Everything you need to know about getting a photography permit for your Washington, D.C. engagement or wedding | Hannah Bjorndal Photography

Some of the most beautiful places to have your engagement session or wedding photos taken are the monuments and parks of Washington, D.C. or the National Parks surrounding the D.C. area. What most couples don’t know is that you need a photography permit to shoot in any of these areas! While it may seem like a pain or a formality, getting a permit for your session or wedding is super important!

washington dc photography permits for engagement sessions and weddings

A little background: the reason these permit requirements exist is to protect & preserve these areas, as well as to ensure that everyone can enjoy them. While most professional photographers act in a respectful way, there are exceptions. Without these permit protections in place, property can be damaged and visitors’ experience can be ruined.

So what happens if you don’t get a permit? Fines for not obtaining a permit range from $500-$2000 in cost, not to mention immediate removal from the area. While there isn’t always a park ranger around to check permits at every location, it is a huge risk not to go through the permit process before your session!

What locations require a permit?

D.C. Photographer and permit guru, Kat Forder, has kindly put together tons of information on her site about obtaining permits. If you’re interested in shooting in D.C. or a National Park Maryland, or Virginia, double-check to see if your location is on Kat’s list of places that require permits:

D.C. PHOTOGRAPHY PERMITS

MARYLAND PHOTOGRAPHY PERMITS

VIRGINIA PHOTOGRAPHY PERMITS

How do I apply for and acquire a permit for my session?

If you want to shoot in any of these locations, all you need to do is cover the fee! I will take care of the application process and ensure we have everything we need for the shoot.

This application process does take time (some more than others!) so it’s wise to send me your request at least one month in advance if you want to ensure we receive it in time!

Honestly, applying for a permit is no big deal at all! If you have a location in mind that requires a permit, don’t hesitate to ask me about it!

I really don’t want to pay for a permit. What are my options?

If you don’t want to bother with a photography permit for your session, that is 100% ok! There are plenty of options, here are just a few ideas:

Your Wedding Venue (if it’s private property and you’ve paid for your wedding to be there, no permit is needed!)

Old Town Alexandria

Downtown Frederick, MD 

Beaches along the Maryland Shore

An in-home session

If you’re unsure of whether or not your preferred location needs a permit, just let me know!

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