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 taken during already approved and paid for weddings is not subject to any additional fees. Contract

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

Commercial Photography:


Commercial photographers are required to pay a fee of $300.00 (plus 6% tax) cash or check for an annual (January-December) photography permit.  Alternatively, a one-session photography permit may be purchased for $25.00 (plus 6% tax) cash or check.  Permits are available in the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center, weekdays 8:30a– 4:00p.  Photographers must carry permits at all times. 


Photographers must schedule photographs at The Arboretum.  This is to ensure that there is no conflict with planned events or 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 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
2. ALL photographers are asked to sign in at the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center if arriving during regular business hours.
3. 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.
4. All furniture and container plantings may be used only in their existing locations. They are NOT to be moved.
5. 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.
6. Photographers choosing the $25.00 per session option are asked to submit payment at least 24 hours prior to the date of the scheduled session. Checks may be mailed or delivered to the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center. They must be clearly designated as payment for photo session and the scheduled date referenced. In some instances, with prior permission, payment may be made the day of the session.
7. 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.
8. The terms of this contract are one calendar year from date of approval unless noted otherwise.

Photo Policy and Contract

The Arboretum