Photographs are a wonderful way to remember your visit to The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky.  We encourage visitors to take casual photographs for their own personal use.  The following guidelines are intended for all visitors, but a permit is necessary for all commercial landscape and portrait photography, including wedding, family, engagement, graduation, prom, senior photos, and so forth.  Photography Contract  and Policy

If you are interested in Videography at The Arboretum, please click here.

General Photography Guidelines:

  • Please stay on pathways and mowed lawn areas at all times
  • Please do not block any pathways or garden areas
  • Do not disturb plants, plant labels or containers
  • Do not hang backpacks or equipment from trees
  • Do not place equipment in planted beds
  • Please remember that parties who have booked private events have exclusive rights to their reserved area
  • Photography sessions must not disrupt Arboretum work

** Various areas of The Arboretum are currently under construction including the Home Demonstration Garden and The Arboretum Woods**

Commercial Photography:


Commercial photographers are required to pay a fee of $318 ($300+6% tax) cash or check for an annual (January-December) photography permit.  Alternatively, a single 1-hour session photography permit may be purchased for $26.50 ($25+6% tax) cash or check.  A contract and payment form are available on the Forms tab of this website. Please mail your payment to our office (500 Alumni Drive, Lexington, KY 40503) and indicate your preferred time for your session. If time is short for scheduling your session call our office (859-257-6955) to ensure the date and time that you want is available. You may also pay in person during Visitor Center hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 


Photographers must schedule photography sessions at The Arboretum to ensure there are no conflicts with planned events or other reservations.  Photographers are permitted to take photos in the evenings and on weekends per request and upon approval by The Arboretum.  Professional photography is NOT allowed in the Kentucky Children's Garden. 


The Arboretum is not responsible for any personal or property damage or loss during the photographer’s visit to The Arboretum.

Photo Credit

The Arboretum requires the location credit “The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, Lexington, KY” in all uses of The Arboretum in print, on the web, in broadcast, or in any other public medium.

Terms and Conditions

1. ALL use of the garden and grounds of The Arboretum must be scheduled in advance by calling
859-257-6955 (Tuesday-Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)  Tell us your name or your photographer's name, the date and the time that you want to reserve, and your phone number. 

2. You may mail payment (check ONLY) or come to the Visitor Center (cash, check, Visa or MasterCard accepted) Tuesday-Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm. 

3. Do not use our restrooms as a changing area as we have limited restrooms. 

4. For print advertisements, video to be used in commercials, images to be used for re-sale purposes, or other uses with a large distribution/circulation, prior approval is required. Please call 859-257-6955 to discuss project and approval. Photo credit required.

5. All furniture and container plantings may be used only in their existing locations. They MAY NOT to be moved.

6. There is no limousine parking allowed in the drop-off circle. Drivers may drop off riders in the circle, but must park in the paved lot.

7. Photographers choosing the single 1-hour session option must submit payment at least 24 hours in advance of the date of the scheduled session. Checks may be mailed to the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center, University of Kentucky, 500 Alumni Drive, Lexington, KY 40503. Payment must be clearly designated as payment for a photo session and the scheduled date referenced. In some instances, with prior permission, payment may be made the day of the session.

8. Any on-site photography deemed inappropriate by Arboretum staff will not be allowed. No photography is allowed which will block gates/entrances to any part of the gardens or Visitor Center.

9. The terms of this contract are one calendar year from date of approval unless noted otherwise.

The Arboretum