Filming and photography: more information

All you need to know about filming and photography licences.

We've provided more detail on licences for filming and photography in NSW national parks and divided it into different topic areas. Select a heading below to find out more about that topic. 

The benefits of screen production in Australia

Australian screen content is a powerful driver of tourism. Films and photographs strengthen Australia’s brand and provide compelling portraits of the country as a destination.

Screen production not only contributes towards boosting tourism in the state, but it raises awareness of NSW national parks environmental and conservation issues and promotes the appreciation of the natural and cultural environment.

Locations available to film

NSW national parks and reserves offers a diverse range of natural wonders from World Heritage-listed sites to beautiful beaches, subtropical rainforests to Australia's highest mountain in the alps. These protected areas play a critical role in conserving biodiversity, as well as our natural and cultural heritage. The diversity of these natural and cultural environments provide endless opportunity for filmmakers and photographers to New South Wales

You can find a list of parks and search by region on the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website.

Some parks, or locations within a park, may not be available for filming or photography if specifically prohibited by the park’s plan of management or would have unacceptable impacts to the natural and cultural environment.

Personal photos or film footage

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) encourages visitors to the park to photograph or film their experience for personal use. If you intend to use the image for commercial purposes, then you are required to get our permission.

Permission for commercial filming or photography

All commercial requests to photograph or film within a NSW national park or reserve must gain written approval from NPWS in advance by completing the application.

Permission for wedding photography

All commercial filming and photography, including wedding filming and photography, requires approval from NPWS. You can complete the small-scale filming and photography application. However, if you are also using a drone to capture wedding images then you will need to complete the commercial filming and photography application.

Permission for amateur/semi-professional photographer who supplies to online stock photo libraries

If you upload your photographs of a NSW national park or reserve to a stock library for the purpose of sale to a third party, this is considered a commercial use.

Permission to take photos and/or film on land adjacent to a NSW national park

You don't need permission from NPWS if not filming in a national park, but you are required to get approval from all landholders where your filming is being undertaken across different land tenures.

Please check the NPWS map to determine if your filming is on park.

Permission when you decide to sell images or film footage from a NSW national park after your visit

You must request approval from NPWS before any photographs or film are sold for commercial purposes by completing the small-scale filming and photography application.

Fees for student making a student production

If your application is deemed a commercial filming and photography application then you are required to pay the application fee. However, if you can undertake your production under the small-scale filming definition you will not be required to pay an application fee.

Permission for family portrait photography

All commercial filming and photography, including family portrait photography, requires approval from NPWS. You can get approval by completing the small-scale filming and photography application.

Permission for social media influencer to take photos or film

Approval is required if you wish to take any photos or film on park where there is a commercial gain, including for the promotion of oneself, a product or topic. Please refer to the criteria for different types of NPWS commercial filming and photography applications available to determine which application you will need to complete before approval is provided.

Different types of NPWS commercial filming and photography applications

There are 3 types of filming applications, including:

  • small-scale filming and photography application
  • commercial filming and photography
  • travel and lifestyle filming and photography application.

Criteria considered for the different applications:


Small-scale filming and photography

Commercial filming and photography

Travel and lifestyle


1 x camera operator

1 x assistant







Equipment and/or structure use

No structures

1 x handheld or tripod camera with sound recorder

Use of structures and/or equipment

Use of structures and/or equipment

Exclusive use available








Application Small-scale filming & photography application Commercial filming and photography Travel and lifestyle filming and photography
  • Commercial small-scale stills photography
  • Wedding filming or photography
  • Speculative work
  • Location Scouting
  • Professional family portraits
  • Private events
  • Specific projects or shows such as production films, television network productions, documentaries, educational films, government-sponsored filming
  • Commercial advertising
  • Images for magazines, postcards, commercial websites, promotional material, books and advertisements
  • Models/talent
  • Filming or photography projects specifically related to a travel or lifestyle program that provides significant benefit to NPWS through promotion of parks
  • Programs where the feature story is focusing on the park being filmed
  • Examples could include Tourism Australia, Destination NSW (DNSW) and local council promotions and travel programs, such as Sydney Weekender
Application fees No Yes Waived

Approval of filming application takes at least 7 days

The time required to process a filming or photography application depends on the complexity of the filming application and the availability of staff. NPWS local area staff need sufficient time to appropriately assess an application once received to ensure all environmental impacts of the filming have been considered and that the filming activity does not compromise park values, visitor amenity or cultural values.

Responses to applications may be further delayed in exceptional circumstances, such as when incidents (for instance, fighting bushfires) are taking up staff time.

Restrictions when filming Aboriginal places or culture

If your filming or photography activity intends to film Aboriginal cultural sites, Aboriginal people or aspects of Aboriginal culture, you must consult with the relevant Aboriginal custodians to seek endorsement of the filming before it begins. A letter of support must be provided at the time the application is submitted to NPWS.

Permission for commercial filming or photography on leased land within a national park

For filming on leased land for purposes not directly related to a lease, approval must be obtained from NPWS. The rights and interests of the lessee will be recognised in assessing any such filming application. If the application is to be approved, the lessee may seek to impose conditions or fees additional to those imposed by NPWS.

Filming or photography project includes locations off park

If you are seeking to film in national parks and other locations off park, you are required to get approval from all landholders. It is your responsibility to obtain approval for any locations off park.

Public liability insurance is a requirement for approval

Applicants must have public liability insurance with a minimum of $10 million to obtain approval to film or photograph in national parks and reserves. Your public liability insurance certificate of currency must name the department as an interested party. Please refer to the Apply to film and take photographs in national parks webpage for more information.

