When visiting the cemetery or attending an Arlington Cemetery military funeral, the commemoration of such events through photography and video is never uncommon nor discouraged. However, to ensure the ceremonies and cemetery grounds are properly respected, there are certain guidelines regarding photo and video etiquette at Arlington National Cemetery. If you’re unfamiliar with them, you should certainly review them before you go.
Arlington Media Policy
In general, Arlington Cemetery is open to the use of media by guests of the cemetery grounds. The key rule that is enforced at all times, however, is that guests be aware and mindful of each other at all times. It is strictly forbidden for media outlets to take pictures of anyone mourning in the cemetery and it’s heavily frowned upon for average guests to do the same. While commemoration is great for helping someone mourn and come to terms with the loss of a loved one, it should never come at the expense of someone else’s grief. If you have any queries about the rules or need permission before doing something, the Arlington National Cemetery’s Public Affairs Office will be your first point of contact.
Always Show Respect
Another aspect of the photo and video etiquette at Arlington National Cemetery is to treat the grounds themselves with respect. When you’re absorbed in capturing the perfect shot, it’s easy to lose awareness of your surroundings. You should never tread over other graves, and avoid flash photography if possible. While there’s no outright ban on flash photography, it can be upsetting to other guests of the cemetery who are trying to mourn their own loved ones.
Photographing or recording funeral proceedings and ceremonies can be tricky, as there are many others in attendance who are vulnerable and emotional,1 while the ceremonies themselves are full of tradition and procedures you wouldn’t want to interrupt. When possible, it’s best to rely on the expertise of professional funeral photographers. Funeral photographers are well versed in handling such a delicate event and will be able to capture the best moments without disturbing those in attendance. It will also allow you to mourn and handle your own grief without having to worry about trying to capture the event at the same time.