Commercial Photography Information

Special Information for Photographers

Photography of scenery has traditionally been part of a visit to a national park.

Photography does not require a permit if it involves only hand-carried equipment (tripod, interchangeable lenses, flash), and does not involve product or service advertisement, or use of models, props or sets. Normally this type of photography involves less than ten people and is completed in less than four hours in areas of the park where the public normally goes and does not interfere with other visitors.

Frequently, portrait photographers like to use our park sites as alternative to a studio setting for informal portrait photography. The National Park Service has established a streamlined method of accommodating this commercial photography by applying our Commercial Use Authorization system. Photographers pay an annual permit charge, then schedule individual portrait sessions through our permit office. At the end of the year, each photographer completes a survey form summarizing their business use of the parks. Contact the Permits Office for further information at (301)745-5815.

A photography permit is required when:

  • A product or service advertisement is involved
  • Models, props, or sets are involved
  • The project has the potential to disrupt other park activities or visitors (more than ten people, or longer than four hours in areas normally available to the public, or more than just hand carried equipment)
  • The project requires access to an area normally closed to general public use, or access into an area outside of normal public use hours, or carries with a potential risk to park resources.

Filming Permit (Long Version)

Filming Permit (Short Version)

If you are uncertain whether your project requires a permit or not, contact the Permits Office (301-745-5815) for additional information. If you already know that your project does not require a permit, you can call the office to check the schedule and avoid conflicts with other activities.

Last updated: November 16, 2017

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(301) 739-4200

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