Photographing Colonial Williamsburg

Williamsburg was Virginia’s capital during colonial times.  Colonial Williamsburg is a 301 acre living history museum.  Colonial Williamsburg contains buildings from the late 1600s thru the 1700s.

Military Encampment Colonial Williamsburg

The museum has working tradesman, taverns, stores, churches, and gardens.  Colonial Williamsburg also features the Governor’s Mansion (under construction when I visited) and gardens, and the Capitol Building.

Some of my favorite areas to photograph in Colonial Williamsburg are:

  • The gardens and pond of the Governors Mansion
  • Workers at Colonial Williamsburg in costume
  • Horse drawn carriages
  • Colonial buildings and architecture

Garden Shed Colonial Williamsburg

Tips for visiting and photographing Colonial Williamsburg

  • Travel light and wear comfortable shoes.  There is a considerable amount of walking at Colonial Williamsburg.  Even if you take the bus shuttle from the visitor center, there is a lot of ground to cover.
  • Don’t carry a lot of photo gear. Due to the amount of walking try just using a good walk around lens like a 24 -105mm.  I also brought a 16-40mm lens but didn’t use it that much.
  • Bring filters.  Since the museum is open from 8:45am – 5:00pm, you’ll be visiting during the middle of the day.  If it’s a bright, sunny day, there will be harsh shadows and lighter colors will be blown out.  Use graduated neutral density filter to help darken the scene, and a circular polarizer reduce glare and increase saturation.
  • Get there early.  Try and arrive early to beat the crowds and get some soft morning light for your photographs.
  • Dine at one of the authentic colonial taverns to get the true feel of this place.  You’ll be served by waiters/waitresses that are playing their colonial part.  You may even be entertained by a musician playing songs from that era.
  • Beat the Lines. Buy your ticket online to beat the lines. There was no line for pre-purchased tickets while the others had to wait even though we arrived at opening time.
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