Filming & Photography Guidelines


The National Park Service conserves and protects areas of untold beauty, grandeur and historical importance for current and future generations. The tradition of capturing images of these special places started with explorers who traveled with paint and canvas or primitive cameras. Sharing these images helped inspire the creation of national parks. Today, visitors to national parks continue to memorialize their visits through filming and photography.

Effective October 28, 2022, the National Park Service rescinded interim guidance that was in place during litigation regarding commercial filming and has returned to longstanding laws and regulations governing commercial filming in parks.

When is a permit needed for commercial filming?

Under federal law, all commercial filming that occurs within a unit of the National Park System requires a permit.

What is considered commercial filming?

"Commercial filming" means the film, electronic, magnetic, digital, or other recording of a moving image by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience with the intent of generating income. Examples include, but are not limited to, feature film, videography, and documentaries. Commercial filming may include the advertisement of a product or service, or the use of actors, models, sets, or props.

Does commercial filming by individuals or small groups require a permit?

Federal law requires a permit for all commercial filming, no matter the size of the crew or the type of equipment. This includes individuals or small groups that don't use much equipment, but generate revenue by posting footage on websites, such as YouTube and TikTok. The primary focus of the NPS, however, is on commercial filming that has the potential to impact park resources and visitors beyond what occurs from normal visitor use of park areas. Examples of this type of filming are productions that use substantial equipment such as sets and lighting, productions with crews that exceed 5 people, and filming in closed areas, wilderness areas, or in locations that would create conflicts with other visitors or harm sensitive resources.

All filmers, no matter the size, must comply with all rules that apply in park areas, just like other visitors.

When is a permit needed for still photography?

In most cases, still photography does not require a permit. A permit is required for still photography only when:
  1. the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or
  2. the activity uses model(s), set(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the locations natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or
  3. the National Park Service would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.
A "model" means a person or object that serves as the subject for still photography for the purpose of promoting the sale 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. Portrait subjects, such as wedding parties and high school graduates, are not considered models.

How do I apply for a permit?

To apply for a permit, please complete a Capitol Reef National Park filming application form and submit it to the Filming Permits Coordinator (form and contact information below) allowing sufficient time for evaluation by the park staff before the start date of the proposed activity to be conducted in the park. Please remember to enclose a check or money order for $100.00 to cover non-refundable application costs.

Applications are handled in the order they are received. Simple requests can be processed in two weeks. Requests that involve multiple locations, complex logistics, or coordination with other NPS divisions or visitor activities will require a minimum of four weeks to process. A minimum of four weeks is also required to process permits for projects that need additional environmental compliance. Requests will be evaluated on the basis of the information in the application. Therefore you are encouraged to attach maps, diagrams, script pages or storyboards to assist the park staff in evaluating your request.

You may download the application or request it in person, by phone (435-425-4126), fax (435-425-3026), e-mail, or letter. Completed applications must be returned to the park with payment. There is a $150 non-refundable permit cost. Money orders or checks should be payable to "National Park Service."

Emailed applications are preferred. Please email completed applications to:

Alternatively, completed applications for filming within Capitol Reef National Park can be mailed to:

Filming Permits Coordinator
Capitol Reef National Park
HC 70 Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775

If using FedEx or UPS, use this address:

52 Headquarters Drive instead of the HC 70 Box 15.

Applications Forms and Contact

Filming and Still Photography Permit Application (Short Form)
Filming and Still Photography Permit Application (Long Form)

For questions please contact the Capitol Reef National Park Filming Coordinator via email or call (435) 425-4121.

What fees will I have to pay for a permit?

Federal law requires the National Park Service to recover its administrative costs for commercial filming and still photography activities that require a permit. Cost recovery includes a $100 application fee and any additional charges to cover the costs incurred by the National Park Service in monitoring the permitted activities. The application fee is non-refundable and must be submitted with your application. The permit fee for filming and still photography is $150.00.

In addition, Federal law also requires the National Park Service to collect a location fee that provides a fair return to the United States for the use of park lands for commercial filming and for still photography that requires a permit. The National Park Service uses the following fees schedules for filming and photography:

Commercial Filming

1-2 people, camera & tripod only - $0/day
1-10 people - $150/day
11-30 people - $250/day
31-49 people - $500/day
Over 50 people - $750/day

Still Photography

1-10 people - $50/day
11-30 people - $150/day
Over 30 people - $250/day

Depending on complexity of the application, additional cost recovery may apply for monitoring costs. Permits issued for non-commercial filming may be subject to cost recovery charges, including an application fee, but a separate location fee will not be charged.

What terms and conditions will the permits have?

Filming and photography permits will contain terms and conditions that are necessary to protect park resources and visitors. They will specify the location and time of the activity and the number of personnel and equipment that may be used. The permits also may require you to obtain liability insurance naming the United States as additionally insured in an amount commensurate with the risk posed to park resources by your proposed activity. You also may be required to post a bond to ensure the payment of all charges and fees and the restoration of the area if necessary.

What about photography workshops?

If you are planning a photography workshop as part of a business, you may need a commercial use authorization. See the commercial use authorization page for more information.

Last updated: March 14, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

HC 70, Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775


Recorded park information available 24 hours a day. Phones are answered when staff is available. If no one answers, please leave a message, your call will be returned. Questions may also be sent to

Contact Us