As a Virginia wedding photographer, I’ve leaned into my years of experience to compile more than 20 of the best engagement photo locations across the state. Whether you’re looking for a hidden gem or just want show stopping Save-the-Dates, consider this list a curated look at Virginia’s best.
Just outside of Charlottesville, tucked away in a valley beside the Blue Ridge Mountains is one of my favorite engagement photo locations: Waterperry Farm.
Waterperry Farm has an incredible curated garden and English greenhouse that has completely stolen my heart, but even if a dreamy secret garden isn’t your vibe – Waterperry Farm delivers a huge variety of photo backdrops. It’s hard to choose a favorite between sweeping, manicured green fields, a stone staircase overlooking a reflective pond and lots of archways draped in ivy. In my opinion, Waterperry Farm makes for a perfect photo shoot location for any couple!
Want a taste of what your Waterperry Farm engagement session could look like? Check out Kate and Aaron’s session here!
There is nothing more dreamy than two cuties snuggled up in a secret garden, and the Vaughan Greenhouse is a lush, romantic paradise just begging to be the venue for your engagement photos. Overflowing with botanicals and plants, this greenhouse is perfectly tucked-away and awaiting some lucky plant parents tying the knot. I love this location so much that Cody and I brought out wedding photographers here for our first anniversary photos! (That’s us in the photo!)
Oh hey, if you’re still looking for a wedding venue the Vaughan Greenhouse can also accommodate intimate elopements and micro-weddings with less than 15 guests!
Located in downtown Alexandria, the Carlyle House is a historic home from the 18th century featuring original details with elegant architecture and manicured landscaping. The iconic periwinkle doorway and side gardens are a perfect mix of old world right in the heart of a big modern city, so this could be the perfect spot for a couple hoping to show off two completely different looks in their engagement photos.
Want a taste of what your Carlyle House engagement session could look like? Check out more from my recent editorial here!
Maymont is a staple when it comes to engagement photo locations in Virginia! While my personal favorite spot within Maymont is this covered walkway dripping in ivy, Maymont is home to a lot of hidden treasures.
If your style is more old world and vintage, you two can snuggle up and laugh together on the wrought iron benches beside the historic estate. If you guys are more playful, we can start the session with a splash by popping champagne in front of the fountain. You can walk the stoned lined pathway between the tulip garden, steal a kiss in one of the stone archways or hip-bump over the stepping stones across the still waters of the Japenese gardens. No matter what your vibe is, we’ll find the perfect engagement photo location to fit your style within Maymont.
Get a taste of Maymont at Kishan and Krishna’s Maymont Proposal HERE!
A true hidden gem when it comes to engagement photo locations in Virginia! Pharsalia is a family property turned flower farm right at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Tyro, Virginia.
Pharsalia provides a completely unique engagement photo experience with its vibrant landscapes and wide variety of foliage changing with each season. This historic location offers unique mountain views from both sides of the property, a fully operational flower farm, acres of whispy wheat and historic early 1800s architecture. A dreamy mountainside garden estate, Pharsalia is perfect spot to frolic in the fields with your soulmate.
As one of my favorite wedding venues in the DMV, you already knew that the Market at Grelen was going to have it’s own comfy home on my top engagement photo locations in Virginia!
The Market at Grelen is a unique location set on a 600-acre tree nursery with European inspired architecture and a HUGE greenhouse! Serving stolen kisses in a secret garden energy, you can dress up for an elegant engagement session or stick to something laid back and playful here. Featuring a whispy willow tree, a large hedge wall with an arched iron gate, multiple orchards and distant mountain views – there’s a little somethin’ somethin’ for everyone!
Get a feel for all that Grelen has to offer by checking out my blog on Lauren and Joe’s colorful summer wedding!
The Norfolk Botanical Garden is the state’s largest botanical garden, so we’re sure to find the perfect shot among their vast expanses of tree and plant life. This iconic location is perfect for engagement photos for couples with a plant obsession or any couples who just love to get out into nature!
There’s one spot in particular that I can’t get enough of – a dreamy stone staircase covered in cascading leaves and yummy texture. Want some extra variety? The Norfolk Botanical Garden also features a rainbow of a rose garden and a cute covered trellis, a stonework fountain, and a water feature surrounded by whispy cat tails.
