(410) 417-8206

The Patuxent Research Refuge

10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop,
Laurel, MD 20708
Great for Portraits
and in our standard portraits service area.

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Patuxent Research Refuge is a fascinating location for portrait photography. The refuge was established in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and is the only National Wildlife Refuge in the country established to support wildlife research. Covering over 12,800 acres of land in Prince George’s County, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C., the refuge is an important location for wildlife research.

Today, the refuge is not only used for research purposes, but it is also open to the public for a variety of recreational activities. Visitors can go hiking, biking, fishing, and bird watching in the peaceful and serene environment. Additionally, the refuge is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. There is also a variety of plant life, including trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses. The refuge is a vital habitat for wildlife, making it an important location for conservation efforts.

The benefits of holding a portrait session at Patuxent Research Refuge are many. The stunning natural scenery provides a variety of backdrops for portrait photography. The refuge’s landscapes, including forests, meadows, wetlands, and ponds, offer unique and varied settings for portraits. This diversity can help create a more dynamic portfolio and bring out the best in your subjects.

The abundance of wildlife also adds an element of interest and excitement to your portraits. It’s not entirely uncommon to find the local animal population photobombing portraits, making for an interesting opportunity to capture something unique. The peaceful and serene atmosphere of the refuge allows also for relaxed and natural portraits, perfect for capturing candid moments and genuine emotions.

Patuxent Research Refuge is also an affordable and accessible location. It is free to enter, making it an excellent option for budget-minded photographers. Additionally, it is located just outside of Washington, D.C., making it easy to get to for both locals and visitors.

While there are some challenges to taking portraits at Patuxent Research Refuge, such as unpredictable weather, challenging terrain, other people around, and wildlife safety, the benefits far outweigh them. With its stunning natural scenery, abundance of wildlife, and peaceful atmosphere, Patuxent Research Refuge is an ideal location for portrait photography.

Location Limitations:

It’s critical that visitors recognize that first and foremost this is an active research facility and its primary function is not for the recreational enjoyment of visitors. Visitors should take respect for the location and the wildlife seriously. Additionally, the nature-first purposes of this location mean that bugs, including ticks, can be a real problem. Visitors should come equipped with high quality bug spray.

The Patuxent Research Refuge

10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop
Laurel, MD 20708
(301) 497-5772

Portrait Permits & Costs

Permit Required:
Portraits Service Area:

The Patuxent Research Refuge is in our standard portraits service area.


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

Parking info:

Parking is available in the large parking lots adjacent to the visitor’s center at the end of Scarlet Tanager Loop.

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Captured at The Patuxent Research Refuge

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