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The National Arboretum

3501 New York Ave NE,
Washington, DC 20002
Great for Portraits
and in our standard portraits service area.

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The National Arboretum is a botanical garden situated in Washington, D.C., that covers over 400 acres of land. The Arboretum was established in 1927 by an act of Congress, and it is managed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. The park was created to serve as a research facility for agricultural and botanical studies, as well as a recreational area for the public to enjoy.

One of the most iconic features of the National Arboretum is the collection of 22 Corinthian columns, which were originally part of the U.S. Capitol building. The columns were salvaged from the Capitol after it was burned by the British during the War of 1812. The columns were later installed in the Arboretum’s National Capitol Columns Plaza in 1984, where they now serve as a popular backdrop for portraits.

In addition to the columns, the National Arboretum offers many other picturesque settings for portrait photography, including a bonsai garden, a rose garden, a fern valley, and several collections of rare and endangered plants. However, it is important to note that the Arboretum has a strict permitting policy for portrait photography, which requires photographers to obtain a permit in advance and follow certain guidelines while on the premises.

The vast nature of the park means that visitors should expect to do a considerable amount of walking while exploring the Arboretum. The park also has limited hours of operation, which means that sunset sessions are not possible.

Location Limitations:

The park’s limited, and at times unusual, hours of operation mean that sessions often must take place at times that are not ideal for natural light. Sessions are generally not available in the sunset hour, though at some times of the year may be available in the hours, during or shortly after sunrise.

The National Arboretum

3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 245-4523

Portrait Permits & Costs

Permit Required:
Permit Cost:
Portraits Service Area:

The National Arboretum is in our standard portraits service area.


Event Bookings:
Location Type:
Best from:
April – November

Parking info:

A parking lot is available at the entrance to the park, however the Arboretum is vast and parking is available throughout so it is best to park close to the area you intend to shoot.

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Captured at The National Arboretum

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Heads up! You will be required to obtain a permit to hold a session at The National Arboretum. Please contact the venue for help obtaining your permit.

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