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Photography

Tennessee State Parks are some of the most picturesque backdrops in the entire state. Photographers and videographers of all types and abilities enjoy capturing landscapes, plants, animals and adventures in the natural world. Tennessee State Parks support the efforts of photographers and videographers looking for ways to express themselves through visual mediums.

General Information

The following are a few things to note about photography in state parks and natural areas:

  1. Recreational/amateur photography is generally allowed.
    • We generally support the recreational, hobby, amateur photography and videography community. We understand that such efforts can enhance your experience and help capture the memories of time spent in a park. There are some caveats to this position:

      • Photographers and videographers should not violate the privacy rights of guests in rented facilities like cabins, campsites, etc.

      • Photos and videos taken in parks should not be explicit or leud.

      • Photographers and videographers should not block access or otherwise impede the enjoyment of the environment for other visitors. The use of tripods are acceptable. The utilization of detached equipment for recreational photography and/or videography (detached flash, bounce, lightboxes, etc.) is the point at which recreational efforts could impact the enjoyment of the natural environment for other visitors. Those wishing to use such equipment should speak first with the respective Park Manager.

  2. The use of drones in state parks, and state natural areas, is prohibited except in rare circumstances. Such instances require prior permission from the Park Manager and the issuance of a permit. 
    • Drone usage falls under the rules and guidance of TCA 0400-02-02-.02 addressing “Aircraft”. Park Manager approval is required for taking off and landing of drones within state parks and natural areas under this rule.

    • If a permit is issued, drone pilots should follow and adhere to all applicable FAA rules & regulations.

    • Some of the considerations park management will use when determining if a drone permit will be issued include, but are not limited to

      • The potential impact on other visitors and/or park operations

      • The  likelihood of excessive noise

      • The impact on viewsheds

      • The impact on wildlife or the natural resource

  3. Photographers and videographers utilizing state parks and natural areas for commercial services require additional permissions.
    • TCA 0400-02-06-.02 addresses Business Operations in state parks and natural areas. Photographers and videographers engaging in, or soliciting, any business in a park area fall under this rule.

      • “Commercial filming” means the film, electronic, magnetic, digital, or other recording of a moving image by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience with the intent of generating income.

    • Examples of such photographers or videographers include, but are not limited to:

      • Commercial shoots

      • Photographers or videographers hired for weddings or events in the park area

      • Paid shoots for senior pictures, weddings, engagements, children, etc.

How to gain permission:

  • At this time, photographers are encouraged to contact the manager of the respective park or natural area to discuss the necessary permissions for shooting at that location.

  • Professional productions and film companies should connect with the Tennessee Entertainment Commission to gain the necessary permissions for filming on state property.

Want to share your photos or videos with Tennessee State Parks?