Washington National Cathedral and its grounds are private property.

Photography and video are permitted at Washington National Cathedral within the guidelines defined below. The Cathedral reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to withhold or withdraw permission to photograph or video on its premises or to reproduce photographs taken on Cathedral grounds. Visiting photographers and videographers, whether students of the medium or masters of the craft, should read this policy for information on how to use and share the images they create.

Photography and/or video students or groups should email our Visitors Program Office at specialtours@cathedral.org if they wish to visit the Cathedral for solo or group shooting opportunities.

To find out about special access for amateur photographers, click here.

Common Courtesy

  • No photography or video during worship services or concerts;
  • The guidance or direction of Cathedral staff and signage must be obeyed. Visitors may be limited in the use of photo equipment such as tripods or selfie sticks;
  • No persons should be identifiable as the primary subject of still or video images taken at the Cathedral except with their express permission.

Media Inquiries

Members of the press should visit our press section for contact information. The Cathedral maintains a selection of high-resolution photos and video of all aspects of Cathedral life for media use.

Commercial, Professional, or For-profit Activity

The mass-production and sale of merchandise using Cathedral images is forbidden.

The publication, public distribution, or public display of Cathedral images in any way that might imply Cathedral endorsement is subject to prior written approval.

The Cathedral does not typically pay for images, artistic depictions, or reproductions that it has not commissioned, but it welcomes new Cathedral images and will gladly consider them for editorial use. Please contact our Communications Office at communications@cathedral.org for more information.

This policy applies only to Washington National Cathedral and not St. Alban’s Church, Church House of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, National Cathedral School for Girls, St. Albans School for Boys, or Beauvoir—the National Cathedral Elementary School.

Permitting fees apply to photo/film shoots, modeling shoots, wedding pictures, etc.

Film and Video Permit Fees

All non-Cathedral related commercial filming permits and still photography permits are subject to a permit fee. No waivers are allowed except with the express written consent of the Cathedral Office of Communications. The following permit fees apply:

Commercial Filming/Videos: $500/day

Still Photography: $250/day

To apply for a video or film permit, click here. Please note: permits are issued based on date and you will receive a follow-up email asking for additional information, including your preferred date. Also note that our system will display December 31 as the default date for your application. Don’t worry—you will receive a follow-up email confirming the scheduling of your actual permit date.

Please note: a permit will not be issued until the date and time has been cleared with the Cathedral calendar.

Policies and Restrictions

Wedding and small group photography may be taken on the Cathedral grounds; interior wedding photography is only allowed for couples who are married inside the Cathedral by Cathedral clergy. The Cathedral interior may only be used for photography to commemorate ceremonies or life events that occur within the Cathedral.

Film and video permits are applicable only to the Cathedral grounds and the Bishop’s Garden. Cathedral film and video permits do not apply to the buildings and grounds of St. Albans School, National Cathedral School or Beauvoir School.

No services, parties, or receptions are permitted. Only the immediate wedding party and photographer are allowed. Changing rooms and access to electrical outlets are not available.

Under no circumstances will nudity or indecently/scantily clad persons be permitted on the grounds of the Cathedral. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the grounds, and observation of the presence of such by a permit holder or photographer will result in cancellation of the shoot without any refund.

Visitors are not allowed to climb on structures, trees, other plantings or walls. The gardens are a living, breathing space and the restrictions are needed to protect the flora and fauna as well as the safety of our visitors. Failure to abide by these rules will result in cancellation of the shoot without any refund, and guests will be escorted off the grounds.

No photographer/photography or videographer/video may expressly or implicitly convey the endorsement of the Cathedral. No commercial enterprise may expressly or implicitly convey the endorsement of the Cathedral for any product or service.

The following are expressly prohibited on the Cathedral grounds: live bands, disc jockeys or amplified music; raffles or gambling; picnics or the consumption of food or beverages (except water); helium-filled balloons or banners.

All photographers and visitors to the Cathedral grounds must abide by the direction of Cathedral staff and/or Cathedral Police. If a tripod is being used, all photographers must remain with their equipment at all times.

Visitors to the grounds may not be prevented from viewing an area being used by a photographer. They may be asked, politely, not to approach during filming, but once the shot has been completed, the visitors may proceed. No public area may be closed to visitor access.

No materials of any kind may be attached to historic structures, plant materials, grounds or facilities. Equipment may not be set up within garden beds without Cathedral approval.

The Cathedral is not responsible for lost or damaged personal property. Please do not leave valuables in your car.

Parking is allowed only in designated areas, and all roads must be kept open at all times for vehicle traffic. All vehicles and equipment must be kept off the lawn and planted areas.

Operating Hours

The Cathedral grounds are available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Prior approval will be required for visitation or photography outside these hours.


All photography and video permits are subject to the discretion of, and approval by, the Cathedral’s Office of Communications.


At its sole discretion, the Cathedral’s Office of Communications and/or the Cathedral Police reserve the right to cancel any reservation. In such cases, all permit fees for the canceled day will be fully refunded.

Failure to Abide by Terms and Conditions

Cancellation of the filming and denial of future filming privileges may result if the terms and conditions stated herein are not fully adhered to. Purchase of a film or video permit constitutes agreement with these rules and conditions.

Contact Information

Washington National Cathedral Communications Department: 202-537-2238 or communications@cathedral.org

Last Updated: November 2015