Continuing with the theme of plant-loving photo locations, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is another one of the best! Match your whimsical love story with the beautiful scenery of this fairytale setting – Lewis Ginter features really unique architecture amongst all of the greenery. Twirl your partner in front of the iconic domed greenhouse, go for a dip kiss under the Japanese round gateway, and sweep them off of their feet under the draped greenery arches. The stone archways wrapped in rose vines are one of the most romantic places to photograph couples in Virginia!
For floral enthusiasts and springtime lovers, the Irvington Flower Farm in Lynchburg, Virginia is just the ticket for your engagement session. I’m obsessed with all of the texture and color that Irvington has to offer!
I can see it now: your Save-the-Dates will be a burst of colors, petals, lush greenery and your iconic love story to celebrate the beginning of your newest chapter together! There’s even a misty greenhouse with rounded beams inside available if you want the option of something more neutral without being boring.
I know what you’re thinking – isn’t it a little strange to have your engagement photos on a college campus that (most likely) isn’t your alma mater? With views like these, Sweet Briar is a hidden gem when it comes to Virginia engagement photo locations!
In the summer time, Sweet Briar has a wide open field full of whispy grass that seems to stretch for miles of rolling hills to a distant view of the Blue Ridge mountains. Choose from a rounded frosty greenhouse, a quiet and sun-soaked path between the trees, or a rustic boat house right on the lake as a backdrop for your engagement photos. (With a top notch equestrian program at the school, we might even be able to coerce one of Sweet Briar’s cutie horses to come to the fence for a quick cameo!)
As an added bonus for any of my camera-shy friends, Sweet Briar’s campus is tucked away and very private which makes for an intimate experience with few interruptions!
If you don’t want to worry about permits in good ole Washington DC, Jones Point park could be the sweet spot for you!
Jones Point Park in downtown Alexandria features a historic lighthouse, waterside views, a lush walking path and a super fun urban under-bridge area. The street wear vibes under the bridge plus the proximity to the city make for exciting and edgy engagement photo opportunities, but the little coves and hollows in the park itself are perfect for something more soft and romantic too. We love options!
Want a taste of what your Jones Point Park engagement session could look like? Check out Savannah and Chris’ session here!
The Virginia House is a former manor house in Richmond, Virginia that just oozes vintage garden vibes. This stunning European-inspired estate features amazing original early 1900s architecture like delicate stonework and stained glass windows. This romantic storybook scene is perfect for my green-loving couple that dream of a touch of that old world elegance!
Every time I look at the Virginia House, it just feels like a castle that was forgotten by time. A greenery lined stone stairway, manicured garden mazes, and ivy lined terraces are just the beginning when it comes to stunning photo backgrounds during your engagement session! My number one recommendation for any one searching for a dreamy fairytale vibe!
If you and your partner lean a little more boho, Sorella Farm is a picture-perfect location that gives a rustic and charming energy to any engagement photos. This farm site is a fall or late summer dream for couples’ portraits, with tons of autumnal leaves around the months of September to November.
From big fluffy trees arching over a gravel driveway to rolling hills alllll the way down to a cute little lakeside dock, Sorella Farm has a little bit of something for everyone. Sorella Farm also serves as a wedding venue, so couples getting married here can also take advantage of the cute vintage home or the a renovated open-air barn on the property. (My personal suggestion? Hang around a little bit after sunset to grab a cute picture kissin’ on your boo with sparklers under the string lights! It’s guaranteed to look like magic!)
As a lover of oversized hydrengeas, I couldn’t leave this one out! The Boar’s Head Inn is a classic, well-landscaped venue with amazing views of the water and little romantic hideaways for intimate engagement photos. A staple of Charlottesville, you and your partner will feel like you stepped into an eclectic romantic-era painting by having your engagement shoot at Boar’s Head with it’s stonework stairways, arching bridges, and softly rolling hills.
The Historic Polegreen Church is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind open-air church situated in a small grove of trees surrounded by open fields. (Bonus points: This is where singer Jason Mraz married his partner!) For a couple looking to honor their religious roots while still staying true to their modern partnership, the open, modern frame and structure of the church make for a unique engagement photo location in Virginia.
