Can You Take Pictures of the White House?

The White House is a popular tourist destination, visited by people from all over the world.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Washington, D.C., and want to take pictures of the White House, there are a few things you should know. 

In this blog post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about photographing the White House.

Can You Take Pictures of the White House?

Is it OK to take pictures of the White House?

Yes, but you’ll need to get permission to photograph the interior and exterior of the building in advance.

Photographing people without their consent is prohibited, and no drones are allowed either, so don’t even try it.

All good photographers know that taking great photos starts with preparation—and when it comes to photographing iconic buildings like the White House, that means doing your research first.

What Are the Right Spots To Take Pictures of the White House?

Are you allowed to photograph the White House?

If you’re looking for a good view of the White House, here are a few spots that might work: 

  • Lafayette Park 
  • West Potomac Park (along the banks of the Potomac River, opposite the Washington Monument)
  • The Ellipse (south side of the White House)
  • The National Mall (near the Smithsonian Metro stop — walk toward Jefferson Memorial to see White House). 

What Are the Locations for a Closer View of the White House?

If you want a closer view of one side or another, try these spots:

  • West Virginia Ave NE & 15th St NW – South Side of Executive Mansion. No public restrooms are available here.
  • H St NW between New Jersey Ave NW & 17th St NW – North Portico Entrance to the Executive Mansion. No public restrooms here either, but there is a Starbucks nearby.

A few things to keep in mind: 

  • You can’t take pictures of anyone on White House grounds without their permission. Photographing the inside of the White House is also against policy. 
  • You won’t need a permit if you’re photographing from public property, but make sure to check local laws and regulations related to photography (e.g., no trespassing). 
  • Don’t try to sell your photos or use them for commercial gain without permission.
  • You can’t just walk up to the White House and start taking pictures. You need to go through a security checkpoint, where the Secret Service will screen you.
  • Certain areas around the White House are off-limits to tourists. You can’t take pictures of the president or his family from anywhere on the property.

Items Not Allowed in the Whitehouse

Weapons

Is it okay to take pictures of the White House?

No firearms or weapons of any kind are allowed in the white house. This includes knives, pepper spray, and Tasers. 

If you’re caught with a gun on white house grounds, you will be arrested and prosecuted.

Pets

Only service animals are allowed in the white house. Pets (including dogs, cats, snakes, etc.) are not permitted in the building. 

If you’re caught with a pet on white house grounds, you will be asked to leave and can face criminal charges for trespassing.

Smoking

No smoking is allowed inside the white house or anywhere on its property. This includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc., as well as e-cigarettes and vaporizers. 

If you’re caught smoking on white house grounds, you will be asked to leave and could face criminal charges for trespassing.

Alcoholic Beverages

Would You Be Able to Take Pictures of the White House?

No alcoholic beverages are allowed in the White House or on its property at any time.

This includes those served during public tours of the building and guests attending events in the white house. 

If you’re caught with alcohol inside the building, it will be confiscated and disposed of.

You could also face criminal charges for trespassing on white house grounds if your beverage contains more than 0.00 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).

Tripod Stands

Tripod stands are not allowed in the white house. This includes those used for photography, videography, or any other type of recording. 

If you’re caught with a tripod stand on Whitehouse grounds, you will be asked to leave and could face criminal charges for trespassing.

Drones

Do You Have the Right to Take Pictures of the White House?

Drones are not allowed in or around the White House. This includes those used for commercial purposes and recreational hobbyists. 

If you’re caught flying a drone near the white house, it will be confiscated, and you could face criminal charges for trespassing on white house grounds.

Solicitation

You cannot solicit contributions or sell goods within the Whitehouse or on its property. This includes asking for signatures, distributing flyers, or selling any merchandise. 

If you’re caught soliciting contributions or goods on white house grounds, you will be asked to leave and could face criminal charges for trespassing.

Final Thoughts

The White House is a beautiful building with a lot of history. If you’re planning to visit Washington, D.C., make sure to add it to your list of places to see. 

Just be aware of the rules and regulations that apply when photographing or visiting the white house, and enjoy your time in this iconic location.