It's September. Which means, despite the heat that is definitely overstaying its welcome, I am stocking up on all-things-pumpkin, shining up my boots, and dusting off my Hocus Pocus DVD. Okay, maybe I've already watched it. Don't judge. Basically, I'm just super excited for fall to arrive. Not only for all of the above, but it's also my favorite time of the year to take photos! If you have a family photo session booked this fall, but have no idea which location to choose, here are my top 13 picks for fall photos in the greater Washington, DC area!
1. Montrose Park: If you've been following me for awhile, you know this is a favorite spot of mine. There are lots of big beautiful trees, open grassy spaces, trails through the woods running alongside babbling brooks, and even a playground! While it may seem intimidating due to its location in uber-popular Georgetown, I have never had trouble finding a 2-hour parking spot on the street!
2. Georgetown: Is there anywhere more quaint than Georgetown in the fall? Bright red and orange trees lining the cobblestones streets, charming rowhouses with pumpkins on almost every stoop, crunchy fall leaves covering the sidewalks. It's an autumn dream!
3. National Arboretum: The last time I was at the Arboretum, I felt like I was in the English countryside. Rolling hills, paths through the woods, trees (obviously) all around. And the best part - it's so big, you can always find a spot all to yourselves away from any crowds!
4. Rock Creek Park: Another Mary Catherine Photography go-to. I've always loved Rock Creek Park because it feels like I'm hours outside the city, yet I'm in the dead center of it! Forests, rushing creeks, stone bridges, old historic structures. If you're looking for that middle-of-nowhere vibe, but don't feel like ACTUALLY driving to the middle of nowhere, Rock Creek Park is your spot!
5. The Bishop's Garden at the National Cathedral: On a recent trip to the National Cathedral, I had an epiphany: the Bishop's Garden would make the PERFECT session location. It's so romantic, and totally reminds me of the secret garden. Just the right amount of overgrowth, big billowing trees, a gazebo. All with the stunning National Cathedral as the backdrop.
6. Butler's Orchard, Germantown, MD: Beware. This place is usually overrun with crowds but for GOOD reason. Their pumpkin patch - complete with wheelbarrows - is huge and adorable and there is always a great spot for some "toddler amongst the pumpkins" photos. PLUS, they have orange AND white pumpkins AND gourds in their fields, which I am totally a sucker for. If you're feeling extra energized, pop on over to their fall festival for some fun candid photos with the fam!
7. Downtown Annapolis, MD: I find Annapolis to be the most charming place in the entire DMV area. Right on the Chesapeake Bay, the harbor makes for a scenic backdrop OR wonder up the cobblestone streets to its picturesque historic neighborhoods. Don't forget to make a pitstop at Old Fox Books to snap a photo or two in their magical backyard garden!
8. Terrapin Nature Park, Stevensville, MD: A lovely spot for some beach photos if you don't want to travel ALL the way to the Atlantic beaches. While it's not a huge beach, it does the trick and let me tell you - I've seen some GORGEOUS sunsets here with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the background. To top it off, there are lovely trails through the woods on your way to the water. For anyone in Annapolis/Bowie area, this is a superb option.
9. Sugar Loaf Mountain, Dickerson, MD: I'll admit, I've never done a photo shoot here. But I sure as heck am dying to. ESPECIALLY in the fall. Red and orange trees galore, incredible views from the summit, and even a winery at the base of the mountain. Makes for a great post-session adventure!
10. Old Town Alexandria: Ohhh Old Town. It never ceases to amaze me. I've had so many sessions here I literally have a route I take my clients on! We start in Founders Park down on the shores of the Potomac, loop around by the marina, pitstop at the famous tree-lined cobblestone street, and finally, wander through the neighborhoods stopping at every house that has a pumpkin or mums on its front steps, obviously.
11. Manassas Battlefield National Park: Whenever I think of Manassas Battlefield National Park, I think of fields of tall grass, golden sunsets, and never-ending wooden fences. If you're looking for more of a "we're out in the country" feel, this is definitely your spot.
12. Hartland Orchards, Markham, VA: Two words: APPLE ORCHARD. With views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Need I say more?
13. Bull Run Winery, Manassas, VA: I love love love Bull Run Winery as a session location. Especially for couples! Ease yourself into the session with a glass of wine, then head on outside for golden hour - frolic in the big ol' field, use the old wooden fence as a prop, or climb the Hillwood Ruins. Highly recommended!