Photographs are a wonderful way to remember your visit to Olbrich Botanical Gardens. We encourage visitors to take casual photographs and videos of their visit for their own personal use, including for social media.

The Photography Guidelines outlined here are intended for all guests, but a Photo Permit is required for those who wish to use the Gardens as the background for formal, posed photography - including wedding, family, engagement, graduation, maternity, prom, senior photos or the like. The permit is required regardless of whether the photographer is a family member, friend, or professional.

2023 Prom Photos

Prom photos are handled a bit differently than other photo sessions due to the large volume. For prom photos only, you do not need to register in advance or submit a photo permit application with the usual fee. Instead, a fee of $5 per couple (or any 2 people) plus a $3 fee for the extra person in an odd-numbered group must be paid by cash only at the door upon arrival. Adults and any other family members accompanying do not need to pay the fee. Please note that photos can be taken outdoors only and groups must follow the general guidelines below - anyone not following the rules will be asked to leave. If there is bad weather on the day you're taking photos, we do not have an indoor area available for you.

The outdoor gardens close at 6 p.m. daily. Available photo times are from 3 - 6 pm on the following dates: April 15 & 29, May 6, 13, & 20. April 22 is available from 4 - 6 pm only due to a wedding scheduled that day. Feel free to contact Rental Coordinator Patti Jorenby at 608-246-4733 with any questions. Have a great prom!

General Photography Guidelines

Olbrich is Madison's public garden - help ensure it remains available for all to enjoy by adhering to these guidelines.

  • Wedding ceremonies can only be performed during a rental. An approved photo permit does not give you permission to get married here.
  • Permit is for photographer and two (2) other people. We may be able to make exceptions for larger groups on weekdays when Gardens are not as busy.
  • Submit form and fee at least one week in advance by mail or in-person.
  • There may be more than one approved photo permit at any given time.
  • Props, furniture, luggage, etc. are not permitted.
  • No smoking or alcoholic beverages.
  • No drones allowed onsite (indoor or outdoor)
  • Remain on the pathways and grassy turf at all times. Do not stand on fountain or pool borders. Do not stand in fountains or pools.
  • Do not disturb or remove plants, plant labels or containers.
  • Do not block access to the entrance, pathways, or garden areas for use by others.
  • To keep pathways in the Conservatory accessible and safe for all, camera tripods are not allowed in the Conservatory. Monopods are allowed. (Photo Permit is not valid in Conservatory, applies to outdoor gardens only.)
  • Tripods are not allowed during GLEAM hours.
  • Photography at Olbrich Botanical Gardens cannot be used to imply endorsement by Olbrich Botanical Gardens.
  • Guests should come dressed and prepared for their photo session. There are no changing areas available and public restrooms are not to be used to change clothes. You may inquire about availability of a room rental if a changing area is needed.

Formal, Posed Photography

Definition: Posed photography includes wedding, family, engagement, maternity, graduation, prom, senior photos or the like. A Photo Permit is required regardless of who the photographer is or what type of camera or phone is being used.

Location: Posed photographs may be taken in the outdoor gardens only with an approved Photo Permit. The Foyer, Bolz Conservatory or other interior areas of the Botanical Center are not available for use as photography sites.

Fees: A $40 ($37.91 plus tax) fee will be assessed for each one-hour session; the fee is payable by cash or check only - no credit cards accepted.

Mail or deliver in-person the completed application form with payment to:

Rental Coordinator
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave
Madison, WI 53704

There are NO REFUNDS for the cancellation of a photography session at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. In the event of rain, you may reschedule your session.

Scheduling: Your posed photography session will be scheduled around those that have rented the Gardens as the site for their wedding or other special occasion. In all cases, the photography session must be scheduled a minimum of one week in advance and begin and end within the allotted time. In the event of rain, you may reschedule your session. Either the subject or the photographer may make the reservation. General Photography Guidelines apply.

Failure to comply with the General Photography Guidelines will result in the loss of user privileges.

Press Photography

Photographers taking photographs which will be used for media purposes to promote Olbrich Botanical Gardens (for instance in travel publications or the like) will not be assessed a fee. Arrangements must be made in advance by contacting Katy Nodolf, PR & Marketing Manager.

Stock Photography

Photos taken as stock photography for publications, greeting cards, calendars, resume development or the like full under this category. Photographers in this category are asked to pay a one-time, lifetime fee of $50 + tax. Arrangements must be made in advance.

Commercial Photography/Filming

Catalog shoots, product commercials, films for distribution (large or small), professional videos and the like must be approved by the Superintendent of Parks or their designee. Full details of the project must be submitted in writing in advance of the project - we recommend at least two weeks for staff to review project details. The Superintendent of Parks or their designee reserves the right to refuse any project. Fees are charged for Commercial Photography/Filming.

Please submit full project details to:

Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave
Madison, WI 53704

Still Photography Rates:
Full Day - $300
Half Day - $150

Film/Video Rates:
Full Day - $600
Half Day - $350

For all Promotional, Stock and Commercial Photography - General Photography Guidelines apply. Location approval and tripod approval required.