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  • 1.  Photo Permits

    Posted 07-13-2017 04:27 PM

    We currently have photo permit fees at Vizcaya for personal photo shoots, but the regulation of it has not been able to keep up with the changes in technology and we have issues enforcing when people come in with digital phone cameras.

    Please share any advice or documents you have on how to differentiate a guest from a photo session, what your challenges have been and how you are changing your policies.

    Thank you,


    Elgin Grey
    Group Tour Coordinator
    Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
    Miami FL
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  • 2.  RE: Photo Permits

    Posted 07-14-2017 08:05 AM
    The Metropolitan Museum in their great wisdom, has for many years allowed people to take image (without flash) at no charge images of any object displayed in their galleries, but not in loan exhibitions. Under international law, the rights to that image belong to the photographer, and not to the owner of the object. Furthermore, they offer high-resolution images free of charge on virtually all their collection. They do not charge for image publication rights. The purpose of museums surely is to make the object available to everybody. Of course, taking photographs does not teach the visitors about the object. The best is that they are advised draw the image themselves with a pencil on a notepad (Leonardo-style), by deep looking and drawing the viewer will certainly understand and appreciate the work of art better than looking briefly later a thousands of images. Many museum offer a QR code on the caption label, and then both a high resolution image and a full description can be taken home by visitors on their device. But this requires a very good quality free wi-fi availability throughout the museum, which is the modern way.

    The cost of administrating the collecting monies for photo taking is prohibitive and the policy to do this is old and not part of the 21st century. There are many more ways museums can make extra revenue than charging for images.

    Good luck.

    Michael Franses
    Former Director of Special Cultural Projects Qatar Museums, Retired
    Research Associate, Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin
    Research Associate, Textile Museum, Washington DC

    Home address: Villa Vespucci, Via San Felice a Ema 28, 50125 Florence, Italy
    Italy mobile: +39 348 2915821
    Italy tel: +39 055 0195597
    UK mobile: +44 7836 321461

    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more

  • 3.  RE: Photo Permits

    Posted 07-14-2017 08:44 AM

    Hi Elgin, and all,

    We have experienced similar problems at the Cummer Museum.  We have recently revised our photography policy as follows:


    Photography Policy

    To allow for the enjoyment of all visitors to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, and to help us care for our collection and historic gardens, we appreciate your adherence to the Cummer Museum Photography Policy. Visitors are encouraged to document their experiences with personal, non-commercial photography, using non-flash mobile devices (cell phones, smart phones, and tablets) and cameras throughout the Museum and gardens during normal Museum hours. 

    ·         Special exhibitions may prohibit photography. See gallery doors for details. 

    ·         Photography equipment is prohibited throughout the Museum and gardens, including but not limited to: flashes, tripods, monopods, wheeled camera bags, reflectors, selfie sticks, and drones. 

    ·         Video cameras are prohibited throughout the Museum and gardens. 

    ·         Photography sessions are allowed in the Gardens only.   

    o   Visitors involved in a photography session are asked to adhere to the following guidelines:

    ·         Paid admission or Museum membership is required.

    ·         Hand held cameras only. Any additional photography equipment is strictly prohibited.

    ·         Photography equipment such as flashes, tripods, and reflectors are allowed by permit only.

    ·         For required fees, availability, and permit applications, please contact or for an online application visit and click the Visit tab. 

    ·         Props and wardrobe changes are strictly prohibited.

    ·         Please be respectful of other visitors in the Gardens.

    ·         Do not obstruct any pathways, accessibility ramps, or disturb planting beds, hedges, or other events in the Gardens or other permitted photography. 

    ·         Photography hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Photography sessions are not permitted on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Permitted photography sessions are to be scheduled at least one week in advance.

    Our challenges were mostly during our free days, which are Tuesday evenings and every first Saturday of the month.  Guests were using the free admission to bring large groups and were a disruption to other visitors.  The other challenges we've experienced were trying to differentiate how to permit and how not to permit.  You will see above, that this is our latest attempt to allow personal photography sessions as long as they pay admission and do not use any equipment other than a hand-held camera.  If they want equipment, they must pay a permit and it is scheduled during regular museum hours.


    I hope this information is helpful.  Please don't hesitate to contact me directly for further discussion.







    Kristen Zimmerman




    829 Riverside Avenue

    Jacksonville FL 32204

    904.899.6020 direct

    904.353.4101 fax


    image001.jpg@01CF9A93.D7608250             image002.jpg@01CF9A93.D7608250         image003.jpg@01CF9A93.D7608250 

    Engaging and inspiring through the arts, gardens, and education.


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  • 4.  RE: Photo Permits

    Posted 07-14-2017 10:03 AM
    At Boscobel House and Gardens we decided to allow visitors to take digital photos with hand-held devices BUT at the determination of the docent leading a tour.  No flash.  The photography cannot hold up the tour or pose a security risk.  If it is intrusive, distractive or otherwise bothersome to others on the tour it is stopped.  We experimented with this policy and since it seemed to work, we have put it in effect, with no far.   In our historic house and the grounds we do not allow tripods, monopods, selfie-sticks or any additional photographic equipment such as lights, reflective umbrellas, recording equipment, etc.  For the most part this seems to reduce commercial photography on the premisis.  We charge fees for that and there is an application form on our website:  Boscobel · House and Gardens    The view of the Hudson River from our property is one of the most beautiful in America. We have no dificulty letting visitors photograph under the same guidelines as for our house tours.  There are two reasons for restricting photographs: we don't want a commercial photo-shoot interferring with the enjoyment of our grounds by other visitors (and we certainly don't want trip hazzards, or toher damage to occure); and we would like to secure some income when possible.  The view may be stunning but there is a cost to maintaining the grounds one stands on to see it.

    Steven Miller
    Executive Director
    Boscobel House and Gardens
    Garrison NY

    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more