filming & photography


filming & photography

We invite you to see the Garden through your lens.
The Garden is an incredible site for photography and videography, offering varied landscapes, diverse flora and sweeping views of the San Gabriel Mountains. Whether you're taking family portraits or staging a film scene, require cultivated gardens or wild backdrops, California Botanic Garden has the perfect spot. Please see below for conditions and pricing.

guidelines for photographers

professional/PORTRAIT photography

  • This category includes photographers and their clients who are using the Garden for professional shoots that may include weddings, portraits, engagements and other events.
  • The group limit for this category is six people, including the photographer. Groups larger than six are categorized in Commercial Photography.
  • The fee for a professional/portrait photography session is $15 per group member, including the photographer for a 2-hour reservation.
  • You must notify the Facilities Rentals Office at least one week in advance by emailing and arranging your photography or filming session. Requests for still photography, film or videotaping must state the location within the Garden for the proposed session, the number of people expected, and requested date and time of the session.
  • The $15 charge per group member should be purchased before you arrive at the Garden.
  • The entire party must be present to enter the Garden for photography at your appointed time. Clients must arrive camera-ready, no clothing changes are allowed.
  • When the group is ready to enter, present the receipt for your photography group tickets to the Admissions Kiosk staff and leave an ID in exchange for a Photography Passport
  • No more than one bag/cart of equipment and props may be brought into the Garden (props are subject to approval, see policies below).
  • If you exceed your 2-hour reservation, you may be charged additional fees.
  • All members of the group must adhere to the policies outlined in the section below; the photographer will be held accountable for any damage to the Garden by the actions of any person in the group.

commercial photography

Commercial use refers to any photography for public distribution and/or sale. It includes but is not limited to: advertising agencies, public relations firms, marketing groups, corporate communications offices, commercial photographers, and other professional groups shooting photography for use in display advertising, television and electronic commercials, feature films, brochures, product literature, annual reports, collateral publications, training videos, other industrial/promotions or advertising projects.

The Garden is available only during normal operation hours. All participants must exit the Garden by closing. Arrangements can be made for a session to begin before opening hours or after the Garden closes. Specific venues are subject to availability. High use areas, as determined by the Facility Rentals Office & Visitor Services Department, will be available for photo sessions only if such use does not interfere with normal public access and Garden safety rules. Any special arrangements must be made and approved two weeks in advance by the Facilities Rentals Office.

The photographer shall provide a certificate of insurance at least five business days before the scheduled shoot. The certificate shall name California Botanic Garden as an additional insured for the duration of use of the Garden facilities, and shall include broad form property damage and personal injury coverage with a combined single limit of not less than $500,000 per occurrence. Such insurance shall be primary to, and not contributing with, any other insurance maintained by the Garden. Photographer agrees to indemnify, defend and save harmless California Botanic Garden, its agents, officers and employees from and against any and all liability, expense, including defense costs and legal fees, and claims for damages of any nature whatsoever, including but not limited to, bodily injury, death, personal injury or property damage arising from, or in connection with, the photoshoot or services performed on behalf of photographer or any person pursuant to this agreement. Photographer further agrees to hold California Botanic Garden harmless from any workers’ compensation suits, liability or expense arising from or in connection with the photo shoot or services performed on behalf of photographer or any person pursuant to this agreement. One day insurance certificates are available for purchase through the Garden's insurance broker if you do not have your own.

Students photographing in the Garden for school projects must provide current proof of enrollment.

The photographer must agree in writing to these policies at least five working days prior to the date of the intended photo shoot. Upon receipt of a signed agreement, together with proof of insurance and student status (if applicable) as required herein, a photo passport will be issued in the name of the client/photographer. Upon arrival at the Garden, the photographer must check in at the Admissions Kiosk at the main parking lot and present the passport.

The passport must be in possession of the photographer while on Garden premises. Violation of the terms of this agreement may result in cancellation of the photo passport, in which case fees will not be refunded. Particularly egregious violations may result in the denial of future photography privileges.

In the event of rain, the photographer may choose to reschedule or cancel the shoot. In the event of cancellation due to weather, all fees will be refunded.
In its sole discretion, CalBG reserves the right to cancel any photoshoot reservation in case of emergency or Garden operational situation, as determined by the Facilities Rentals Office. In such case, all fees will be refunded.

