JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation is thinking about getting rid of permits and fees for commercial photographers in conservation areas after hearing complaints from the public.

Since 2020, photographers and videographers have been required to purchase a permit to shoot in areas managed by the MDC if their activities result—directly or indirectly—in financial gain or profit. Previously, such activities were prohibited at conservation areas and the like.

The photography permit cost $100 per year, while the video permit carried a $500 fee per day.

The MDC says it received “considerable public feedback” that the permit costs and fees were too much for “hobby” photographers and videographers.

This past December, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved the MDC’s proposal to eliminate the permits and fees. However, the regulation changes would still require Special Use Permits from the MDC under the following circumstances:

  • Access during closed hours or to portions of the area closed to public use;
  • Use of an unmanned aerial system (UAS) or drone;
  • Use of props, sets, or equipment that are more than a single person can carry; or
  • More than 10 people will be participating in the activity over the course of the day.

The public will be able to leave feedback online about these proposed changes from Feb. 2 to March 3 at

On March 14, the commission will hold a public meeting to give final consideration to the proposal. If approved, the new regulations would take effect on July 1.

(Correction: This story has been updated with the removal of state parks from the copy. The proposed regulation applies to conservation areas managed by the MDC. We regret the error.)