Film and photography
Waterton Lakes National Park
The Mountain National Parks (Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier and Waterton Lakes national parks) boast unparalleled film, photographic and recreational possibilities. To care for these special places, all filming activities have guidelines to ensure that activities respect ecologically sensitive areas, wildlife, and the experience of all visitors.
If you wish to visit Parks Canada places and undertake a film or photo shoot, you may require a film permit, business license, or need to register your project. What you are required to do will depend on the scale and nature of your project.
Applications should be submitted a minimum of 15 business days prior to your intended dates of filming. Choose your project category below for more information.
Small projects with a travel focus
Do I need a film permit, business license, or small-scale project registration?
Your project is considered “small-scale” if it meets all of the following criteria:
- Project is intended to inform audiences about the work of Parks Canada and/or to promote visitation to Parks Canada places.
- Crew size is six people or fewer (including models, guides and other talent).
- Equipment is limited to cameras, tripods, microphones, or other hand-held equipment.
- Activities remain in areas open to the public and during normal operating hours only.
- The filming methods used and final product adheres to all laws and regulations.
- No drones/UAV are used.
If you meet all of these criteria, complete the Small-Scale Travel Media Film and Photo Project Registration form (1.03 Mb) and return the form by email to the appropriate contact below. You will receive response that confirms or denies your registration and provides next steps.
If your project does not meet the criteria of a small-scale shoot, you must apply for a film/photo permit or business license by emailing your application to the appropriate contact listed.
Parks Canada reserves the right to determine if projects are appropriate for a small-scale registration or if a commercial film permit application is required.
Tips for registering your small-scale travel media film and photo project
- We strongly recommend you register your shoot at least 15 business days in advance to avoid project delays. Please note that registering your project does not exempt it from standard visitors’ fees.
- A Guide to Film/Photo Shoots is available to assist you with conducting your film and photo activities.
- Depending on the location of your shoot, additional permission may be required from business or property owners, or the Towns of Banff or Jasper.
We look forward to working with you! Travel media are key partners in showcasing the beauty of national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas. Contact us for travel tips, best timing, and unique locations within these sites.
Film Permits –Features/shorts/series, commercial filming & marketing
Commercial filming and photography activities require a permit. These activities include feature and short films, documentaries, series, marketing (including styled photoshoots), and other projects with a commercial intent that do not qualify as a travel media small-scale registration. Parks Canada reserves the right to determine if projects are appropriate for a small-scale registration or if a commercial film permit or business license is required.
What works well
- Productions involving minimal equipment, smaller crew sizes and no impact on the environment and visitors;
- Productions contributing to public awareness, appreciation and understanding of Canada’s national parks and Parks Canada;
- Productions requesting off-season and/or weekday shooting dates.
Submit an application by email, a minimum of 15 business days prior to intended film/photography start date. Applications are assessed in relation to The Canada's National Parks Act, national park regulations and based on their contribution to awareness, appreciation and education about national parks, as well as safety considerations. If approved, a Commercial Film/Photography permit is issued.
Parks Canada reserves the right to refuse applications that are not in the best interest of the Agency’s mandate or to revoke permission at any time if the terms and conditions of the permit are violated.
Download film permit application form (docx, 350 kb)
Please complete the form with the most detail possible to help us assess your application, including specific locations, dates, and times for filming, and detailed descriptions of the project and intent. Incomplete applications may result in processing delays.
Full compliance with the Canada National Parks Act and Park Regulations is required. These include, but are not limited to:
- No open firearms, use of firearms (includes discharging of blank ammunition or explosives), or hunting;
- No damaging, destruction or removal of natural or cultural resources;
- No feeding, enticing (e.g. baiting, calling), touching, harassing, or disturbing park wildlife;
- No littering or leaving food or garbage where wildlife can access it (all food and garbage must be stored or disposed of in bear-proof containers and/or packed out);
- No off-roading anywhere in the park; no ATVs, skidoos, or jet-boats; no boats with any kind of motor in park waters (except on Lake Minnewanka);
- No fires outside of designated fire rings or stoves supplied at park campgrounds and day use areas (cigar/cigarette butts and matches are litter and must be fully extinguished and disposed of appropriately);
- No camping outside of designated campgrounds and campsites;
- No entering of closed areas
- An ACMG accredited guide is required to accompany any film crews capturing footage of backcountry, glacier travel, mountaineering and/or ski touring activities (outside of ski area leaseholds) at all times.
- All aerial filming must comply with Canadian Air Regulations; the use of recreational UAV/Drones is not allowed and requires a Restricted Activity Permit in all other circumstances – see UAV section for details.
Fees associated with Film Permits
|Production crew size||2022 Application fee (per project)||2022 Location fee (per day)|
1 to 6
7 to 15
16 to 30
31 to 99
100 and more
Other fees may be applicable.
Professional Photography & Videography (including Weddings)
Photographers capturing images and footage during their visit to the Mountain National Parks with the intent to sell, require a business licence. Activities covered within this licence must not impede park use and enjoyment by other visitors, damage cultural or natural resources, or disturb wildlife.
Business licenses apply to the following activities:
- Wedding photography and videography
- Wildlife, nature, and landscape photography
- Stock photography
- If you are hired to take, or plan to sell photos taken in the park
Please note that Parks Canada business licence service standards are 15 business days to review and process fully completed business licence applications. Please contact the appropriate Business Licensing department for additional information:
Banff area - email@example.com
Lake Louise area - firstname.lastname@example.org
Mount Revelstoke and Glacier - email@example.com
Waterton Lakes - firstname.lastname@example.org
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
UAVs (including micro-drones <250g), are highly regulated in the National Parks to protect wildlife and preserve the experience of visitors, among other considerations. Regardless of drone size, UAV use in a National Park requires both a Commercial Film Permit, and a Restricted Activity Permit.
The use of UAV’s for commercial filming purposes will only be authorized for the purposes of:
- Natural and cultural resource management
- Public safety
- Law enforcement
- Park/site management purposes, including selective filming for outreach, education and promotional purposes
Projects must fit one of the above purposes to be considered for approval at the discretion of the Field Unit Superintendent. Anyone caught operating a drone within park boundaries without an approved permit may result in law enforcement action and a fine of up to $25,000. Recreational use of drones at all Parks Canada places is prohibited.
Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay
Mount Revelstoke and Glacier
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