The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites welcomes photographers of all types and is pleased that our locations may provide the perfect photo backdrop for individuals, families and groups. In order to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for our visitors and for your shoot, our photo policy helps ensure the success of your sessions.Contact us with questions
Types of Photography
Casual use photography is that of visitors taking candid photos with non-professional equipment. Photos are exchanged freely, and no money changes hands for this type of photographic session. For this type of photography, no permit is required, and this type of photography is welcomed and encouraged within posted guidelines, including:
No flash photography is allowed in the galleries or experiences at the Indianapolis museum, or in certain areas at the historic sites as posted.
Visitors are welcome to take photos at all locations for personal use. This can include DSLR or SLR “professional” cameras, so long as there is no additional equipment such as multiple lenses, large photography bag or a tripod. Such equipment may interfere with the experience of other visitors.
Media requests do not need to use the commercial photography request process. They will work directly with the communication team to coordinate any needs, and a staff member will accompany all media while on the property of any location.
Those renting a space at any location for an event, such as a wedding or meeting, do not need to use the commercial photography request process.
For photographers using drones, no drones may take off or land on Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites property without filling out a commercial photography request for approval.
Portrait photography is a contracted service between a photographer and an individual posing for senior, family, or individual portraits. The client pays for the services of the photographer, and the photographer uses the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites as a background, thereby constituting a commercial use of the property, which requires commercial liability insurance.
Commercial photography is a contracted service between a photographer and an advertising agency or corporate client. The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites may be used as a backdrop for a commercial venture generally to promote or advertise a personality, product or service of the corporate client. This also constitutes a commercial use of the property, which requires commercial liability insurance. Commercial photography includes videography.
Steps to request a portrait or commercial photo shoot:*
*All requests for portrait and commercial photography must be approved by communication staff at the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.
- All portrait and commercial photographers and videographers must fill out two items: (1) State Buildings and Land Use Policy, Application and Agreement, and (2) Commercial Photography Agreement. Click on the ‘Submit Request’ button below to access these forms. Applicants must also show proof of commercial liability insurance at the time the request is submitted.
- Approved portrait and commercial photography requests at the Indianapolis museum will only grant access to public areas of the museum, not to museum galleries or experiences. Requests to shoot inside the galleries will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Access to non-public areas of the state historic sites will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
- Property of the Indiana State Museum’s Indianapolis location includes exterior locations as well, including the upper terrace, gardens and mastodon statues by the canal.
- Property at the state historic sites includes the entire site property, including gardens, yards and other wider areas.
- Payment for portrait and commercial photography will be determined based on date, duration, location and staff involvement. At the time of shoot approval, a call will be set up to collect payment.
- At all locations:
- Fees begin at $50/session for portrait photography, including engagement, wedding, family or senior photography. Rates will vary based on amount of time, location and additional needs for the shoot.
- Fees begin at $150/session of commercial photography and filming, including TV commercials, interviews or using the location as a backdrop. Rates will vary based on amount of time, location and additional needs for the shoot.
- Commercial photographers and videographers can also purchase a yearly pass for $500 annually allowing unlimited sessions at all 12 locations. Requests for shoots still must be submitted via the process outlined in this document, minus fee payment. Requests are still subject to museum staff approval. To learn more or to purchase the pass, ask at the time of your request.
- All commercial photography requests must be submitted at least two (2) weeks in advance of the requested shoot date, and must include the request form, two completed contracts and the proof of insurance. Click the button below to find the request form and two contracts. A museum staff member will then be in touch to arrange payment and timing.
The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Corporation reserves the right to deny permission for commercial photography depending on staff availability, space availability, or any other reason deemed appropriate by the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Corporation.