You’ve finally booked that family photo session. (Yay!) But now you have to pick a location. SO many things go into picking a location for your fall family photos, but the good news is that there are a lot of great options near Northern Virginia!
Before you get too overwhelmed, keep one really important thing in mind: Ultimately, where you take the photos isn’t as important as you might think. Family photography is all about connection, personality and your relationship with your kids. So pick a location that creates the least amount of stress for you to ensure you’re as relaxed as possible when you get in front of the camera.
Something really important to consider is your kids’ ages when selecting a location. For example, Urban areas might not be as good for young kids who want to run around freely. The specific needs of your family is something you’ll want to keep in mind before selecting a place to take your family photos.
Be sure to lean on your photographer for their personal recommendations. They will have great ideas of locations they’re familiar with that will work well for your family.
Permits Required at Many Locations Near Northern Virginia
One more important thing to track- many locations in the Virginia/DC area require permits. This may feel like a deal breaker; however, if you’re put all this time and energy into coordinating a photo session, buying outfits, having hair and makeup done, then spending a bit more to take the actual photos at the location you love and fits your visions is money well spent. Just be sure that you or your photographer are clear on permit requirements!
Here are a few places near Northern Virginia that I recommend for fall family photos!
Gardens for Your Fall Family Photos
Gardens can be a great choice because they offer a lot of variety in the landscape scenes and even offer cute architectural elements like paths and walkways, stairs, arches, etc. Most have florals and greenery through late fall, although some gardens have year round greenery. These might be some of the best places to take fall family photos in Northern Virginia!
Some that we love:
- Brookside Gardens
- Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
- National Arboretum
- Meridian House
- Bishops Garden at the National Cathedral
All of these locations require permits that vary in price.
Quaint Downtown Areas Near Northern Virginia
There are plenty of quaint, urban locations that are perfect for family photo sessions, even within DC. Parking can be more of a headache than some other options, and you may have to contend with crowds and other people. But if you have older kids or a smaller family, these locations can be great options!
- Old Town Alexandria has so many lovely features- cobblestone, classic architecture, greenery and even waterfront access
- Georgetown has brightly colored houses, beautiful cobblestone streets, lovely quaint steps and also has waterfront access
- Downtown Leesburg is another great option that will be quieter and less crowded than DC locations. It has a lovely historic charm, brightly colored murals and access to the W&OD trail for greenery
Parks & Trails Lovely for in Fall for the Whole Family
If your family is full of nature lovers, this is a great option. Most parks and trails offer lovely scenic options any time of year and are real show stoppers in the fall. Most will require a bit more walking to get to the “iconic” spots for photos so these are generally better for a more casual look.
- Bears Den is one of my favorites! It has an epic overlook with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Note that it does require a little bit of walking.
- Great Falls is perfect for iconic waterfall views and a variety of nature trails
Wineries or Breweries in Northern Virginia
Wineries and breweries have some of the best scenic views in Northern Virginia with lots of open space. A benefit not to be minimized is how nice it is to have a bathroom accessible for smaller children. They are often pet friendly, and you can treat yourself to a post-session celebration beverage!
- Stone Tower Winery
- The Winery at Bull Run
- Bluemont Vineyard
Historic Mansions/Grounds Beautiful in the Fall
This is a category again to consider the permit requirements and/or advanced reservations. With the historic mansions and grounds near Northern Virginia, you get a large variety of scenery and locations, so even if you’ve been photographed here before, your session can look totally different year to year. You get well groomed and manicured grounds with architectural elements from the historical house, walkways. Often they will even have a pond or water feature!
I have two favorites here in Northern Virginia!
- Morven Park
- Oatlands Historic House
Iconic Landmarks Near Northern Virginia
These places like the memorials and monuments in DC are iconic for a reason, and it’s because they’re lovely and full of meaning! They provide gorgeous backdrops for photos. Keep in mind that permits are almost always required for iconic landmarks, and you will be contending with crowds, traffic, and parking.
Your Home in the Fall
In some ways, the most obvious choice for your fall family photos is your own home! It’s full of sentimental value, familiar to your kids, and will provide even more amazing memories for your family.
If you’re looking for some tips on how to dress for your session, click here to get our Style Guide! Whatever location you choose, with the right wardrobe and a willingness to have fun and trust your photographer, your fall family photos are bound to be beautiful. If you haven’t chosen your photographer yet, you can check out our advice on choosing the best photographer for you here!