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Episode 68: Acquiring National Park Photography & Videography Permits 101

Episode 68: Acquiring National Park Photography & Videography Permits 101


In today's episode, I am sharing my thoughts with you as business owners and really educate you on what permits you need inside National Parks as a lawyer who works with countless photographers and videographers on matters just like this one.  

Things we talk about:

  • An incident that happened between them and a very well known YouTube couple, Kara and Nate!
  • I am going over both Kara and Nate's side as well as the National Park Services side as well
  • The Legal Paiges TIPS for when it come to shooting any kind of footage in a national park.
  • What my good friend from Adventure Instead Maddie Mae suggest you do before shooting any kind of content in any park.
  • The difference between commercial and non-commercial filming.  

Here are a few quotes:

"I really think this is an important educational moment… why you may ask… because yes photographers and most definitely adventure elopement photographers will know exactly what permits you need.  But guess what, some people may not know the specific rules and that’s ok.  I really want to stress that it's ok if you didn’t know you needed a permit to take photos in a National Park.  That’s exactly why I am here to educate you on laws like this."

"The rules are SUPER subjective. And, lets be honest, they don’t have the people power or monetary power to monitor and regulate everyone’s happenings. I’m positive that many businesses are operating in the park shooting photos or videos that will generate income for their businesses without a permit. You have to decide what type of risk you are willing to take. Also, if you truly care about the parks and the rules. Obviously, I would suggest the latter! Figure out the permitting, pay the parks the fee, and operate legally!"

Obviously, the talk in the photog and video community is “should there be an NPS standard and a guidebook on exactly what you need?” Interestingly enough, I had a gal slide into my DMs last week who is now a photographer but used to work for the NPS as a management consultant for CUAs when she was interning for her masters program. She mentioned that there is truly no “perfect” solution since every park operates differently because each park is VERY different. If there were some uniform rules, some parks would be trampled by public use and others would be way overrestricted. She said that as a photographer, she can see how the laws are somewhat antiquated and need to be amended, but that the park system employees that she worked with were wonderful people doing the best they could with slow, inefficient, underfunded, and understaffed gov’t system."

We have an updated Youtube video regarding commercial filming and permits inside national parks. Watch the full video here!

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