Engagement photos in the DC metro area rock! Why? As we’ve said many times before on this site, it’s because of the diversity of locations. No matter what your tastes, you’ll find it in or around the Nation’s Capital. Not every part of the metro area has every option, though. There’s only one place to find the most famous monuments and memorials, of course! With that in mind, if you want some of the most stunning sites for outdoor engagement photos in the DMV, you’ll find the best options in Northern Virginia. The rolling hills, the gorgeous views, the lovely forests… Northern Virginia has all of the best that Mother Nature has to offer! The choices can almost be overwhelming! Luckily, we’re here to help! We’ve photographed all over Northern Virginia and have lots of suggestions for the best outdoor Northern Virginia engagement photo locations.

Green Spring Gardens

You don’t have to go far from downtown Washington DC to find great outdoor sites for engagement portraits in Northern Virginia. Alexandria is host to several really awesome locations. One of our favorites is Green Spring Gardens. Tucked in between a residential area and a commercial district, the park is a hidden gem. (Quite literally! You can easily drive past it without even knowing it’s there.) It is well worth a visit, though, and an awesome spot for outdoor engagement portraits!

Green Spring Gardens’ main draw is the gorgeous collection of  flowers and trees planted around the property. Though relatively small, the space offers remarkable diversity. Cherry blossom trees grow near the entrance, and their world-famous blooms turn the area pink and white in the spring. Various flowers and trees decorate the areas around the park’s main building, and are perfect backdrops for outdoor engagement portraits. A short walk away are various sculptures and educational exhibits. These are fun spots for more creative portraiture.

The real highlight, though, is down the hill from the main building. In a little valley is a gorgeous pond with a charming gazebo in the middle of it. If you like photos of you and your future spouse cuddling in a romantic nook with a beautiful nature scene as a backdrop, you won’t find a better location.

Green Springs Gardens Virginia engagement session by DC wedding photographers of Potok's World Photography

Old Town Alexandria

Ok, we’re cheating a little with this one. Though undeniably charming, Old Town Alexandria doesn’t really have the same feel as the other spots on this list. With its cobblestone streets, little shops and historical vibes, it feels much more like a quaint small town than a gorgeous rural expanse. It’s such a great place for engagement photoshoots, though, that we just had to include it.

Like Green Spring Gardens Park, Old Town Alexandria offers a lot of different possibilities when it comes to engagement photo locations. If you like quaint and charming, the aforementioned cobblestone streets and cute shops have just the feel you’re looking for. Want to have some water in the background? The waterfront is a gorgeous area, with a lively boardwalk and some lovely views of downtown DC. In a couple of spots nearby, there are also murals and art installations that are great locations for more unique engagement photos that really stand out.

Old Town Alexandria sunset engagement session photo by DC wedding photographer of Potok's World Photography

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve

Want an engagement photo session that feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere but don’t want to drive to the middle of nowhere? Good news! There is an awesome park in Arlington that is just minutes from downtown DC. Though Scott’s Run Nature Preserve is very much in an urban area, it definitely doesn’t feel like it! Just a short walk away from the parking lot and into the woods, and you’ll think you’re a hundred miles from civilization.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Scott’s Run Nature Preserve is an awesome location for hiking engagement photos. (Don’t worry! The hikes are gentle and definitely suitable for beginners.) The paths that wind through the Northern Virginia woods are perfect for a nice stroll with stops here and there to take gorgeous engagement portraits amid the splendor of nature. You can get pictures of you and your future spouse hopping from stone to stone over a river or tossing piles of leaves at each other.

Nearly all the walkways lead to the centerpiece of Scott’s Nature Preserve – a pretty little waterfall near the Potomac River. It’s an ideal place to have a little rest and get some romantic shots of the two of you cuddling on one of the large flat rocks overlooking the falls.

Hiking engagement photos at Scott's Run Nature Preserve in Northern Virginia by DC wedding photographers of Potok's World Photography

Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

If you’re willing to go a little farther from DC, you’ll find a similarly wooded park in Chantilly. Like Scott’s Nature Preserve, Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is ideal for hiking engagement photos. (And like its neighbor in Arlington, it is very much suitable for novice hikers. All of its rises and falls are quite gentle.)

What makes Ellanor C. Lawrence Park worth the extra drive, though, is its size. With 650 acres of woods and countryside, it offers you a tremendous variety of choices for your engagement photoshoot. We did a couple’s engagement portrait session there recently, and we barely scratched its surface. There were dozens of gorgeous spots – streams, meadows and ponds – that we never even got to visit. Not that it mattered! Ellanor C. Lawrence Park’s woodsy paths were everything anyone could want in a Northern Virginia engagement photo location.

