Photography and Videography

Photography and Videography Policy at Mission San Luis Rey

The Mission San Luis Rey Photography and Videography Policy strives to balance the needs of photographers (amateur & professional) and community with the needs of the private property of the friars whose home this is, our visitors, students and retreatants.

As a working Mission, we are a spiritual and historic site and take great care to maintain an environment consistent with our spiritual beliefs and desire to preserve the Mission architecture and grounds. While we try to accommodate the needs of photographers, we reserve the right to stop anyone, for any reason, to stop photographing at the Mission.

What Is Allowed

We love the beauty of our Mission and are happy to have you commemorate your experience with photos. Here is what we allow:

Personal, individual or small group photography and videography is allowed by visitors in the front of the Mission, inside the historic church and in the museum so long as pathways aren’t restricted, other visitors aren’t disturbed and tripods and reflective materials aren’t used.

Personal Photography and videography are also allowed in our beautiful cemetery as long as it is for personal use only and does not include photographing services that you are not a part of or disturbing other parties praying or visiting in the cemetery.

What Is Restricted

To protect the privacy of our guests, maintain an atmosphere of reverence, preservation of the grounds and control over the health and safety of those at the Mission, we have put these restrictions in place:

Photography is not allowed in the private areas of the Mission which includes, but is not limited to, the inner gardens, the cloister, theology school, and retreat center.

Filming – the Mission may not be used for creating films of any type without the express written permission of the Executive Director. This includes student films.

Large group photos, shoots for engagement, weddings, proms, quinceaneras, and family gatherings require permission, permits, and often fees, whether being done by professional and/or commercial or amateur photographers (see below). Though we’d like to accommodate these requests the number of activities and groups at the Mission limits the days and slots we have available.

Drones may NOT be used in the airspace above the Mission.

No photos of the Mission may be resold or used for publication unless express, written permission has been granted by the Executive Director

What requires a permit and prior appointment

Large group, professional photography, event, and other organized photo shoots (wedding, engagement, family pictures, birthdays, etc.) require planning and coordination. We’d like to accommodate these requests but whether or not we actually can actually say YES to a specific request depends on the content, date, time, and planned activities at the Mission.

To request permission for a shoot, please contact with the Subject: Photo Shoot. Please describe the shoot including the purpose of the event, and the number of people in the photo shoot, and let us know the date and time you’d prefer. If you are flexible, let us know. That is likely to increase your chances.

Advance notice of at least a week is needed. If permission is granted, you will be asked to sign an agreement that outlines exactly where and when you have been granted access and some guidelines to follow. Once completed you will receive a permit that must be carried with you and shown to any staff member who requests to see it. In most cases, you will be charged a fee and a staff member will be present for the shoot to answer questions.

We look forward to your next visit to the Mission!