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Film/Video/Still Photography Policy

Commercial and Non-Commercial Use

1. For all film, video and still photography produced on Zoo grounds for commercial purposes, a written agreement must be entered into with Riverbanks Zoo and Garden and a fee paid per the current fee schedule. The standard fee schedule for production companies is:

  • $1,000 for the first two hours
  • $350 for each subsequent two-hour block of time
  • $3,000 for an entire day

Additional fees may be applicable if public relations staff, animal keepers or facilities management personnel are required:

  • $50 per hour for technical staff
  • $75 per hour for professional staff

For all film, video and still photography produced on Zoo grounds for use by non-profit organizations for commercial or non-commercial use, the following fees apply:

  • $500 for the first two hours
  • $175 for each subsequent two-hour block of time
  • $1500 for an entire day

For complex projects, the maximum daily fee may be increased. Fees are subject to change and ultimately, decisions will be made on a case by case basis. Bigger projects may take much longer to coordinate. Payment of all fees must be made prior to shooting and if additional costs are incurred during the project, the production company or professional outlet will be billed. Before shooting can begin, production companies must provide proof of general liability insurance and workers compensation coverage. In some cases, companies may be required to name Riverbanks as an additional insured on their policies. At least six weeks advance notice is required.

2. Film, video and still photography are permitted for personal non-commercial use. It is strictly forbidden to use images taken at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden or the Zoo logo without a written agreement and payment of the required fee for commercial activities which include but are not limited to marketing, promotional, and published materials, retail merchandise and products. Anyone violating this policy will be prosecuted to the limits of the law.

3. A tripod or monopod is not permitted for film, video and still photography non-commercial use in any of the indoor buildings during posted Zoo hours. Tripods may be used outdoors as long as they do not block any walkways or interfere with visitor traffic.

4. The use of a drone is not permitted on Zoo grounds.

5. Flash photography is permitted during posted Zoo hours.

6. No power or electrical hookups will be provided by the Zoo for the purpose of film, video and still photography.

7. The safety of Zoo visitors and animals is of the utmost importance. Film, video and still photography for commercial and non-commercial use will not be permitted if it disrupts visitors’ use and enjoyment of Zoo facilities during posted public hours.

8. Film, video and still photography for commercial and non-commercial use will not be permitted if they disrupt the animals in any way. Loud noises, certain lights/equipment or sudden movements may disturb the animals. All such things must be approved in advance to ensure animal safety.

9. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden reserves the right to refuse permission for commercial or non-commercial film, video and still photography that is determined not to be in the best interests of the Zoo.

10. Commercial and non-commercial photos taken at the Zoo cannot depict the Zoo in a negative light, nor should it have any association with organizations that are inconsistent with the Zoo’s mission ‘to foster appreciation and concern for all living things.’

11. Vehicles are not allowed in the park.

12. All fees must be paid before the scheduled photography shoot. A 50% deposit is due three weeks before the scheduled photography shoot. The remaining portion is due one week before the photography shoot. All checks should be made payable to the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.

13. Commercial use of photos (for use in textbooks and other published materials) provided by Riverbanks Zoo and Garden are subject to a fee and must adhere to the guidelines set forth in this document. The standard fee in this agreement is $300 for the first photo and $100 for each additional photo in the same request. Each separate request is an additional $300.

14. Any production company requesting to shoot a commercial on Zoo or Garden grounds must first have their script approved by Riverbanks Zoo and Garden’s public relations department.

If you comply with these rules and would like to schedule a photo shoot or use existing photographs for commercial purposes or publication, follow the procedures outlined below.

Submit your request in writing at least six weeks in advance of the shoot date to the public relations manager.

Next Steps to Schedule a Shoot:

  1. Make sure to include your name, address and phone number
  2. Explain where, when, and how the photos will be used (give names of programs, publications, etc.)
  3. Indicate how many people will be coming
  4. Specify how much time is needed for the shoot
  5. Indicate any special equipment needed
  6. Explain what area of the Zoo you would like to shoot at (e.g., in the Ndoki Plaza or in front of the lion habitat)
  7. List any other details that are important to the shoot
  8. Email the information to Susan O’Cain at socain@riverbanks.org.

Next Steps to Use Existing Photos for Commercial Purposes:

  1. Submit in writing an explanation of how and where the photos will be used (give names of programs, websites, publications, etc.) to the public relations manager.
  2. Make sure to include your name, address and phone number.
  3. Email the information to Susan O’Cain at socain@riverbanks.org.
  4. Your request will be reviewed and you will be contacted within five business days. If your request is approved, a contract will be signed by the two parties and payment will be due.

Next Steps to take photos for Non-Commercial Purposes:

If your photos are for noncommercial purposes you may come to the Zoo as a regular Zoo visitor (admission costs will apply; please see website for current hours and prices at www.riverbanks.org) and take your photos provided all the following apply:

  1. Photos cannot be sold or published
  2. No tripods, electrical or monopods are allowed in any indoor buildings or are allowed to block visitor pathways
  3. The party is not permitted to stop Zoo traffic in order to take the photos
  4. The party is not permitted to disrupt Zoo visitors, staff or the animals in any way
  5. The party takes the photos during regular Zoo hours
  6. No special consideration shall be given (e.g., golf carts, security, etc)

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden reserves the right to cancel any shoot at any time if it is not in the best interest of Zoo animals, visitors or defies the mission of the Zoo.

Riverbanks frequently visits stock photography websites and other wildlife photography sources. If an animal or location is recognized as being the property of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden and the photographer did not go through the aforementioned process, Riverbanks reserves the right to contact both the photographer and the company representing the photographer to seek reparations.

Staff members reserve the right to approach photographers in the park about their work. If photographers have not sought permission to take professional photographs of the park’s animals or physical site, they will be asked to return their equipment to their vehicle before enjoying the rest of their visit at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.