California Botanic Garden reserves the right to refuse permission to any photographer or artist.

Fee schedule for commercial still photography or filming sessions involving: 1-10 people (including photographer) $500/day11-20 people (including photographer) $1,500/day: 21-30 people (including photographer) $2,500/day: 30+ people (including photographer)Any hours that a photoshoot occurs outside of normal Garden hours incurs an additional $250/hour. For example, if a photoshoot runs from 8 am until 7 pm, an additional $500 would be billed. A photoshoot may be scheduled to occur on multiple days, successive or otherwise. In this case, Photographer need not complete a separate Agreement for each day. Location fees applicable to professional filming or video taping for commercial use are subject to negotiation and approval by the executive director or designee. Rooms may be available as "green rooms", rented per the Garden's Facilities Rentals fees and policies.

Personal vehicles are not allowed on Garden grounds beyond the parking lot. All photography rentals come with tram service at the beginning of the shoot, driving crew to first location and tram service at the end of the shoot, driving crew to the Garden exit. Tram service throughout the shoot may be scheduled at a rate of $100 per hour. Tram service is subject to availability and must be arranged at least one week in advance.

Courtesy discounts available to members, volunteers, trustees, overseers, staff, CalBG botany students, and others as determined by Garden Executive Director or designee.

general photography and filming policies


California Botanic Garden is not responsible for lost, mislaid, or stolen property. CalBG reserves the right to allow photography, filming and videotaping on a case-by-case basis and under such terms and conditions as determined at the sole discretion of the Garden Executive Director or designee.


Obstruction of Garden paths and intrusion on exhibits is strictly prohibited. Keep roadways clear to allow other visitors and vehicles to pass through. No photographer, artist or equipment will be allowed in plant beds at any time.


Admission fees will be waived for photographers or artists who visit the Garden to scout the premises for an upcoming photo session.

press passes

Admission fees will be waived for photographers and reporters (magazine/newspapers) who visit the Garden for the purpose of providing free publicity to California Botanic Garden.


Vehicles are not allowed beyond the Garden’s parking lot. Trams and/or carts, driven by Garden staff, can be reserved for additional fees.


The Facilities Rentals Office must approve any props intended for use in the photo shoot. Certain items, such as balloons and fireworks, are not allowed for any reason.


Excessive noise or other objectionable behavior that hinders other visitors’ enjoyment of the Garden is prohibited.

dressing rooms

Dressing rooms are not available at the Garden. Professional photography clients must arrive camera-ready and no clothing changes are allowed. Commercial photography clients must make arrangements prior to the photo shoot.


The Garden reserves the right to monitor part or all of a photo shoot to ensure compliance with these policies.


Smoking is not allowed in the Garden under any circumstances. Recreational consumption of alcohol associated with the photo shoot is prohibited.

prohibited photography

All photography session activities shall be appropriate and free from obscene content. Nude photography or its near equivalent is prohibited.


Drones are not allowed.


The Garden will not accept deliveries or be responsible for any personal property belonging to photographer or photographer’s client(s). If equipment delivery, set-up, tear-down or pickup is necessary for the photo shoot, the desired area must be rented under provisions of the Garden’s private event policies. Due to the number of persons involved or the duration of the photo shoot, the photographer may desire the services of a caterer. If this is the case, a separate private event agreement covering the caterer’s activities is required. The private event policies and fee schedules will be provided upon request


Avoid damage to plants and disruption of other visitors and Garden activities during the photoshoot.  Do not collect, move, damage or deface plant life, sculptures, or wildlife. Climbing trees or buildings and wading in the water features is not permitted. Hanging bags or props on trees or buildings is prohibited. Pets are not allowed inside the Garden - see FAQ for rules on Service Animals.


All aspects of a photo shoot must occur on areas intended for foot traffic. No person may walk, pose or set up photography equipment except on such areas pre-approved by the Facilities Rentals and accompanied by Garden staff. Unsupervised climbing of trees and walking into shrubbery or plant communities is forbidden. It is the sole discretion of the Facilities Rentals to approve or deny special access to Garden areas other than designated pathways. No plant may be removed or permanently modified in any manner under any circumstances. Tieback of foliage may be requested and, if permissible, accomplished only by Garden personnel. Under no circumstances is photographer authorized to make this determination.

contact us

(909) 625-8767, ext. 226