You Can Now Take Photos at the White House, but Leave Your Selfie Sticks at Home

You Can Now Take Photos at the White House, but Leave Your Selfie Sticks at Home

First Lady Michelle Obama just announced via her Instagram that the longstanding ban on cameras and photos during public tours in the White House has been lifted.In addition to an official announcement on, Michelle Obama shared the video below with her over two million followers earlier today.

Effective immediately, the over 40 year ban on photos has been lifted and White House guests are now allowed to take photos throughout their tour and are encouraged to share their images on social media sites with the hashtag #WhiteHouseTour. Chief Official White House Photographer Pete Souza captured a shot of some of the first guests to take advantage of the new rules.

Many other photographers were also on hand to capture some of the first guest photos in the home of the Executive Branch.

Copyright Zach Glassman |

Copyright Zach Glassman |


There are still several restrictions in place, so don't go running over to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with your DSLR and tripod expecting to get some killer portfolio shots.

Permitted Items: Phones and compact still cameras with a lens no longer than 3 inches are allowed inside the White House.  Photography is permitted but may not interfere with the enjoyment of other guests on the tour.  

Prohibited Items: Video cameras, including any action camcorders, cameras with detachable lenses, tablets, tripods, monopods, and camera sticks are not permitted on White House Tours.  Flash photography and livestreaming are not permitted while on the tour.

 You'll notice a few things jumping out of that "prohibited" list, including "action camcorders" (sorry GoProBros), "cameras with detachable lenses" (sorry most of us), and "camera sticks" (sorry fans of anarchy and chaos).

Despite the restrictions, I am certain that we are going to start seeing some great shots popping up on Instagram and other social media sites. The White House has been out of the reach of the common photographer for over four decades, and it's exciting to see how people will capture one of the greatest landmarks in the world. 


Andrew Strother's picture

Andrew is a professional photographer based in Houston, Texas. Texas is better than all other states including Canada.

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so basically you can now have your phone in the white house ?

Bummer! That looks like it also rules out Micro 4/3rd's cameras since they have detachable lenses. So even if my Canon F-1N without the motor drive is the same size as a 4/3rd's camera, I can't use it.

It looks like someone will have to petition the White House to allow cameras with detachable lenses. When I get my password reset, I'll file a petition at

"White House guests are now allowed to take photos...." The headline is a bit misleading - there's no 'you can' if you're not an invited guest. If/when the White House is reopened to the public, only then will 'you' be able to take photos.

You can request a tour of the White House through your congressman. It's really not that hard.

FTFWS: "Public tour requests must be submitted through one's Member of Congress. These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (excluding federal holidays or unless otherwise noted)."