Photography jobs

The MDC will require permits for commercial photography in conservation areas

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Photographers will soon need permits for commercial or for-profit photography/videography in Missouri conservation areas. The Missouri Wildlife Code Amendment takes effect July 1, 2021.

The Missouri Conservation Commission gave final approval to the Department of Conservation to make the change.

What does this change mean? The professional photographer you hire to take your photos in any conservation area in Missouri will have to pay an annual permit fee of $100. Professional videographers will require a commercial videography permit for any commercial videography in the departments with an associated fee of $500 per day.

Historically, the MDC has restricted professional or for-profit photography and filming on conservation areas. According to the MDC, the new regulations follow requests from photographers and videographers to allow commercial photography and videography in conservation areas.

commercial use

The MDC defines commercial use as any activity that directly or indirectly results in financial gain, or where money is exchanged as part of the activity. News agencies, amateur photographers and videographers, or those taking personal photos or videos will not need permits.

Photography and filming on MDC zones for non-commercial purposes has been and remains permitted on MDC zones without the need for a commercial use permit.


Professional photographers and videographers can apply for the MDC Commercial Use Permit at

The MDC will require a Commercial Photography Permit for commercial photographers on areas of the department with an associated fee of $100 per year (expires June 30 each year). They will also need a commercial videography permit for any commercial videography in MDC areas with an associated fee of $500 per day.

Commercial photographers will also need to apply for a Special Use Permit free of charge in certain situations (allow 30 days for processing):

  • Special accommodations requested (activities normally prohibited in conservation areas, such as after-hours access, vehicles on non-public roads, etc.);
  • Use of an unmanned aerial system (UAS) or drone;
  • Use of props (larger than an average person could carry);
  • When more than ten people are involved;
  • On MDC areas associated with nature and education centers, staffed ranges, offices and on the following departmental areas:
    • Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area
    • August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area
    • James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area
    • Rockwoods Reserve

For more information on commercial photography and videography permits, visit

More details

Other county, state, and federal land management agencies allow commercial photography and filming on their areas through the use of commercial permits with associated fees. MDC staff looked at other agencies in and out of state to determine a pricing structure.

The Missouri Conservation Commission originally approved the regulations in September 2020. Following the Commission’s initial approval, the draft regulations were submitted by the MDC to the Office of the Secretary of State for a 30-day public comment period in October 2020. Following a review of comments received, the Commission gave final approval to the proposed settlement in December 2020. The settlement comes into effect on July 1.