Strike a Pose: The DMV’s Best Backdrops for Family Photos

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Make 2021 the year of the family photo. Yes, it’s time to get your finger on the photo button once again! You don’t have to hire a pro photographer or travel to a tropical location to capture a great family portrait.  If you’re taking family hikes or walks around Washington, DC, you are probably passing the perfect backdrop for an insta-worthy family photo. We rounded up some of our favorite places to take a picture. Get ready to get snappy with one of these iconic backdrops in the DMV.

photo: Meghan Yudes Meyers

#1 Washington Monument

Photo Tip: Due to the slight elevation at the top of the hill, this is a great place to snap a picture with the Lincoln Memorial or the Capitol in the background. If you want to feature the Washington Monument, try to position yourselves so that the Monument itself is between people and not sticking out of the top of someone’s head!

Safety regulations: There are periodic closures on the National Mall due to recent events at the Capitol. Check here for the latest updates. The Washington Monument is temporarily closed to visitors until 1/24. 

Washington Monument
2 15th St. NW
National Mall
Online: nps.gov

photo: Meghan Yudes Meyers

#2 DC Murals

Photo tip: Gray skies and winter weather can wash out even the best backdrop. Head to one of these vibrant murals in DC to add pops of color to your candids. 

Find DC's most vibrant murals here

photo: Tricia Mirchandani

#3 Great Falls Park

Photo tip: Let the water take center stage at this location. Huddle together on one of the overlooks in your fleeces on a brisk day and the waterfalls create a brilliant backdrop.

Safety regulations: Trails and overlooks are open, but the visitor center is closed. Water fountains are currently not available. 

Great Falls Park
9200 Old Dominion Dr.
McLean, VA
Online: nps.gov

#4 A Local Winery

Photo Tip:  A great picture has a backdrop that enhances a person's portrait, it doesn't compete with it. Wineries offer a rich background that blends foliage with rustic stone and wood. Even in the winter, snow covered vines add an architectural element to a family portrait. 

Find a local DC winery here

#5 Gravelly Point Park

Photo Tip: Timing really is everything with this one but capturing your faces, or at least your eyes, below a plane taking off is possible! It may take a few tries and a few different angles but don’t give up!

Gravelly Point Park
George Washington Pkwy.
Arlington, VA
Online: nps.gov

#6 Howard County Conservancy

Photo tip: You want to add texture to the back of your subjects, and this location offers a variety to choose from. You'll find rolling hills, tall grasses and historic structures. Plus, the lighting at dusk is dreamy. It's a favorite spot for DC photographers, like Yasmina Cowan

Safety regulations: Trails remain open from dawn to dusk, but nature center is currently closed. 

Howard County Conservancy
10520 Old Frederick Rd.
Woodstock, MD
Online: https://www.howardnature.org/

#7 Any Park or Playground

Photo tip: On the swing, in the sandbox, going down the slide, if you’re there, take a picture just for fun! Two pairs of feet at the top of a twisty slide capture the moment just as nicely as two pairs of eyes smiling at the camera. And, after all, capturing the moment is photos are all about.

Find a DC playground here

—Meghan Yudes Meyers and Tricia Mirchandani

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