Photography Rules and Guidelines in the Washington DC Area

Photography in the Washington DC area isn’t that strict and are allowed in most places. But fullsize tripods and similar devices are not allowed unless you have a permit. I have compiled  a short list of information which maybe of help to some:

  • U.S. Capitol
    • Handheld Photography are permitted in most areas of  the Capitol Grounds including in the side where the reflecting pool is located. However, it extremely prohibited to use a tripod in the front or east side of the capitol. If you need to use a tripod you need to get a permit at 119 D Street N.E., Room 101, Washington D.C. 20510 . Please visit the U.S. Capitol Police Website for more information. You can also download the guidelines here .
  • Washington D.C. Metro Stations / Subway
  • Photography in The National Mall
    • Photography is permitted except the use of tripods in some areas. For more information please call (202) 619-7225 or visit the nps.gov website.
  • Photography in other areas of Washington D.C like business areas and federal buildings. There are no law prohibiting an individual to take photos of buildings and other structures as long as they are in public streets, but you should be prepared for the unexpected. There are establishments that won’t allow photography of their structure even if you are standing on a public street, my suggestions is to comply to their request and leave the premises to avoid confrontation and long arguments which is a total waste of your time. You can stay and argue and stand up for your right or you can comply and leave and comeback after a few hours or some other time.

Here are some more helpful resources in photography in public places;

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