on a special place that’s not convenient to your wedding day activities, schedule your engagement session there.

4.  Verify the availability of the location. 

You don’t want to be surprised.  Work with your photographer to verify that wedding photography is permitted, the guidelines for photography and the cost.  Many public gardens limit the number and duration of wedding photography sessions per day.  Quite frequently large tents are erected on The National Mall and Capitol grounds during the summer months.  The tents block entire buildings and interrupt the vistas.  The National Arboretum requires registration at least two weeks in advance.  And who wants to navigate the crowds around the Tidal Basin during the Cherry Blossom Festival (let alone someone wearing a wedding dress)?

5.  Consider this area’s heightened security arrangements. 

Your photographer should be experienced in navigating these requirements, obtaining permits as needed, and dealing with the part-time security staff who may not be familiar with current regulations.  These personnel have been known to enforce rules arbitrarily, resulting in disappointment for couples.

6.  Make your photographer a partner in the planning. 

Once you have an idea of what you’d like to do, schedule some time with your photographer to refine the plan and fill in the who, what and when.  Make sure you communicate any “must haves” for this shoot, but remain flexible enough to benefit from their expertise and artistic vision.

7.  Don’t drive yourself. 

If you’re going to the National Mall, Bethesda or Old Town Alexandria, hire a limo or arrange to borrow a larger vehicle and have a friend act as chauffeur.  On-street parking is extremely limited in these areas and the meter-people take their jobs seriously!

8.  Plan B.  

Work with your photographer to select an alternate site or several locations within a site.  That way, no matter what happens, you’ll still have the opportunity to capture those once in a lifetime images.

John & Robyn Witschey are photographers based in the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C.  They have photographed weddings throughout the Mid-Atlantic States.  Their work can be seen on their website at


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