People walking with camera.

Filming, photography & drone permits

Required for commercial filming and professional still photography in Washington State Parks.

Filming and photography permits

Washington State Parks offers iconic landscapes and stunning backdrops for film and photography. Within the State's 124 beautiful parks, lies diverse natural settings, unique architectural structures and historic sites, making these locations highly desirable for filming and photography projects.

Permits are required for commercial filming, professional still photography and educational filming/photography.  Permits are for the day of the event and specific park only.

Apply for a permit

To apply for a filming or professional photography permit, complete the Film Permit Application (PDF) and submit it to the appropriate park using the Contact List.  More details are available on the film permit instructions (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. 

The application fee for Commercial Film/Still Photography is $100*.

Submit a certificate of liability insurance with Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission listed as the additional certificate holder to:

Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission

PO Box 42650

Olympia WA 98504-2650

*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).

What is professional and commercial photography? 

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 not limited to, online marketing, print, such as postcards and calendars and promotional materials. 

Commercial filming

Commercial filming has the potential to impact park resources and visitors. Film productions that use substantial equipment and crews and need to film in closed areas can create conflicts with other visitors.

All professionals, no matter the size of production, must comply with all Washington State Parks rules. 

Use of drones

An additional drone permit is required if using unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for filming or photography, use the same 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).

Professional still photography with two or less paid staff

For still photography activities that include no more than two paid staff, the application fee entitles the applicant to an annual permit from the date of issue for the park specified in the application. This excludes photography with the intent of advertising a product.

All professionals, no matter the size of production, must comply with all Washington State Parks rules. 

Educational filming and photography

Students are encouraged to use Washington State Parks for educational film and photography projects.  Qualified educational activities are exempt from the application fee*.

However, an insurance binder is required for all activities; qualified school insurance is acceptable.  Add Washington State Parks and recreation Commission as an additional certificate holder.  Submit insurance to the same address listed above.

Additional facility use or staff impacts may be subject to additional fees.

What is educational use?

When an individual or organization wants to film and/or take 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.

More resources 

Film and photography permits are submitted directly to the park where the activities will occur.  Applicants should speak with park staff before applying and submitting insurance proof. 

Contact List

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