Park Board Implements New Photo Policy

Jul 24, 2014

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board has implemented a new photography policy outlining how photographers and videographers may operate in public parks. KSMU’s Taylor Vance has the story.

The policy is designed to help preserve the parks and help reduce potential damages that can occur from photography sessions.

It includes two sections. The first applies to all photographers to protect the beauty of the parks by not standing in flowering beds or climbing trees. The second section outlines the new procedure of commercial and professional photographers to purchase a photo pass.

Nathanael Greene Botanical Center is a popular photo spot in Springfield.
Credit KSMY/Taylor Vance

Commercial and professional photographers are now required to purchase a $25 daily pass or $150 annual pass. The Park Board plans to have an educational period until August 15th, when they will start enforcing the passes.

The new policy will replace the Parks Board’s $25 photographer’s hourly sitting fee.

Jenny Fillmer Edwards is the public information administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board.

“It had been on the books since 2001 as a fee but there was not policy that was attached describing what is applied to or what a sitting fee even was, whether it was an hourly or daily fee. It was brought to the Park Board’s attention by the photography community about a year ago because it was hard to understand what the sitting fee was and who it applied to,” said Edwards.

While the rules about not picking flowers or standing in flower beds are directed to all photographers, the passes are required for just those working commercially and professionally.

“The passes are only for professional and commercial photographers that are trying to gain a profit, it is not required if you are a amateur photographer or  if you are just out with  friends taking pictures of each other at the park; then you are not required to purchase a photo pass,” said Edwards.

“I think it would be fine if used to improve the parks or maintain the parks,” said Mink, an amateur photographer.

That’s amateur photographer Michael Mink. Other park-goers like Mariah Stark think the fee could be discouraging.

“I don’t know if I would pay a fee to come to a park and have someone take my pictures, I mean the park is free to the public so why pay a fee to come and have someone take your pictures if you’re already paying them to take your pictures?” said Stark.

The Park Board’s Edwards says that while photography is an exception to the rule that you can’t conduct private business in a public facility, the practice is regulated. She notes that there are many businesses that are not allowed in parks at all  “because that compromises the public experience.”

The Park Board encourages people that believe this policy could pertain to them or their business to visit to learn more about the policy.