When it comes to cherry blossom wedding portraits in the Nation’s Capital, there really is no beating the National Mall as a location. Sure, the crowds can be a bit much. And sure, the Washington DC metro area is full of other great spots where the iconic flowers bloom every spring. But there is still something special about the Mall. Maybe it’s the world-famous monuments and memorials. Or maybe it’s the sheer density of the cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin. Either way, it is worth scheduling your engagement photo session, wedding portraits or couples portrait photoshoot somewhere on the National Mall. And if the Tidal Basin is too hectic for you, try what Sabrina and Michael did. Do a cherry blossom portrait shoot in Constitution Gardens! It has a big cherry blossom tree, plus a bunch of other ingredients for awesome wedding photos!
Wedding Couple Photoshoot on the National Mall in DC
Sabrina and Michael came in with a very clear idea of what they wanted for their wedding portraits. First, a session in Constitution Gardens on the National Mall. Then later, a second photoshoot at Dunn Loring Park with their adorable goldendoodle Max. (More on that in a separate post.) We couldn’t have been more excited about the plan! As we mentioned above, the National Mall is an awesome and iconic location for couples portraits. More importantly, Constitution Gardens – a place where we’ve photographed newlyweds before – is a particularly beautiful spot. And a portrait session with a dog? Sign us up!
Constitution Gardens: An Ideal Location for Washington DC Wedding Portraits…
Before we talk about Sabrina and Michael’s magical wedding portraits sessions, let’s mention a few things about why their chosen location was so inspired. Constitution Gardens is a 50-acre space just north of the Reflecting Pool. Because it covers much of the northeastern corner of the Mall, the park technically contains the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. But that important tribute to fallen American soldiers is so solemn and meaningful that it feels like its own distinct space. So most people associate Constitution Gardens with the large pond that sits roughly in the middle of the park and gives that part of the National Mall a beautiful nature-y vibe. As do the many ducks and geese who play in its waters!
What makes the pond extra special as a location for wedding portraits, though, is the island near one side of it. Separated from the “mainland” by a small wooden footbridge, it is home to the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence. That comprises a series of stone blocks with the name, occupation, hometown and signature of each signatory to one of the most important documents in US history.
…Because of the Awesome Washington Monument Wedding Pictures!
The memorial is indeed lovely. But from a photographic perspective, it’s the view that really makes the island great. Glance to the east, and you’ll see the Washington Monument rising majestically above the horizon. That view is so good, in fact, that it makes Constitution Gardens one of the best places for getting that distinctive obelisk in the background of wedding portraits. Throw in the graceful willow providing shade at the eastern end of the island, and you’ve got the perfect spot for a classic DC portrait. One that combines the history and majesty of the city with a bit of the region’s natural beauty.
(We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that, like pretty much every part of the National Mall, Constitution Gardens sits on National Park Service land. As such, any commercial photo session there requires a permit. Which we are always happy to obtain for our couples!)
Couples Portraits in Washington DC’s Constitutions Gardens
Because Sabrina and Michael had expressed such specific preferences, we took them directly out onto the island. (We normally start our portrait sessions with some easier poses. But again, they knew just what they wanted!) We positioned them under the willow tree. And then we created sweeping photos of them with the entire scene arranged in the background. The green grass of the island, the blue of the sky, the sparkle of the sun on the water, the drooping branches of the willow and of course, the Washington Monument… The images had everything that makes the setting so special!
After that, we took some closer shots that focused on the way the sun lit up Sabrina’s gorgeous white dress. Then we brought the couple to a different part of the island. The view of the Washington Monument was clearer from that spot, so we created some fun portraits of Michael dipping his wife. We finished up that part of the couples portrait session in Constitution Gardens with some images of them on the wooden footbridge.
National Mall DC Cherry Blossom Wedding Portraits
As we explored other parts of Constitution Gardens, we looked for spots that would add a little more drama to the portraits of Sabrina and Michael. So we asked them to climb a little hill between the pond and Constitution Avenue NW. Elevating the couple like that created an angle that made the pictures so much more visually interesting.
Their session took place during DC’s annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. (In fact, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Race was happening that morning. Which made finding parking a bit of a challenge!) So even though the flowers were starting to fade a little bit, we knew we had to get a few shots of Sabrina and Michael posing near the aforementioned cherry blossom tree.
We started with some closeup pictures of the couple cuddling underneath the branches. These photos were very sweet. But we realized that the branches of this particular cherry blossom tree did not hang down all that far. So a more expansive composition was going to be a better way to include it in the images.
We asked Sabrina and Michael to pose in a little “notch” between the cherry blossom and another tree. (What we mean by that term is a clear space on the horizon that would keep them from having trees coming out of their heads.) As you can see, the resulting images are colorful. They have lots of drama. And do a great job of highlighting the iconic tree!
Coming Next – A Wedding Pictures with a Dog at Dunn Loring Park
As we mentioned above, this was just the first part of Sabrina and Michael’s wedding portrait session. Part 2 was in Northern Virginia and featured a very special canine guest. But more on that separately!
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