Couple posing by cherry blossoms at Tidal Basin with Washington Monument in background

Cherry blossom is the perfect time to book a family or couples photoshoot in Washington DC. The most popular and famous location for a cherry blossom photoshoot is at the Tidal Basin where Yoshino cherry blossoms reign. Because it is such a popular spot, Tidal Basin can become very crowded and overwhelming, especially for a photoshoot. In this blog I share my top 3 tips on how to have a great experience at Tidal Basin for a cherry blossom photoshoot.

1 - eARLY BIRD Gets to enjoy the blossoms (6am-9am)

Enjoying the once-a-year Cherry Blossom is an incredibly popular activity. If you are there to people watch, it's perfect.

But for a photoshoot, maybe not so much.

My #1 recommendation for cherry blossom photoshoot clients is to aim for early morning. The earlier the better. Early morning is the best for a more relaxed and creative photoshoot. Here are some reasons why early is best:

  • We have more options for locations
  • We have more time for creativity
  • We don't have to wait for others' photoshoot
  • Traffic and parking is much easier and helps you arrive in a more relaxed mood
  • We can more easily avoid people getting in the frame
  • Tidal Basin is a more serene setting
Cherry blossom family portrait in the early morning light at Tidal Basin

Cherry blossom family portrait in the early morning light

2 - PLAN Ahead

DC is full is surprises. Whether it is road closure, rain, or something else, it's better to be prepared than to be surprised.

  • Plan for changes in traffic patterns/parking availability
  • Cherry blossom season marks the start of spring celebration and events. This means the normal way you take to the Tidal Basin may not be available/accessible, especially on the weekend. Events such as marathon/5k, cherry blossom festival-related activities (kite festival, cherry blossom festival opening) means key access points are blocked.
  • If you are driving to Tidal Basin, I highly suggest planning your arrival 45 minutes-1 hour earlier than the scheduled time to give you ample time to wade through heavy traffic and find parking. With road closures, many parking spots are also inaccessible, thus forcing you to park even further away and adding more time for you to get from parking to where you are supposed to be.
  • If you arrive early, then enjoy the cherry blossoms and the Tidal Basin before you bring on your A-game at the photoshoot.
  • Most events tend to be scheduled on Saturday, so Sunday might be a little easier.
  • Online resources for checking for road closures: DCist, DC MPD press release, or a good ol' googling "DC road closure"
  • Plan for changes in weather
  • Cherry blossom season marks the transition from winter to spring - but the weather can fluctuate widely.
  • Peak bloom for Yoshino Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin is typically end of March or start of April. The temperature could be low, around 40s, and wind could be blowing (think kite festival). A day could swing from 40s to 60s, so dress in layers, don't abandon your winter clothes just yet.


There are two parts to this point: what color I recommend my clients to wear and why having preferred-colors in layers is best. I will mainly refer to the color palette recommended for the white/pale pink Yoshino Cherry Blossoms since they are the main ones at the Tidal Basin.

  1. Suggested wardrobe colors: light/pale/dusty pink, light salmon, light gray, beige, white/off-white, light/pale/dusty blue, lilac.
  2. These soft colors will complement well with the Yoshino cherry blossoms at Tidal Basin. Wearing darker colors tend to draw the attention away from the softness of cherry blossoms, which is why I don't recommend dark colors such as black, dark brown, navy, maroon, etc.
  3. When in doubt, think pastel.
  4. Wear layers (with color palette in mind)
  5. Because of the unpredictable weather, it's best to layer up to stay warm and comfortable. To avoid clenching jaws and discomfort that would surely translate into photographs, I encourage my clients to wear at least 2 layers that can be photographed in.

Wardrobe color palette for cherry blossom photoshoot

Suggested colors to wear to a cherry blossom photoshoot

Family cherry blossom photoshoot at Tidal Basin in Washington DC

Family wardrobe coordination done right for cherry blossoms.