I have had many inquiries over the last month about sessions at the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC. I thought it would be helpful to future clients (and current ones) to do a blog post that explains the process.
This also covers sessions in DC at other iconic locations as well.
Many do not realize, and I didn't either until I became a photographer, that a permit is REQUIRED to have any size session on Federal Land. The National Park Service patrols the areas, checking for permits. It's not a big deal if you have it. But if you don't, you're subject to fines and being kicked off the property. No one wants that in the middle of their engagement session!
Please take the time to follow the rules so that you get the best experience from shooting at the Cherry Blossom Festival and at other monuments in DC.
Step 1: Let your photographer know you want to have your session at the Cherry Blossom Festival (or other monument location). Be prepared to do a sunrise session as this is the best way to minimize tourists!
Step 2: Your photographer will submit the permit on your behalf (Here's the ACTUAL permit I will submit.) Please note, and I'll repeat this again at the bottom of the post, the permit application cost (As of March 2017) is $90. There is an additional fee for the permit (each location requires its own permit) and it's based on the number of people. Example: shooting an entire bridal party vs just the bride and groom has a different permit cost, but the application is still $90.
Step 3: Wait. Which stinks. So as soon as you know you want to do a session in DC at a monument, let your photographer know so we can get the ball rolling!
Step 4: Take gorgeous pictures.
Cost Break Down:
$50 per location for 1-10 people
$150 per location for 11-30 people
$250 per location for more than 30 people
"But what if I still want Cherry Blossoms, but the permit process is too expensive?"
The Cherry Blossoms don't just exist at the Tidal Basin! Sure its gorgeous, and a large (okay massive) collection of them, but it's not the only place that has them!
Down town Alexandria has a scattering of trees set against a backdrop of the cute town. Perfect for strolling with your love! Additionally, Founders Park has some beautiful trees and is right along the water! Andrea really wanted Cherry Blossoms on her wedding day, but the timeline didn't allow for us to go to the Tidal Basin. We found gorgeous flowering trees at Founders Park!!