I'm an American expat, writer. photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or  slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.


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As a destination family photographer, I love traveling back to Old Town Alexandria VA for family photo sessions! I lived in Alexandria VA from 2017 to 2018, and while my time living there was short (my husband got a contract in France!), I always look back fondly at my time photographing families and couples in that charming and historic city. 

Old Town Alexandria VA Family Photographer

I still travel back to Old Town Alexandria VA every Fall, so if you haven’t joined my client newsletter to receive updates on when I’m next in town for family photo sessions, join here! 

Here are my top favorite spots for family photographers in Old Town Alexandria, VA!

Helena Woods in Old Town Alexandria VA

Oronoco Bay Park

By the sea is my favorite place to be. So, it goes without saying that family photos along the waterfront and lighthouse at Oronoco Bay Park are always a special treat! This is one of my favorite spots to photograph families in the afternoon, for those little ones that have an early bedtime during golden hour,  as there is plenty of open shade in the summer and fall. If you have your kids take a nap right before, golden hour is absolutely gorgeous here with the rich filtered light streaming through the trees just before sunset!

Mother and child photographed with New England family photographer Helena Woods Photography in Old Town Alexandria

Carlyle House

A popular favorite among family photographers in Old Town Alexandria, VA…you’ll often see this place crowded with people during golden hour. But luckily, there are plenty of stunning locations to photograph clients here: the blue archway, fairytale-like gazebo, manicured gardens and the park right in front of the Carlyle House at golden hour is a beautiful spot for family photos! In the Autumn months, you may find scattered bunches of colorful leaves around the park, making a fun way to photograph the little ones.

I’ve photographed so many families here and always love to come back to this peaceful, charming spot!

engagement photo session at the Carlyle House with Old Town Alexandria family photographer Helena Woods

engagement photo session at the Carlyle House with Old Town Alexandria family photographer Helena Woods

Historic Wales Alley

By far, the most popular and crowded location for VA family photographers in Alexandria, and for good reason: Wales Alley in Old Town Alexandria makes for a stunning backdrop!

I love the way the light trickles down on the cobblestones, and the vines wrap around the historic red brick – so classic Old Town Alexandria! 

If you have a golden hour photo shoot planned, be prepared to wait in line for others to finish up their sessions.

Also, side note: photographers, be nice to one another and don’t hog this narrow alley for an entire hour. With the growing popularity for family photos in Alexandria VA, I’ve had this happen to me during a shoot, and I had to practically beg a team of photographers to allow me 5 minutes. Family photographers learn to photograph quickly with children, so we can jump in there and be done rather quickly!

Alexandria VA Family photographer photographs on Wales Alley in Old Town

Alexandria VA Family photographer photographs on Wales Alley in Old Town

Wilkes Tunnel in Alexandria VA 

A favorite spot in the early morning, Wilkes Tunnel makes for some beautiful textures and soft light before the sun rises directly overhead. The textures on the stone walls make for some nice variation, and I love all the colors – greens, blues, oranges from the way the sunlight pours in. Wilkes Tunnel in Alexandria VA makes for an ideal meeting location for family photographers and their clients.

two boys laughing at Wilkes Tunnel in Old Town Alexandria VA Virginia with family photographer Helena Woods

 family photos at Wilkes Tunnel Alexandria VA mother and son smile for Helena Woods Photography in DC


Waterfront Park

As a family photographer who is attracted to more cooler tones (blues and greens), Waterfront Park is a perfect spot for me in Alexandria VA. I love the boardwalk leading out to the boats (leading lines!) and the way the yellow lights flicker on at sunset. Founders Park is also just a few steps away, giving families the option to have a leafy park location in their session as well. 

Waterfront Park can be tricky because you have to photograph at two specific times of the day: sunrise and sunset. The light can be unflattering at any other time of the day and the white boardwalk makes for a natural reflector, which can make lighting tricky for sessions at other times of the day. Otherwise, as long as it’s planned accordingly at those hours, it’s a beautiful spot!

Jones Point Park 

A hidden gem that not many VA family photographers flock out to in Old Town Alexandria is Jones Point Park. The colors are absolutely marvelous in the Autumn and Spring, and the golden filtered light at Oronoco Park (just a few steps away!) during sunset makes a great second location. 

family posing for photos in Old Town Alexandria VA with family photographer Helena Woods Photography

Helena Woods with camera in Old Town Alexandria Jones Point Park

Windmill Hill Park, Old Town Alexandria VA

While Windmill Hill Park in Alexandria VA doesn’t have much open shade (and can make it tricky for family photographers!), you can still make this beautiful location work in the early morning! Sunrise and early morning family photo sessions are ideal here, and the historic townhouses in the background make for some pretty classic Alexandria family photos. Plus, there are plenty of benches to make it easier for families. 


family photo at Windmill Hill Park in Old Town Alexandria with VA family photographer

Looking for a family photographer in Old Town Alexandria, VA?

While I used to live in Old Town Alexandria VA and now serve clients inNew England, I still frequently travel to D.C., Alexandria, and NYC every Fall.  No matter where you are located, please be sure to inquire as I travel often.

If you are a client of mine or plan to be and you want to be the very first to know my availability and travel calendar in 2020, so that you can reserve your session spot, please subscribe to our studio’s updates using this link. I only send booking details and my upcoming availability to those HWP clients that sign up on this list.

Alexandria VA Family Photographer

I always give email list subscribers first pick of any session openings, so it’s the place to be if you’re looking to book a session or mini-session! These dates are not shared publicly on social media.

Have some questions? Contact us by sending our studio team an email and we’ll respond within 24 hours. 

Old Town Alexandria VA Travel Guide 

Read my full guide to Alexandria VA here!

Alexandria VA Family photographer photographs on Wales Alley in Old Town

Best Locations in Old Town for Family Photos | Alexandria VA Family Photographer

January 27, 2020


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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical, emotionally honest family and children's portraiture. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.










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