Naming the department as an interested party on your public liability insurance

A condition of all approvals requires you to indemnify the Minister for Environment and Heritage, the Secretary of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and the Crown in right of New South Wales should any loss, damage or injury occur while you’re filming or photographing in a NSW national park.

Dates/location/time of photography and filming must be submitted with your application

NPWS local area staff need to assess your application against other projects, events, operational activities, etc. that may be occurring on your nominated date and location. Your application cannot progress without a clear location, date and time.

Submitting your application does not guarantee approval

You are required to get written approval with an agreement from NPWS before any commercial filming or photography is undertaken on park.

In some circumstances approval will not be given for a particular filming or photography activity or location. This may be due to commercial filming not being permitted under the park's Plan of Management, park closures, other events scheduled, park operational activities that may be impacted by the activity, activities that compromise the parks values, visitor amenity, and/or environmental and cultural values.

NPWS will advise you as soon as possible if your application is not approved and why.

Filming or photography in a park that is currently closed

NPWS does not permit any type of filming or photography in a NSW national park or reserve that is currently closed to the public.

A full list of the park closures and alerts across NSW is available at alerts for NSW National Parks.

If you are unsure if a particular area of a park is closed and it isn’t listed on the alerts page, please contact the Commercial Partnerships Unit for additional information at or (02) 9585 6082.

NPWS registers all filming and photography approvals and makes them publicly available

The NPWS public register of filming approvals is listed on the this website. The public register provides basic details about NPWS filming approvals, including name, area, the purpose of filming/photography and information of the conditions under which the approval was granted.

Fees for commercial filming or photography activities

There is a fee schedule for all commercial filming and photography applications.

Commercial filming fees

The fee schedule sets out the fees that apply to commercial filming (except for commercial small-scale filming, where no filming-related fees apply). Fees include:

  • a non-refundable application fee to cover staff time spent processing the application (this fee will be higher if a Review of Environmental Factors is required)
  • possible fees for assessing more complex applications
  • possible supervision fees to cover staff time as necessary (see paragraphs 78-79 of the policy)
  • possible charges for special requirements such as the hire of venues or equipment, meetings with NPWS staff and site inspections.

Venue fees for photography or filming in a national park venue

Venue hire fees must be paid for any commercial filming or photography undertaken in a NSW national park venue. You will still be required to pay your application fee and any other additional fees. You can find a list of venues on the NPWS Venues for hire webpage.

Payment of fees

Application fees are payable when your application is made. Other fees are payable at the time filming starts.

Reduction in fees if my filming or photography is for a short time

There is no direct association between the length of filming and the cost of the application fee. The application fee is based on the amount of time it takes NPWS to assess an application and is not determined based on the length of filming or photography undertaken on park.

Approval to fly a drone in a national park

Approval is required to launch, land or operate a drone within a park for recreational and commercial purposes, as drones can interfere with or cause a nuisance to people or animals. The Drones in parks policy provides detailed information on using drones and how to apply for approval for recreational purposes only.

Commercial use of drones in NSW national parks requires separate approval and is subject to the Filming and photography policy as well as the Drones in parks policy.

Flying drones not allowed in some national parks

There are drone exclusion areas which include a park, or parts of a park, where commercial and recreational drones cannot be launched, landed or operated because their impact on visitors, park management operations, wildlife or other sensitive natural or cultural values would be too high. Refer to the Drones in parks policy for more information.

Filming or photography after hours

Filming or photography on park can take place after hours where National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) supervision can be provided and access is available. Filming after hours may require special conditions to be incorporated into the approval. If required, you will be liable to pay supervision fees as outlined in the policy.

Exclusive use of the area you want to film or photograph

You may request exclusive use of an area within a park in your application and your request will be assessed accordingly. This may also include requesting visitors to the park to move away from the filming location or that parts of a park be closed to the public.

Should exclusive use of an area (such as a picnic area or venue) be requested, where the area is available to members of the public to book, exclusive use may be permitted. You must pay the appropriate hire fees and any supervision fees required.

Number of vehicles that can come on park

One vehicle is granted free entry for the duration of your filming activity. All other approved vehicles under the approval are required to pay the relevant park entry fees upon entering a fee-charging park.

Changing the nature of the site

You must include in your application all information about how you intend to present the location.

Depending on the location, some alterations to the site may be permitted, provided the site is returned to the original state once your filming is complete. Failure to return the site to its original state will result in loss of all or part of your environmental bond.

Dogs onto park for filming activity

You cannot bring a pet into a national park or other land reserved or acquired under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act), except in some circumstances. Please refer to the Pets in parks policy for more information.

Use national parks staff/logo/uniforms/image

You are required to get prior written consent from NPWS for the publication or use of any NPWS logo (or its image), uniforms or insignia, and for NPWS employees to appear in any film or photograph.

Identifiable NPWS equipment, uniforms or insignia must not be portrayed in commercial advertising in any way that would imply endorsement of the product.

NPWS employees, while on duty or in uniform, may not be employed by you on a commercial basis.

Refund for cancellation of filming or photography plans in park

Your application fee is non-refundable. Any fees associated with pre-application on-site meetings are also payable.

Rescheduling of filming or significant change to proposal

Where possible, you should nominate your contingency days as part of the assessment process and notify NPWS of the rescheduled date agreed upon by both parties. Any reasonable cost incurred by NPWS may be recovered from you (e.g. casual staff contracted for the period and an inability to change these arrangements).

Additional fees may apply where your proposal changes significantly during the assessment process after approval has been granted.

Further information on photography or filming in national parks

National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) has a number of resources and information available to you about filming and photography in NSW national parks, including:

Contact for commercial filming and photography in national parks

If you have any general questions about commercial filming and photography, please contact:

Commercial Partnerships Unit
Visitor Engagement and Revenue Branch
Phone: (02) 9585 6082