Filming FAQ

Why does Stanford regulate photography and filming on campus?

Stanford places a high priority on the privacy of its students, faculty and staff and on avoiding disruptions that would detract from its teaching and research mission. To the degree that the university can accommodate film and photography requests from news and other media organizations for journalistic purposes without infringing on the privacy of its students or disrupting campus operations, it does.

Can non-Stanford organizations film or take photos on campus?

Stanford is a non-profit institution and its campus may not be used by other organizations for promotional purposes. Accordingly, commercial filming and photography related to the marketing of companies and organizations other than Stanford is prohibited on university-owned lands without prior permission from University Communications. This includes any for-profit photography or filming related to the marketing of companies and organizations other than Stanford. Such activities are incompatible with the university’s non-profit status and long-standing policies prohibiting endorsement or the appearance of endorsement.

Non-Stanford organizations may only film or take photos on university property in accordance with university policy.

News organizations may film on university property, with permission.

If I am an alum, can I have my wedding/portrait photographs taken on campus?

Stanford alumni, students and staff members are allowed to take wedding and portrait photos on campus, as long as they have requested and received permission in advance.
Wedding or portrait photographs can only be taken on weekends. University policy prohibits wedding and portrait photography in the Main Quadrangle, Memorial Court and The Oval, unless the wedding has taken place in Memorial Church.
Wedding/portrait photography is only allowed in the following locations on the Stanford campus:

  • History Corner (Bldg. 200), which is located on the outer perimeter of the Main Quad at the intersection of Serra Mall and Lasuen Mall (across from the Stanford Art Gallery).
  • In the courtyard, immediately behind Bldg. 200 (directly across from the Traitel Building).
  • White Plaza, (the area between the Stanford Bookstore and the Old Union Complex).

Other than wedding ceremonies held in Memorial Church, the university prohibits photography of large groups of individuals (more than six).

Why do film crews and photographers need insurance?

The university is self-insured. Any vendor doing business on campus, including professional filmmakers and photographers, must carry appropriate insurance and be prepared to provide the university with a certificate of liability insurance.

Why are tourists treated differently than professional film crews and photographers?

The university allows limited photography and filming for non-commercial, personal use, providing it does not disrupt or impede the normal, ongoing operations of the university, or infringe on the privacy of students, faculty and staff.

Is drone filming allowed on campus?

Only under limited circumstances and only with permission from the University in advance, and in accordance with its policies. Tourists may not deploy drones for personal photography, due to the safety hazards unmanned flying vehicles (UFVs) create. In addition, non-Stanford entities are prohibited from flying UFVs.

Stanford has specific policies regarding the use of drones within or above university property.

Does the university ever allow movies to be filmed on campus?

The university will consider requests for limited filming on campus by motion picture films or television, but because of year-round campus activity, approvals are very limited. Contact University Communications at (650) 725-8396 or brandmanager@stanford.edu.

Will the university reserve parking spaces for film crews and professional photographers on campus?

The reservation of parking spaces is avoided whenever possible. Instead, filmmakers and photographers conducting short-term visits to campus are encouraged to purchase “A” parking passes through the Office of Parking and Transportation. Although the passes do not guarantee parking spaces, they greatly extend the number of potential parking spaces. Filmmakers and photographers should be aware, however, that parking is a tremendous challenge on the Stanford campus for every visitor.

Can Stanford students take photographs and do filming in the Main Quadrangle and on the Oval for class projects?

Yes, but they should request permission in advance from University Communications to distinguish themselves from those whose activities are prohibited. Community service officers often patrol the Main Quadrangle and Oval areas. Students carrying documents indicating prior permission make their jobs easier.

Last updated: January 29, 2018