If you and your partner aren’t necessarily tied to the religious theme, Historic Polegreen is perfect for a couple hoping for a location that makes a statement. With its modern art style architecture, the contrast of the white line-work really makes an impression amongst the trees and shady pathways.
Tredegar Iron Works and nearby Belle Isle are close in proximity with two completely different flavors. Tredegar Iron Works is an industrial ironworking warehouse in downtown Richmond, featuring a lot of brick work and black-wrought iron detailing. Just across the street, Belle Isle can be reached following a modern bridge to a gorgeous nature trail alongside the James River.
This is one of my top location suggestions for partners who are aiming for both a formal and a casual outfit look, as Tredegar and Belle Isle are a killer three-peat combo. (Do people still say three-peat?)
The Freemason District in downtown Norfolk, Virginia, is the cutest little pocket of cobblestone streets and eclectic waterside homes. Between the flowering trees of local parks, cute coffeeshops or historic “ruins”, Freemason District has a little bit of everything. The result is a quiet engagement session location where couples can move with me through multiple scenes quickly and easily.
Old Town Alexandria is a lovely historic district in Alexandria, Virginia that is easily accessible to anyone in the DC metro area! I love suggesting Old Town to my couples who want their engagement session to feel like a date night, as it’s perfect for strolling hand in hand down the streets, splitting an ice cream cone at one of the cute local cafes, or stealing a quick kiss along the docks. We can’t forget one of the most iconic Old Town looks: a brick lined alley way covered in ivy vines!
If you’re a Virginian through and through, the Virginia Capitol Building is an essential and iconic location—what better place to celebrate your engagement? As an engagement photo location, the Virginia Capital features biiiiiig white pillars overlooking the city skyline, a crisp marble staircase, and a pop of greenery nearby. If you’re hoping for a DC vibe without the headache of DC parking, I’d say this is the spot for you!
Great Falls National Park straddles the Potomac River on both the Virginia side and the Maryland side, so it miiiight sound familiar if you’ve been looking at my Maryland Engagement Locations blog posts!
The Virginia side of Great Falls National Park features a killer waterfall, lots of jagged rocks at the water’s edge, as well as amazing forestry and plenty of lookout points. Perfect for my adventurous couples and my couples who want to look adventurous without a crazy hike!
Bonus points: Not all national parks are pet friendly, but Great Falls is! This place is just calling for you to snuggle up with your honey and have a cute family picnic with a gorgeous view.
Ravens Roost Overlook is a high point—pun intended—of Virginia’s natural landscape. If you are looking for the type of engagement session that stops people in their tracks, Ravens Roost was meant for you!
Don’t be fooled by the intimidating perspective: Raven’s Roost is an incredibly popular photo location because there is almost no hiking involved for this stunning view. (My best tip for beating the crowds? Schedule your engagement session for sunrise or on a weekday to get this overlook to yourselves!)
Another European-inspired castle forgotten by time, the Airlie Center feels like a dreamy hideaway on the Virginia countryside. Boasting an expansive marble staircase, a manicured garden maze, an intricately decorated greenhouse, stonework archways and a sun-soaked lakeside paths, the Airlie Center has an understated elegance perfect for an engagement session.
Choosing a non-traditional location for your engagement photos is the easiest way to make a session feel like you. (My partner and I tied the knot in a coffeeshop, so you already know that my Aquarius soul loves breaking out of the norm for something authentic!) Consider places that are meaningful to you or your relationship in some way, whether that looks like re-living your favorite date night or inviting your pets.
If you want to get the ball rolling on non-traditional locations, consider checking out local breweries, stylish Air BNBs, coffeeshops, record stores, parks, ice cream parlors, monuments, parking garages with epic views, the state fair or even your own home!
If bold outfits or unusual locations aren’t your vibe, consider doing one of your fav date night activities together like baking together or snuggling up to make s’mores in your backyard.
Let’s do this!
Whether you’re looking for something dreamy and intimate or want to feel like you’ve walked out of the pages of Vogue, it’s all possible. Send me a message HERE and mention this blog post to receive an extra half hour of engagement photos on me. (This offer is open to any couples who haven’t previously inquired with me.)