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Washington Photo Safari at 20, 1999-2019: Looking Back and Looking Ahead!

How is it possible that 20 years have passed since January of 1999 when architectural photographer David Luria took 3 clients around the National Mall and showed them how to take better pictures?

We were the first community-based photo tour company in the country and – averaging one safari with 5 clients  every day for 20 years- have now become one of the nation’s largest! Here we are now, 36,500 clients later, a small city’s population of photographers from all 50 US states and 40 countries, trained by Washington Photo Safari, all of them getting “low and close” and holding their cameras in the approved position to get great images!

We have shown our clients in small groups averaging 6-7 people how to move the full moon across the sky, make people disappear or turn them into ghosts, how to photograph pets, eagles, horses, snow geese, wolves, and elks in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Shenandoah,  and in Yellowstone, fireworks at Mt. Vernon, azaleas at the National Arboretum, and cherry blossoms on the Tidal Basin.

We have guided them to street photography taught by a Pulitzer-Prize- winning photojournalist on the National Mall, to abstract images in Adams Morgan, Marine Corps silent drill teams, full moonrises over the Capitol, indoor portraiture in Fairfax, VA, model trains in Laurel MD;  to snowball fights at Dupont Circle and pillow fights by the Washington Monument, elegant homes in Kalorama  and to works of art in the National Gallery; and we have explained  the mystery of  F stops and shutter speeds at the National Building Museum,  the National Zoo, and the Smithsonian Castle!

We have done this not just in DC but also in Annapolis, Frederick, Baltimore, Virginia Beach,  New York, Philadelphia, Cape May , Wilmington,  and way WAY out of town in San Diego, Florida, Quebec City, Buenos Aires, Amsterdam, Prague, Paris, Rouen, on the beaches of  Normandy, and in the Bahamas!

We have also used our safaris to benefit charities, raising a total of $27,500 through volunteer Photo Safaris conducted to benefit other International and domestic disasters and earthquakes, and have provided hundreds of free safari gift certificates to the silent auctions of local non-profit charitable organizations

With a 99% customer satisfaction survey rating, one-third of our participants are repeat customers, coming on two or more Safaris.  Over 650 people have taken an average of 8 Safaris apiece, 31 of them on at least 20 safaris apiece, and one customer has even been on 60 of the 110+ different itineraries that we offer!

Ranked as # 1 among  Photography Tours and #4 out of 58 Outdoor Activities  in DC by ( which gave it a Hall of Fame Award for having received Certificates of Excellence every year since 2013), it has the highest percentage of 5-star Trip Advisor ratings (93%) of all  outdoor activities listed in DC and has been named as  No.1 in “Best Places to Learn Digital Photography in the DC area” on It even appeared briefly on NBC’s TODAY show!

Not bad for a little business run by one guy out of his den with help from one web assistant and 11 other instructors  but none of this would have been possible without YOU, our clients, to whom we are immensely grateful!


So what’s next, starting in 2019, our 20th Anniversary Year?

–  newly designed, more user-friendly website, in response to suggestions made by our clients, with more pictures, easier registration, faster loading

–  20% discount on all of our safaris in January, in honor of our 20th anniversary

–  A street photography safari in Cuba in March! (full, waitlist available0

–  A photo workshop cruise from Amsterdam to Basel on Viking River Cruises, in October!  (full, waitlist available)

–  New safaris in new locations, still to be announced!

–  Reviving some of the more popular safaris of the past, such as:

  • Abstracts in Adams Morgan
  • Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum at Dulles
  • Azaleas in Bloom at the National Arboretum
  • US Naval Academy in Annapolis 
  • Just For Kids : Chasing Squirrels in Lafayette Park 
  • Baltimore’s Inner Harbor at Twilight 
  • Paris on the Potomac
  • Penn Quarter and Chinatown
  • Union Station Reborn!
  • Views from the Washington Monument at twilight!
  • World War II Memorial At Night!
  • BYOK (Bring Your Own Kid  Candid Kid Photography
  • Architectural Photography of Pennsylvania Avenue at Night
  • Clearing of the Nave at Washington National Cathedral
  • Special Interior Lighting at Washington National Cathedral
  • Early Morning Access to the Diyanet Center Mosque in Lanham
  • Food and Tabletop Photography
  • Folger Shakespeare Library
  • The National Mall by Circulator Bus
  • The National Museum of the Bible
  • Creative Craft Exhibits at the Renwick Gallery

So keep your eye on this website as we launch into our 21st year, and thank you again  for your support!

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