Photography Guide to Washington, DC

Washington, D.C. is a city rich in history and culture with spectacular art and architecture, making it a fantastic destination for photography enthusiasts. Read on to learn about the best times and spots for capturing great photos of D.C.’s famous landmarks.

The National Mall

The National Mall is an absolute must for any photographer visiting D.C. Its grand monuments, framed by the expansive greenery, make for incredible compositions. To capture the Mall at its best, aim for sunrise or sunset. The soft, golden light at these times creates a warm, inviting atmosphere and casts long, dramatic shadows, enhancing the beauty of the monuments.

For an even more serene experience, visit early in the morning before crowds arrive.

Lincoln Memorial & Reflecting Pool

When photographing the Lincoln Memorial, don’t forget the iconic Reflecting Pool that stretches in front of it. This long pool of water offers fantastic opportunities for capturing reflections and dramatic symmetry. Position yourself at the water’s edge, and you’ll get the best results.

Consider visiting during the “blue hour” just before sunrise or after sunset. The soft, diffused light during this time creates a captivating contrast between the monument and the water.

Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial, framed by blooming cherry blossoms in the spring, is a classic D.C. shot. To get the most enchanting pictures, visit during the peak cherry blossom season, usually in late March or early April. The delicate pink and white blossoms provide a stunning natural frame for your composition. Although, the Tidal Basin is a beautiful place all year round to get stunning water shots with the memorial in the background.

Capture the Jefferson Memorial during the early evening hours when the lights around the memorial start to illuminate. This time presents a magical ambiance, with the monument’s white marble shining against the evening sky.

The Capitol Building

When photographing the Capitol Building, consider the perspective from the Capitol Reflecting Pool. The long pool serves as a leading line that draws the viewer’s eye directly to the majestic dome of the Capitol. This angle provides a dynamic composition, especially during golden hour.

Don’t shy away from photographing the Capitol Building during dramatic weather, such as stormy skies or twilight. The contrast between the imposing architecture and low-lit skies can result in captivating and moody shots, especially after the sun has set and the Capitol Building’s lights highlight the building’s magnificent architecture against the dark backdrop of the sky.

Looking to Visit the Monuments?

With so many sites to see, planning which monuments and memorials to visit can become overwhelming. We invite you to take one of our golf cart tours around the National Mall to see all of these iconic monuments and memorials in the nation’s capital. If you’re looking for a fun and educational way to explore the city’s iconic and historical sites and learn more about the history of the country, check out one of our narrated golf cart tours.

These tours are a fun and stress-free way to visit all of the popular sites in DC without needing to create a plan or research on your own. Capitol Express Tours is a local business that will take you to see the iconic monuments and memorials within the city on ​​our narrated tour down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol and through the heart of the National Mall where you can see various monumental landmarks and memorials like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the US Capitol Building. Our tours allow you to explore and learn about sites that depict the interesting details of the nation’s capital with opportunities to customize your tour as well. Book your tour today!