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Springfield-Greene County Park Board News

Posted on: July 23, 2014

Park Board implements new photo policy



The Springfield-Greene County Park Board has implemented a new photography policy outlining how photographers and videographers may operate in public parks.

The new policy is designed to preserve public enjoyment of parks by addressing issues specific to photography and videography, including the permitting process for professional and commercial photographers operating in public parks.

The policy includes two sections. The first applies to all photographers, with basic rules designed to protect parks from unintended damage during photo shoots, like standing in flowerbeds and hanging equipment from trees. The second section outlines the procedure for commercial and professional photographers to obtain Photo Passes.

The Park Board now offers a $25 Daily Photo Pass and a $150 Annual Photo Pass for commercial and professional photographers and videographers, defined as businesses, companies, employees or individuals producing photographs and/or video for profit in parks. While the passes are now available for purchase, the Park Board is granting a four-week educational period before enforcement of passes begins August 15.

Amateur and student photographers and videographers working without profit, as well as media photographers and videographers working for purposes of journalism, are not required to obtain a Photo Pass.

“Photo passes are only required for professionals who are shooting clients’ photos or video in parks,” Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Park Board. “You don’t need a photo pass if you’re just out with your friends or family taking snapshots. But everyone – professionals and amateurs – needs to follow the rules.”

The new policy replaces the Park Board’s $25 photographers hourly sitting fee which had been in place since 2001. For many years, the sitting fee was enforced on a complaint basis only, and its existence actually remained unknown to many photographers. In 2013, social media brought the fee to the attention of the professional photography community. Several photographers contacted the Park Board requesting clarification of the fee and policy, as well as availability of an annual photography pass, allowing them to operate in all parks without making daily arrangements.

“The old sitting fee needed to be updated to reflect the wider variety of photography and videography taking place in parks today,” said Edwards. “We hope the new policy answers most photographers’ questions about what’s allowed and not allowed in parks.”

Professional and commercial photographers must obtain and display a Photo Pass while working in parks. Daily passes are issued as stickers and include the day’s date. Annual passes are issued with a lanyard. Photo Passes are available at the Park Board’s Administration Building, 1923 N. Weller Ave. 417-864-1049; the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., 417-891-1515; and Mediacom Ice Park, 635 E. Trafficway, 417-866-7444.

The Park Board approved the updated Photo Passes fee structure Jan. 10 as part of the Park Board’s Fees and Charges portion of the FY 2014-2015 budget, which went into effect July 1. In addition to considering direct and indirect costs, the Park Board also reviewed a regional market study of photography fees at other public park departments, botanical gardens and historical sites, showing $25/day or $150/year to be comparable to or considerably lower than photography fees utilized throughout the region.

The policy enables photographers to operate under provisions of the Missouri Constitution, Article VI, Sections 23 and 25, which prohibits cities and other political subdivisions from granting public property to any private individual except for public benefit; and Springfield City Code Chap. 82-1(1)w, which prohibits solicitation of business, selling or offering to sell goods, merchandise or services in public parks without the written permission of the Park Board or the Director of Parks.

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Call Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-874-2943 or 417-224-5510, for media inquiries only.

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