5 Best Photo Opportunities in Williamsburg

Photo Opportunities Williamsburg

Lee Van Grack

Colonial Williamsburg stands to fulfill any photographer's need for unique subject material during any season of the year. The historic buildings, colorfully costumed interpreters and working craftsmen provide plenty of options. Be sure to rise early and capture photo opportunities Williamsburg offers on Duke of Gloucester Street before it gets crowded. A wide angle and zoom lens will prove useful. If you're lucky enough to attend the December Grand Illumination, bring a tripod and use a slow shutter speed to film the fireworks display.

Beyond the historic area other regional suggestions include Busch Gardens, Jamestown and Yorktown. Choose from the offerings below for the Williamsburg's best photo ops.

1. The Romantic Photo: Crim Dell Bridge on the Campus of William & Mary

Popular rumors state if two lovers cross the Crim Dell Bridge together and kiss at the crest, they will remain together forever. Another similar urban legend claims if someone crosses Crim Dell alone, they will be alone forever.

The bridge lies in a rather secluded area at the rear of what is known as the Sunken Garden on the Old Campus of William & Mary. It's an arched wooden span with intricately carved railings rising over a pond. The railings are painted a rusty Williamsburg red. Pathways leading to Crim Dell are planted with rhododendron, azaleas and spring and fall-blooming camellias. Large groupings of Mountain Laurel bloom in May in this idyllic spot.

The College of William & Mary
327 Richmond Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23186

2. The Quirky Photo: Busch Gardens Roller Coasters

Busch Gardens has been consistently voted among the most beautiful theme parks for the past 20 years, so shutterbugs ought to find more than a few candidates for their best photo from Williamsburg. For a quirky one, try to capture the Griffon roller coaster when it briefly stops 205 feet above and the riders look straight down. You'll need a zoom lens to catch your friends or family faces on this floorless and 70-miles-per-hour fast ride.

Or try the Loch Ness Monster, an interlocking, double-looping coaster, which reaches the height of a 13-story building.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg
One Busch Gardens Blvd
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Adults $63.99, children 3-9 $53.99, children 2 & under free

3. The Family Fun Photo: A Colonial Williamsburg Carriage Ride

If ever there was a Williamsburg best photo op for a family, it has to be the carriage ride. The horse-drawn coaches are a signature experience in the restored former state capitol, worthy of a photo by themselves, but capturing the classic family vacation moment is even better. The costumed drivers will pose while you snap away.

Carriage rides can only be booked on the day of the tour by stopping by any of the Colonial Williamsburg ticket offices or the Visitor Center. Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis. Prices are $12.50 per person with a Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket and $20 per person without. Rides are available in the daytime only.

4. The Scenic Photo: The Governor's Palace

The reconstructed Governor's Palace, home to several Royal Governors in the 18th century, sits on its original site and is truly a national treasure. It's also the iconic photo of Williamsburg. The Palace is a classically balanced architectural delight, and its intricate iron gates create prize-winning angles for images. The classic shot is taken from the Palace Green through the gates with a wide-angle lens, but snap all the way around this magnificent structure.

The formal gardens in the back always show well, but walk as far back as you can for a slightly raised point of view. Shoot through openings in the brick walls. The Palace maze delights all ages; however, children make good subjects here. Meander down to the pond and photograph the lovely footbridge; pose a couple crossing the bridge if available. Look for the colonial rare breed sheep grazing in the adjoining pasture. They make another wonderful Williamsburg photo op.

The Palace has several out buildings, including the wheelwright works. All the craftsmen offer numerous possibilities for Williamsburg travel photography. Shoot an close-up shot of them working, take a portrait using the shop as the background, and photograph their tools and works, such as wheels, mugs and jewelry.

Governor's Palace
Duke of Gloucester St
Williamsburg, VA 23185

5. The Classic Photo: Fife and Drums Corps Parade on Duke of Gloucester Street

The Fife and Drum Corps perform more than 700 times per year, with the majority of those performances as a parade on Duke of Gloucester Street. You'll have to work fast as they march by. If you zoom in to capture one or two members, you'll likely get a better image than trying to shoot the whole corps. Remember, you'll be competing with plenty of other tourists and their cameras.

The Fifers and Drummers usually end their march on the Palace Green so photographers may wish to position themselves toward that side of the street for one of the most memorable photo opportunities Williamsburg gives you.
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