Taking Photos at BBG
Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s 52 acres of world-class indoor and outdoor gardens and iconic architecture, conveniently sited in the heart of Brooklyn, make it a desirable location for photography and film projects.
These policies apply to all individuals taking still or moving images on the grounds of Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The Garden maintains the right to adjust these policies in specific instances.
Follow all instructions given by Garden personnel. Photographers must move if asked by any staff and may be asked to restrict activities to certain places or times.
Avoid damage to collections and disruption to visitors and Garden activities. Photographers, models, and equipment are restricted from Garden collections and planting areas and may not block or interfere with normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
Allowed Equipment: Unless specifically allowed on your permit, tripods, body mounts, and selfie sticks may not be used in the conservatories or on subgarden paths and are not allowed during public festivals, including Sakura Matsuri and Chile Pepper Festival.
Access: Unless specified on your permit, the Garden and photo location will be open to the public during your session. Clients/models must arrive camera-ready as there are no dressing room facilities. Clients/models are not allowed to change in BBG restrooms or public spaces. Exceptions are for large, prearranged commercial/editorial shoots upon payment of applicable fees.
Liability: The Garden assumes no responsibility for personal injury or loss, theft, or damage to equipment or other property.
All photographers, videographers, and their parties must follow all rules of the Garden, including but not limited to the following:
- Do not touch or move plant life.
- Do not step on the plants or plant beds.
- Do not climb trees.
- Do not hang any objects, including props, lighting, clothing, or bags from trees, other plants, architectural features, or any other parts of BBG property.
- Do not place anything in plant beds or soil. Nothing may be staked into the ground, including photography equipment, props, or signs.
- Do not enter or place anything in bodies of water.
- Do not move Garden property, including plants, planters, trash cans, or signs.
- No smoking.
- No food or drink allowed except in designated areas.
- Animals (except service animals) and plants may not be brought into the Garden.
- No amplified sound or sound from musical instruments.
- No drones.
- No entry allowed in areas designated as restricted.
- Photographs of Brooklyn Botanic Garden cannot be used in a manner that implies BBG endorsement of any product, enterprise, or opinions expressed with such photographs.
No permit is necessary for visitors taking personal-use, nonprofessional photography with consumer cameras or cell phones during public hours. Equipment is limited to one camera and one tripod, body mount, or selfie stick; lighting, reflectors, and props are not allowed.
Permits are required at least five business days in advance, and fees commensurate with the demands placed on the Garden by the shoot will be charged for the following:
- Portrait and group photography taken by professional photographers and videographers (including weddings, family groups, or headshots).
- Students shooting noncommercial photography and film projects. Students must submit scans of valid student IDs and a letter of support from a professor regarding the project. Large student projects may also be asked to provide a certificate of insurance from the school.
- Commercial or editorial photography and filming must receive a shooting permit and property release from BBG’s Communications office. Commercial photography and filming includes but is not limited to film or television, advertising, product merchandising, marketing, portfolio, educational or published material, or any purpose for which the photographer is paid for the use of the image.
Individuals selling or intending to sell their images, photography services, or products or services being photographed at the Garden for promotional purposes, now or in the future, must receive a permit, follow the rules for commercial photography and filming, and pay all applicable fees. Without approval and execution of a Photography Property Release, it is illegal to sell or use for promotional purposes images taken of the Garden.
For press photography of the Garden for editorial coverage primarily related to BBG, please contact >[email protected].
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A permit is required for all portrait and group photography taken by professional photographers and videographers (including weddings, family groups, or headshots). Allow at least five business days in advance of the shoot.
Commercial or Editorial Photography and Filming
Brooklyn Botanic Garden has been used as location for numerous film, television, and print projects, both large and small. The Garden includes nearly 30 subgardens, including expansive lawns and formal flower gardens, woodlands and naturalistic settings, indoor conservatories, and traditional and modern architecture.
Commercial or editorial photography and filming must receive a shooting permit and property release from BBG’s Communications office. Commercial photography and filming includes but is not limited to film or television, advertising, product merchandising, marketing, portfolio, educational or published material, or any purpose for which the photographer is paid for the use of the image. Editorial photography includes images created in or of the Garden that the photographer intends to use for editorial coverage explicitly and primarily about Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Permits are required at least five business days in advance, and fees commensurate with the demands placed on the Garden by the shoot will be charged.
- Hours of Availability: BBG public hours (see bbg.org/visit). Access on evenings, weekends, or Mondays is by request and upon approval. Because horticulture work in the Garden is a year-round necessity and because the Garden hosts many events, dates available for commercial shooting may be limited. The Garden reserves the right to deny any photo or film shoot requests at any time.
- Shooting Location(s): Specific locations must be preapproved with written consent. A scout prior to shooting is required at least five business days in advance to review and receive approval for schedule. Changes to the confirmed schedule are subject to approval and possible additional fees.
- Equipment: The Garden does not provide any equipment. Vehicle access will be determined on a case-by-case basis; no vehicle over nine feet tall is allowed into the Garden. Vehicles may be used only on Garden paths and require escort by BBG staff. If transportation is needed within the Garden, the Garden’s tram, driven by Garden personnel, may be available to rent. All trash from production must be removed from the premises upon conclusion of shoot; trash may not be left on the sidewalks outside the Garden.
- Accessibility: Please call ahead for information regarding accessibility. All photographers, crew, and clients/models must arrive at the 1000 Washington Avenue staff entrance and register with security on the day of the photo shoot.
- Liability: The Garden disclaims responsibility for any personal or property damage or loss during the photographer’s visit to the Garden. Photographer and/or user group shall be responsible for any damage to the Garden’s indoor facilities or outdoor premises caused by the photographer or user group, as applicable.
- Insurance: A Certificate of Insurance indicating general liability coverage with specific limits as follows must be submitted prior to commencement of photography operations: $2,000,000 general aggregate, $2,000,000 products-comp/op. aggregate, $1,000,000 personal and advertising injury, $1,000,000 each occurrence, and $100,000 fire damage.
- Fees: Permit fees, which are used to support the care and preservation of the Garden grounds, apply to all professional or commercial photography or video taken at the Garden. Fees may include a location fee, applicable admission fees, security guard fees, administrative support fees, and additional shoot-specific fees based on type and length of the shoot, number of people involved, equipment used, and demands placed on the Garden.
- Payment: Reservations and fee payment should be made in advance of the shoot. A nonrefundable 50% deposit or a bonded check may be required to hold the reservation.
- Photo Credit: The Garden requires the location credit “Shot on location at Brooklyn Botanic Garden” in all uses of Garden photos in print, on the web, in broadcast, and in any other public medium.
- Use of BBG Trademarks and Logos: The use of the Garden’s trademarks and/or logos is expressly prohibited without the Garden’s prior written consent.
Student Photography and Filming
In general, individual students may register to take photographs in all public areas of the Garden, provided they follow BBG's guidelines. Larger student projects, including all student film projects, those with groups of five or more, those using more than one camera, or those using any lighting, reflectors, props, or other equipment should apply as a commercial/editorial project.
- Students must register and receive written approval at least five business days in advance of the shoot.
- Fees commensurate with the demands placed on the Garden by the shoot will incur.
- Students must submit scans of valid student IDs and a letter of support from a professor regarding the project.
- Large student projects may also be asked to provide a certificate of insurance from the school.
- Models must arrive camera ready, as there are no dressing room facilities. Changing and hair and makeup application is not permitted in BBG restrooms or public spaces.
- Groups must follow all guidelines and restrictions for photography and film projects.