The Arboretum is a popular, much-loved landscape for photographers. Photography for personal noncommercial use is allowed without a permit.

Posed photography

Photographers taking posed or formal pictures (e.g., engagement, wedding, senior year, family) must obtain a permit and carry it while at the Arboretum.

You may purchase a one-session permit for $30. This is ideal for a one-time photo shoot of an individual or families. You must have a permit for each session with each client.

You may purchase an annual permit for $300 per year. The annual permit allows multiple sessions for one year starting from the permit purchase date. This is ideal for professional photographers and others who regularly use the Arboretum as a photo shoot location. Please contact us for conditions before purchasing an annual permit.


  • Mini shoots are not permitted.
  • Photographers and clients must stay on trails or lawn areas at all times. No walking into garden beds, climbing rock walls, climbing trees, or going off trail.
  • Pets are not allowed anywhere at the Arboretum.
  • Photographers must stay with their props at all times.
  • No trampling, picking, or collecting flowers, leaves, or boughs. No disturbing animals.
  • Vehicles must be parked in designated parking spaces. Lock your vehicle for security reasons.
  • All photographers and clients must follow visitor etiquette.

Please note:

  • Arboretum staff, rangers, and stewards will check your permit
  • Areas cannot be reserved, and photography does not take priority over other visitor activities. Visitors are free to use any area at any time.
  • You may not use props that are otherwise not allowed at the Arboretum—for example, no pets or sports equipment. Allowable props may only be placed on lawns and trails. Props may not be left unattended.
  • The Arboretum may not issue permits for certain dates when photography sessions would interfere with scheduled events.

If you fail to follow our policies you risk losing your photography privileges at the Arboretum and forfeiting the permit fee.

Commercial photography

Stock and commercial photography requires advance arrangements. Projects involving commercial or stock photography (such as photos taken for publications, catalog shoots, commercials, professional videos, and the like) should contact Tricia Dickinson, (608) 265-9005, at University Communications and Marketing to review campus commercial use policies and location agreements. She will work with the Arboretum to set guidelines for your project.