It’s no secret that Cherry Blossom photos in DC are a common occurrence every Spring! As a DC and Northern Virginia wedding photographer, cherry blossom season is something I look forward to every year. I ADORE working with couples and individuals to capture beautiful portraits among the National Mall in DC. if you’re looking to do some spring portraits, you may feel overwhelmed with the amount (or lack) of information out there. As a Northern Virginia photographer for over seven years, I’ve learned a thing or two about the busyness of cherry blossom season, and the ins-and-outs that come with, they can be a busy adventure! Read below for my top tips for making the most for cherry blossom photos on the national mall – (and wait until the end, for my favorite tip of all!)
*Updated for Spring 2023: the NPS announced that peak dates for cherry blossom photos are March 22-25.
This kind of goes without saying, but cherry blossom season is kept to a very specific and minimal timeframe. Make sure you reach out to the photographer you desire to work with plenty ahead of time. And also, I suggest booking a potential rain date in case it does end up raining on your desired date or time. This procedure has saved me countless times from different weather, mishaps, and/or scheduling conflicts – it’s also really helped my clients if we need to reschedule due to weather.
Go with the flow
There was one year I did cherry blossom photos in DC that felt absolutely overwhelming. There were crowds and crowdsssss of photographers with their clients at every ideal spot, even though we had met at sunrise. Instead of panicking, my couple was really understanding that we couldn’t get to the typical spots that I always take my couples to. Instead, I thankfully knew of an alternative, albeit less popular, spot for cherry blossom images, and we ended up getting really beautiful shots!
My point being, crowds can fluctuate and change. If a structured plan is a concern as you’re planning your cherry blossom session, my suggestion is to have a different game plan in case of crowds/other events that may make your session different than along the Tidal Basin.
Expect crowds & LOTS of other photographers
Along the same lines as the last tip, expecting a lot of people along with a lot of photographers, and their clients is really important. Even if your session ends up to be pretty private, going in with the expectation that you may have some extra wait time and/or have lots of run-ins with other couples can make your session that much easier. It’s so important to be patient when waiting for the more popular spots around the Tidal Basin area, as well! Another note – it’s always fun to say hi to other photographer buddies when we pass each other!
Time it as best as you can
Even when it’s not cherry blossom season, the best time to take photos are usually within the first hour of sunrise and the last hour before sunset. This ensures that you get the absolute most beautiful, glowy light possible. When you’re planning for cherry blossom photos, plan for sunrise! You’re not only taking into account the golden hours of the day, but also timing it so that you don’t get as much foot traffic in your photos (except the ever-so-present DC running crowd that is perpetually outside at 5 AM).
I always suggest that my clients meet me for a sunrise session if they’re wanting to get really good and potentially more private cherry blossom images, but sometimes that doesn’t line up with their schedules. If that’s the case, I’ll suggest a sunset session, but I always do like to be transparent and say that a lot of DC residents are out at that time – either way, we’ll go with the flow and work with it!
Make it your own!
I personally love when my couples bring a little props that really speak to themselves or their personalities. A lot of my couples bring champagne or even their pets to their cherry blossom sessions. If this is something that aligns with your personality, I say, go for it! However, there is absolutely no harm in just taking in the beauty of the cherry blossoms and the DC architecture around you.
TRUST your photographer
Your photographer has most likely done loads of cherry blossom sessions. And even if they haven’t, they’re still a trusted professional that knows what they’re doing. Don’t worry about the large crowds or posing yourself, your photographer has you taken care of! Trust that their experience and expertise with their craft is going to produce a beautiful and product.
I hope that this help to prepare for your potential cherry blossom session on the national mall! If you’re interested in Cherry Blossom sessions in DC for Spring 2023, send me an email or fill out my inquiry form!
If you liked this, then you’ll love:
D.C. Cherry Blossom Engagement Session | Denise & Kevin
Sunrise Engagement Session in Washington, DC | Morgan & Chuck
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