Press Photographers’ Gallery Guidelines

Standards of Conduct For Photographers

The standing committee requests all still photographers covering activities of the congress conduct themselves in an orderly and unobtrusive manner. Photographers must act and dress in strict conformity with and observance of the acceptable standards of dignity, propriety, courtesy, and decorum traditionally reserved for the congress in its operations. The standing committee reminds members that inappropriate behavior and attire may result in limitations being imposed on access and coverage.

The Capitol Complex

Photographs may be made in the public areas of the Capitol, the House Office Buildings and the Senate Office Buildings. Specific guidelines are below.

Access to the Senate floor is prohibited. The taking of photographs is prohibited in the Senate Chamber, the Senate Reading rooms (marble room and Lobby), the Senate cloakrooms, and the dining rooms of the Senate. (Senate Rule IV).

Photographing through the Chamber doors is prohibited.

Accredited photographers can place requests for Senators at the northwest entrance to the chamber. Photographers may accompany Senators into the President’s room for photographs.

Photographers may stand in the Ohio Clock corridor to photograph Senators. Photographers may photograph Senators outside the elevators in the East corridor outside the chamber.

During formal stakeouts and party caucus luncheons, photographers must wait in stakeout areas, except to accompany the Senator with his or her permission. Due to space limitations, organizations may be requested not to have more than one photographer at the stake out area in the Ohio Clock corridor.

Photography is not permitted in the House Chamber except on special occasions such as the Joint Meetings of Congress, State of the Union addresses, etc. Admittance on such occasions is limited and requires special credentials.

Photographing through the Chamber doors is prohibited.

Accredited photographers may request members to leave the House floor. Requests may be made with doorkeepers at the Speaker’s Lobby, for Democratic members at the East entrance and for Republican members at the West entrance.

Photographers must wear jackets and ties to access the Speaker’s Lobby to make these requests

Unless special permission is obtained from the Speaker’s office, no photographs may be made in the corridors adjacent to the House chamber. Members should be taken outside, to the Rayburn Reception Room or to the Will Roger’s corridor for such photographs.

Photographs are permitted at open hearings; however, each committee establishes its own rules governing photo coverage. These are the general guidelines for working the well of a committee room.

  1. Do not use cell phones or laptops in the committee well.
  2. Photographers should be seated, either on the floor or on low stools, with backs against the dais. This gives the witness plenty of room, and everybody a chance to make a picture;
  3. Do not rush the witness or members;
  4. Do not rest your camera on the dais, witness table or court reporter table;
  5. Please do not lie down;
  6. Avoid excessive movement;
  7. Keep your head below the dais level;
  8. Put extra gear in S-317 or SD-151;
  9. The Gallery may need to limit the number of still photographers in a committee’s well;
  10. Dress Code is business attire, or at the very least, casual business attire;
  11. Photographers should not wear: shorts, tee shirts, sandals, jeans and generally sloppy clothes.

The space at the press tables during committee hearings is reserved for reporters. Photographers are permitted to use this space on an availability basis. Gallery staff will try to reserve editing space if possible for large upcoming hearings. Otherwise, please remember that we have our workspace in SD 151 and S-317. Please check with the gallery if you have any questions.


Tripods in public areas, both inside and outside, are restricted. Please check with the Gallery for use guidelines.


Photographers using video to create stories for their organizations should contact the Gallery. The use of video cameras in the Capitol complex is restricted.

Access to Chambers

A portion of each chamber on the gallery level is reserved for press use. Photographers, with the permission of the superintendent of the Press galleries, may use these galleries to observe the proceedings. When present in the chambers, the possession or use of photographic, recording, transmitting, or binocular equipment is prohibited.

Change of Affiliation

Photographers changing affiliation on which current accreditation is based must reapply for membership.


The Senate and House of Representatives are not obligated to provide parking for photographers covering the Congress. Check with Gallery staff for information.

Restaurant Facilities

The restaurants in the office buildings and the Capitol basement are available to accredited photographers for dining. Photography is not permitted in Senate Restaurants Facilities.