Film, Photography & Sound Recording Permits

Filming, photography and sound recording permits are considered in the order they are received. All applications must be completed in detail and returned with the permit application and non-refundable application fee. A minimum of 2-4 weeks (depending on project type and volume of requests) is required to process an application and issue a permit.

For questions please contact:

Rachel Cudmore
Commercial Film Permits Coordinator
307-344-2722 or e-mail us
Tammy Wert
Fee & Film program Manager
307-344-2115 or e-mail us
No Drones

Important Restrictions

  • If you are interested in filming in THERMAL AREAS, please note from June 1-September 15, filming will be prohibited between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. in an effort to reduce congestion in these areas.
  • Filming is prohibited at the following areas: Boiling River and from the social trails above Grand Prismatic Spring.
  • Drone use is strictly prohibited in all National Parks, including Yellowstone.

Who Needs a Permit?

  • Commercial,* non-profit, documentary, promotional, or educational films, including entertainment broadcasts and some student projects
  • Filming for stock footage REGARDLESS OF EQUIPMENT
  • Commercial still photography using models**, sets or props
  • Time-lapse photography if the final sequence will be used in a motion picture format for commercial purposes
  • Sound recording projects that require more than handheld equipment, more than one person or NPS oversight
  • Wedding/ portrait photography if final product will be used for advertisement
  • Use of large or unusual equipment, even for non-commercial purposes if activities warrant NPS oversight

*Commercial filming is defined as digital or film recording of a visual image by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience, such as for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project. Under P.L. 106-206, all commercial filming requires a permit and is subject to a location fee and cost recovery charges.
**Model means a person or object that serves as the subject for commercial filming or still photography for the purposes of promoting sales or use of a product or service. Models include but are not limited to, individuals, animals, or inanimate objects such as vehicles, boats articles of clothing, and food and beverage products.

Permits are NOT Generally Required When
  • Visitors are engaged in filming/photography intended for their personal use and enjoyment.
  • Filming for a News organization. (Contact Yellowstone Public Affairs Office 307-344-2010)

Permit Types and Fees

The application fee includes three hours of administrative time; including phone calls, correspondence, application review, and project consultation, scheduling park staff, permit issuance, follow-up and billing. Additional administrative time will be billed at a rate of $65/hour.

Production FILM or STILL PHOTOGRAPHY permit: $300
Projects with greater oversight and coordination (more complexity; often called a production permit). Commercial videographers, photographers, or cinematographers with crews of three or more, involving one or more of the following: crew larger than 2 people, interviews, NPS staff research or monitoring requests, compliance, sensitive locations, filming in wilderness areas, thermal area filming, commercial vehicles, props and additional equipment (i.e. monitors, lights, etc). May be valid for the duration of the project not to exceed 1 year.

Stock FILM footage: $250
Projects with minimal oversight and coordination (annual/ b-roll permit). Commercial videographers, photographers, or cinematographers with crews of up to two people, with no talent and minimal equipment,(i.e. camera and tripod), working in non-thermal, non-wilderness areas, that are open to the public. May be valid up to 1 year.

Student FILM or STILL PHOTOGRAPHY Permit: $200
(valid for a single production OR annual stock permit only for students with proof of current enrollment of an accredited school).

Sound Recording: $250


An addendum may be issued for the following types of filming: underwater, wilderness, thermal area filming without monitor, overnight, inside buildings, interviewing staff or increase in crew size. Please contact the Film Permit Office about these types of filming, or any other activities that are not listed here.

NPS Monitors

Yellowstone National Park staff will be required to monitor certain filming, photography and sound recording activities. Crews are responsible for paying daily location fees and for monitors as well as any staff costs associated with the project (at $65/hour). This fee will be paid before the permit is issued. Some of the activities that require a monitor include but are not limited to: filming or photography in thermal areas (filming in most backcountry thermal areas is prohibited) and when filming "talent" along the roadway or in developed areas. A monitor may not be required when filming talent out of the view of general public or >50yds away from groups of visitors. Monitors are generally required for large crews or projects with extensive equipment, or when there is potential for impacts to visitor use or resource damage.

Location Fees

Motion Pictures/Videos

Commercial Still Photography

1-10 people*


1-10 people


11-30 people


11-30 people


31-49 people


31-49 people


Over 50 people


* Location fees do not apply to crews with 1-2 people using minimal equipment. All other equipment and additional crew members will be subject to location fees.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168


(307) 344-7381
Recorded information. For road and weather information, please dial 307-344-2117.

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