Ellanor C Lawrence Park Fall engagement photos by Potok's World Photography

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Want outdoor engagement photos in Northern Virginia with lots of creativity and flair? Then Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is one of the best locations in the region. Located just off the highway that runs from DC to Dulles International Airport, the park is a quick drive from both the District and from most parts of Northern Virginia.

In many ways, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens combines the best of many of the other locations on this list. Like Old Town Alexandria, it offers a remarkably diverse range of sites for engagement photos. Though not nearly as large as Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, the gardens are spacious enough that you can’t get to every part in an hour. And just like Green Spring Gardens, its central feature is a lovely gazebo in the middle of a beautiful pond. (Though Meadowlark Botanical Gardens takes it up a notch with three ponds instead of just one.)

What sets Meadowlark Botanical Gardens apart, though, is they way it inspires a bold and creative approach to engagement photography. Just inside the park are a series of sculptures and art installations that can turn your portraits from ordinary to magical in the right hands. A little farther down the hill towards the main gardens is a cool tunnel comprising multiple metal hoops – another place for visually interesting portraiture. At the foot of the hill is the Korean Bell Garden with its unique architectural designs and the aforementioned gazebo in the middle of Lake Caroline. The pond to the left is the place to go for creative Northern Virginia engagement photos, though. The ornamental grasses that grow there make a gorgeous backdrop for unique portraits.

Please note that Meadowlark Botanical Gardens requires permits for commercial photography.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Virginia fall color engagement photo by DC wedding photographers of Potok's World Photography

Great Falls Park

Comprising mostly rolling green hills and leafy forests, Northern Virginia doesn’t really have many truly distinctive natural features. (Some might mention the Appalachians and Shenandoah National Park. Though they technically run through parts of the region, both are far enough away that they are almost not really in the DC metro area anymore.)

One feature that does stand out, though, is Great Falls. A series of waterfalls in the Potomac River about 14 miles from DC, this natural feature attracts thousands of visitors every year. And lots of couples who want the iconic falls in the background of their engagement portraits!

Though Great Falls technically sits in Maryland, its eponymous national park is on the Virginia side of the Potomac. The good news is that no matter which bank you pick for your engagement session, you’re going to get gorgeous views of the river and the waterfalls. The even better news is that Great Falls Park offers so much more than just those natural features. The path that runs along the Potomac has lots of little nooks, copses of trees and rocky outcrops that make great backdrops for truly Northern Virginia engagement photos.

Like any location that the National Park Service (NPS) administers, Great Falls Park requires a permit for commercial photoshoots.

Great Falls Virginia same-sex engagement photos by Potok's World Photography

Vanish Farmwoods Brewery

The final site on our list of the best outdoor Northern Virginia engagement photo locations is perhaps the most unorthodox. Vanish Farmwoods Brewery is not necessarily the first place that comes to mind when thinking about engagement portraits. It is, after all, a brewery first and foremost. (The name is a bit of a giveaway!) There are shops, a restaurant, picnic areas, and a great space for wedding receptions, but spots for engagement photoshoots?

Dig a little deeper, though, and you find that Vanish Farmwoods Brewery has a lot to offer for an outdoor engagement session. Near the entrance to the property is an old stone house that makes a charming backdrop in your pre-wedding portraits. A little farther down the road and next to the wedding reception space is a lovely “mini-park” with a creek and trees that line up perfectly for dramatic wide-angle shots of the two of you between them.

On the other side of the main brewery complex is an area with a very different vibe. A gently sloping meadow runs down from the parking lot to a small woodsy space at the foot of the hill. You can get more intimate, romantic shots near the forest or wide, expansive shots of the two of you on top of the hill with the blue sky soaring above you. Farther up the hill and tucked behind the parking lot is a berm that gives you an even more dramatic angle for those kinds of images.

We should note that Vanish Farmwoods Brewery is located past Leesburg, which makes it a bit of a hike to get to from DC. Still worth the drive, though, in our opinion!

Vanish Farmwoods Brewery Virginia engagement photos by Potok's World Photography





Contact Us for More Information!

Interested in learning more about our services? Please visit our Wedding Photography FAQ page for answers to all your questions! Ready to schedule an engagement photoshoot of your own? Contact us now to get the conversation started!