Rules and conditions for photographing Models In National parks

Having just applied to National Parks for a small scale filming and photography permit they have the hide to tell me I must apply and pay $120 If I use a model {which they define as Talent.} Here is NP’s response. I will be working with Arts Freedom Australia as will my friend Malcolm Katon to effect a change in this policy. Photography is my hobby and to do it in National parks it seems I must pay or lie.

Hi David,

Thank you for your email regarding your photographic activities in NSW National Parks.

You have described your photography activities as a ‘hobby’, rather than commercial. Under the Department’s Filming and Photography Policy, amateur filming and photography is that in which the principal intent of the activity is the pursuit of personal or hobby interests and not commercial gain – approval from NPWS is not required for amateur filming.

Under the same policy commercial filming means any filming or photography ‘for sale, hire or profit’ (as per Part 2 of the NP&W Regulation) and extends to images for magazines, postcards, commercial websites, promotional material, books and advertisements. It is up to the individual to decide whether they require approval from NPWS based on these definitions for work they are undertaking. We would argue that the principal intent of individuals who advertise their services on talent websites (e.g. and offer images for sale; by way of prints, calendars etc is financial gain, in addition to any personal or hobby interests.

As you are aware, there are two main ways in which we licence commercial stills photography in parks. One is the Annual Registration for ‘small scale’ photography; the other is the standard filming and photography application which is required for activities that are not deemed to be ‘small scale’. The distinction arises from the nature of the activity including the equipment to be used (for small scale it must be ‘backpackable’) and whether or not talent is used.

Any person who appears in an image is considered talent. The term ‘professional talent’, however, refers to the use of an individual who is either part of the modelling, acting, dancing, hair and makeup styling or similar professions that require the use of photographs, or is seeking employment in these same fields (and so is being photographed or having photographs taken as a means of pursuing employment in one of these professions).

Shoots using professional talent are not covered under the Annual Registration and you will need to apply for a filming permit each time using the following form:

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  • SunseekerPix
    SunseekerPixover 3 years ago

    They don’t charge a professional chef for using their BBQs, they don’t charge a professional painter for setting up an easel, they don’t charge an arborist for identifying the trees in the forest, or a geologist for examining the rocks – it is discrimination based on what can only be called – ‘what they can get away with’.

  • Angela King-Jones
    Angela King-Jonesover 3 years ago

    it’s called making a buc or two… they do this here but I have never applied. when bringing families in I say its snap shots.. I dont bring all the gear like you two do so I can get away with it … they are hounds I say,, LOL good luck D

  • Peter Hill
    Peter Hillover 3 years ago

    I am not seeing any problem here.

    Photography is my hobby and to do it in National parks it seems I must pay or lie.

    I’m sorry but that is not correct. The NWPS stated in their first paragraph that you do not need a permit if you are undertaking photographic activities as a hobby.

    Regulation 21(1)(d) of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Regulations 2009 clearly states that a person must not take any photograph in a park for “sale, hire, or profit”. This is the NWPS interpretation of the heading “Commercial activities” for reg 21. Reg 21(2) then makes an exception for photography by consent, ie with a permit.

    Even if you were required to obtain a permit, you should still be able to come within the terms of the Annual Registration for “commercial small-scale stills photography”, and I think you have the model versus talent issue the wrong way around. There is no fee whatsoever for Annual Registration. Again, the recognition is by the NPWS that is unreasonable to charge a fee for small-scale commercial photography and it defines that term as including the use of one backpack , single tripod, one assistant and no usage of “professional talent”.

    It is thus contradictory to argue that you are engaging in a hobby yet have to pay $120. As it is clear from the NWPS guidelines: 1. If hobby, then no permit needed. 2. If commercial, then free rego is possible if small scale and no professional talent. 3. If commercial and professional talent, then the $120 fee applies. You are still at first base, not third.

    Tasmania is the only state or territory in Australia that does not charge a fee for stills photography. NSW is the only state or territory which has this no-fee policy for small-scale commercial photography.

    ALL the other states and territories, especially Victoria, have real problems in treating a serious amateur shooter with a tripod and backpack as anything BUT a commercial activity, which is simply not right. THAT’s the issue as far as I am concerned, and one I’ve been researching for several months.

    Bottom-line: In NSW if you say you are a hobbyist then that is it. There is no permit or money required to be paid.

    Btw, the $120 is the fee they charge for assessing your application and your impact on the environment. The greater the impact, eg with a film crew, the higher the fee, which can end up being a five figure amount.

    Here are some links to NWPS source documents:

    1. Filming and photography permits – “Doing Business with us” page under “About Us”
    1. Applying for permission
    1. Filming and photography policy
    1. Filming Approval Act (This piece of nasty legislation was introduced in 2004 after the environmental debacle precipitated by approval being given for the movie “Stealth” to be filmed in a sensitive area.)
    1. On-line small scale photography registration
  • MarcW
    MarcWover 2 years ago

    So sorry … can you delete my comment please … it was an instant reactionion to what I see constantly as unethical infringement of personal liverties…..

  • delete what comment mate???? (wink) :)

    – SunseekerPix