Rust Nature Sanctuary is my absolute favorite place to shoot. It’s very rustic, tall grass, beautiful sunset views. It also has an old manor house and when not in use for events, it adds a lovely variety to your gallery. And, if there’s a lot of sun we can walk down to tall evergreen trees. Honestly this location never disappoints which is why I go there so often. Most of my photo sessions are here.
The only real downside is because it’s free, it can get a little crowded. But it still isn’t super well known so I’ve never not been able to shoot. Pet friendly.
Morven Park is one of those places that has a little something for everyone and I could do an entire blog post dedicated to it on its own. So, here is just a snapshot of some of what it has to offer. Add to this manicured gardens, rolling grassy hills and you have Morven Park. I maintain an annual photography membership so I have access nearly at any time for your photo session.
The downsides are is it’s huge, so not ideal for shorter sessions unless you are OK with sticking to one area. For longer sessions we can drive and cover lots of different areas. They also host many events throughout the year, so not all dates are always available. Pet friendly.
Claude Moore Park in Sterling is relatively new to me. But I’ve enjoyed it every time I’ve gone. It’s particularly beautiful when the leaves are changing. Pet friendly.
Downtown Leesburg is also a favorite for a more urban setting. My goodness, the light. I feel silly saying things like that – but it’s true! Our little town is so stunning and offers a huge variety for short or long photo sessions. Pet friendly.
Dodona Manor aka The George C Marshall House is a hidden gem in downtown Leesburg. The only downside is it’s small, and there is no reservation system, so if others are there we may need to pivot and shoot in town instead. But, I have not had this problem yet. Pet friendly.
Oatlands is another stunning manor house with lush gardens and a greenhouse which can make for a very unique photo session. Contrary to these photos you *CAN NOT* bring pets to Oatlands.
There is a $100 permit fee per photo session payable directly to Oatlands when you reserve your appointment. They are really good about managing reservations so it doesn’t get too crowded, and it’s not as well-known as other locations.
Mt Zion Historic Park in Aldie is a little gem tucked away off Route 50. It’s smaller and easy to navigate, and offers a stone wall, brick building with cool doorways, the best Fall-color foliage I’ve found, and the sun sets just perfectly. Dog friendly.
Hillside Park in Ashburn is a new-to-me spot that I really enjoyed! There is an old stone house and beautiful sunset over trees. It’s very small and easy to navigate. Pet-friendly.