People walking with camera.

Commercial Filming and Photography Permits

Learn about the type of permits and other requirements needed to engage in professional, commercial and educational filming and photography at Washington State Parks.

Permit requirement

All commercial and educational filming and photography require an approved permit. Professionals must follow all Washington State Parks rules, regardless of production size.

Professional and commercial filming and photography

Professional and commercial filming and/or photography is defined as when an individual or organization films and/or takes still photographs in a state park to sell or otherwise use the imagery for economic gain. This includes, but is not limited to, online marketing, print materials (such as postcards and calendars) and promotional materials. These activities require a permit.

Professional still photography with two or less paid staff

Photography activities with no more than two paid staff require a permit. The permit is good for one year from the date of issue and valid at all State Parks. The permit excludes photography intended for advertising a product. 

Educational filming and photography

When an individual or organization films and/or takes still photography as part of a formal class for which they are receiving credit from an accredited educational institution and has no intent to sell or otherwise use the products for economic gain. Students may use Washington State Parks for educational film and photography projects. Qualified educational activities may be exempt from the permit application fees. However:

  • Additional facility use or staff impacts may be subject to additional fees.
  • All activities require an insurance binder. Qualified school insurance is acceptable. Washington State Parks must be added as an additional certificate holder.

Drone photography

Drone Permit is required if using an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for filming or photography. Use the film application to apply for drone use. Drones are considered remote-controlled aircraft. Use of drones in State Parks, whether for filming or other uses, is only allowed with prior permission. Regulations about the use of remote-controlled aircraft are guided by WAC 352-32-130 (4) and (5) and WAC 352.37.170 (3).

Apply for a permit

To apply for a filming or professional photography permit:

  • Speak to the park or parks where the activity will occur prior to submitting an application or proof of insurance using our Contact List.
  • Complete the Film Permit Application (PDF 841KB) and submit it directly to the appropriate park using our Contact List. Read more about film permit instructions (PDF).  
  • The application fee for Commercial Film/Still Photography is $100. Additional fees may be assessed for activities that have the potential to affect the park, public and environment based on agency staff review. See attached fee schedule (PDF)
  • For adequate processing time, applications must be submitted at least 60 days in advance of the proposed activity. Allowing for staff review, agency coordination and SEPA review requirements. This may be waived in extenuating circumstances. 
  • A certificate of liability insurance with Washington State Parks listed as the additional certificate holder to read as:

    Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
    PO Box 42650
    Olympia WA 98504-2650

More resources 

For more information about filming within Washington state, please visit the Washington Film Works website and contact the Governor's Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA).