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The Library of Congress Grounds

101 Independence Ave SE,
Washington, DC 20540
Great for Portraits
and in our standard portraits service area.

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The Library of Congress building, located on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., is not only the largest library in the world but also a stunning piece of architecture with a rich history. The building was completed in 1897 and was designed by architect John L. Smithmeyer and his assistant, Paul J. Pelz. The building boasts a neoclassical design with influences from ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The building’s iconic dome was designed by the renowned architect, Thomas U. Walter.

The Library of Congress building has played an essential role in the history of the United States, serving as a symbol of the country’s commitment to knowledge and education. It has been a repository of American culture and history for over two centuries, with its collection containing more than 170 million items, including books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and musical scores.

The Library of Congress building and its surrounding grounds are a great spot for portraits of all kinds. The mixture of green spaces and historic stone buildings provides an ideal backdrop for capturing stunning photos. The grounds offer a variety of settings for portraits, including grassy lawns, well-manicured gardens, and tree-lined walkways.

One of the things that make the Library of Congress grounds so unique is the beautiful natural light options. The large architecture creates large shaded areas throughout the day providing ample opportunities for soft, flattering light that can enhance the beauty of any subject. Photographers can take advantage of the natural light to create stunning portraits without the need for additional lighting equipment.

Additionally, the Library of Congress is in close proximity to other great places for portraits. The Supreme Court building and the House Triangle on the United States Capitol building are just a short walk away, offering even more stunning backdrops for portraits.

One thing to keep in mind is that parking can be challenging in this location. It is recommended to plan ahead and arrive early to secure a parking spot. However, the Library of Congress building and its surroundings are well worth the effort to get there.

Location Limitations:

Due to political climate and civic engagement, the Supreme Court building may be host to sometimes rambunctious protest activities that make the area around the Library of Congress less amenable to portraits. Keeping an eye on protest activity in the days leading up to your session can help you determine if an alternative location may be necessary.

The Library of Congress Grounds

101 Independence Ave SE
Washington, DC 20540
(202) 707-9779

Portrait Permits & Costs

Permit Required:
Portraits Service Area:

The Library of Congress Grounds is in our standard portraits service area.


Event Bookings:
Location Type:
Best from:
Year Round

Parking info:

Parking for the Library of Congress can be tricky and rarely is there parking available without a typically short, but sometimes significant, walk. Street parking can sometimes be found along C Street or D Street, and the neighborhood parking east and north of the building can sometimes host parking opportunities. We recommend arriving early as you may be circling the area for a little while looking for a suitable spot.

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Captured at The Library of Congress Grounds

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