Photographer’s Guide to the Cherry Blossoms of Washington DC – Cherry Blossom Photos, Frame Locations for Photoshoots

Pic Courtesy: DC Refined

Looking for the best frame locations for those gorgeous cherry blossom photos you want to click? Let me help you get some of facts straight so that you, your lens and all those who benefit from this beautiful season can get good pics and even better memories of the cherry blossoms.

Tip #1 – Begin by tracking the bloom

Everything begins by knowing when to click. With the onslaught of cold weather, the blooms will go into hibernation for more time than expected. So if you’ve got to get a good estimate for how long its going to be until the bloom begins, follow this website closely to know exactly when you should trek out with your photo gear: Cherry Blossom Earth Cam.

In this age and time, with Instagram and many of the official accounts of the Cherry Blossom Watch and National Cherry Blossom Festival posting and tweeting about the bloom, getting the perfect time for those cherry blossom photos may not be as difficult. You can also follow relevant hashtags and photographer communities. I suggest doing this way in advance of the actual bloom – at least 2-3 months in advance. This will give you ample time to book hotels and arrange for travel accommodation.

cherry blossom locations
Pic Courtesy: Ajay Sahu (Flickr)

Tip #2 – Get there early!

When to take the best cherry blossom photos you ask? Everyone’s got just one answer for you – as early in the day as possible! Go early in the morning to capture the best photos. Not just will the fresh flowers reflect the soft dew and hazy sunlight. But also, the Tidal Basin will not be crowded by the regular commute of tourists and people.

cherry blossom photos
Pic Courtesy: Sean Naber (Flickr)

Tip #3 – Get on the water

Now you must be wondering why you got to brave the cold icy winds on the Tidal basin water. But I assure you some of the shots you take from the water will be unique and legendary. Take a paddle boat into the water or kayak around the Potomac banks. There are plenty of spots where you can take cherry blossom photos free of people.

Look at this photo – its simplicity blew me away (though it technically wasn’t from a paddle boat):

cherry blossom photos

Around 6-7 days after the bloom, the flowers would have shed all their petals. Petal carpets across the water and against stones are also great photo shots!

Tip #4 – Capturing the celebrations in your cherry blossom photos

Sometimes, you want to capture the entire feel of a place when you’re behind the lens. The whole of Washington DC will be reveling in festivities. And if you want to snap some of those pink-tinged classic shots, then check out CityCenter DC hosts well-decorated alleys with pink and cherry-themed lanterns.

Also, the Blossom Kite Festival is an awesome backdrop for photos. Because the culmination happens on just one single day, heavy rush of tourists and nature lovers can block your photo moments. Prevent this by choosing other non-conventional spots of capture the attractions of the Yoshino cherry tree.

cherry blossom dc
Washington, D.C. Kite Festival at the National Mall © Garrett Hubbard 2013

Where To Find The Best Cherry Blossom Trees To Photograph

1. Tidal Basin

Cliche, yes. But the majority of the cherry trees can be found here along the 1.8 mile long Tidal basin. Let’s break that down.

Shooting the Japanese pagoda – Near the FDR memorial is the Japanese pagoda sculpture, a monument of historic significance. You can shoot the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Memorial in the background from there. You can also get 180 degree views of the trees from the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. This shot can capture paddlers in water also.

The official Japanese lantern in located at the Independence Avenue just after the bridge. This is where you can get many shots of the oldest trees sweeping the water.

cherry blossom festival

Most of the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin are Higan cherry trees or weeping cherries.

Here’s a list of places where you can find different types of cherry trees in Washington DC – Where to find cherry tree varieties in Washington DC.

2. National Mall

The Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool is famous through photographs. Check out the frames near the World War II memorial also if in the vicinity. The Washington Monument has many flaming purple trees which are not cherry trees, but look gorgeous all the same.

3. Parks along the Potomac

The East and West Potomac Parks are the all-time favourites for cherry blossom photos. This is mainly because there are many types of trees to capture here. The quiet Haines Park offers secluded photography opportunities.

There are also a few lots of Yoshinos on the west side of the Capitol Hill and the Upper and Lower Senate Park.

4. Japanese American Memorial – If you want a couple of closed and marked out spots of the bloom, then check out the Japanese American Memorial to patriotism during World War II.

5. National Arboretum – The National Arboretum is also one of those good cherry blossom locations where you can see a huge variety of Sakura trees cultivated for research. It isn’t very crowded and also has a host of magnolia trees that resemble the blossoms.

6. Arlington Cemetery – The Arlington Cemetery also has a good canopy of cherry trees ascending across martyr graves. These tend to bloom after the main bloom at the Tidal Basin.

7. Dumbarton Oak Park – Georgetown’s Dumbarton Oak Park also has some very neatly manicured blossoms, but lies a little outside DC mainland. Entry to the park is not free and have restrictions on carrying cameras.

8. Brookside Gardens – This garden has a lush Japanese garden with a handful of cherry trees that make for good cherry blossom photos against its neat green lawns.

Towns of Bethesda (Kenwood) and Alexandria also present picturesque settings, but more so in their residential neighborhoods. Other cherry blossom locations are the Faxhall Village in Georgetown and many other residential complexes around the town of Bethesda.

All you need to know about the cherry blossoms of Washington DC and the National Cherry Blossom Festival – In our comprehensive guide right here!

Or check out our video guide on our YouTube channel:

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