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Photography & Filmmaking

Eastern State Penitentiary may be the most picturesque place you’ve seen in years. We encourage you to bring a camera when visiting the historic site. There are two ways for visitors to photograph and film at Eastern State Penitentiary.


Non-Commercial / Personal Photography

Visitors wishing to photograph the building only (no props or models) can do so during regular public hours. However, we ask that you honor the following policies:

  • Do not block any pathways or exhibits, or leave backpacks or tripods in these areas.
  • Refrain from loud conversations, and avoid gathering along the main audio tour route.
  • Do not touch or move any objects or artifacts.
  • Models (professional or amateur), costumes and props are not permitted during public hours.
  • There can be no nudity, semi-nudity, or sexually explicit images filmed at Eastern State Penitentiary.
  • No portrait photography is permitted during public hours. Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site defines portraiture as any posed photography of an individual or group taken by a professional, amateur, or student photographer. This includes but is not limited to wedding photography, engagement photography, headshots, band photos and family portraits.
  • No videography is allowed during the public hours.
  • No equipment, other than a single tripod, monopod or easel, is permitted during public hours.

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site requires the location credit "Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Philadelphia, PA" in all uses of penitentiary photos in print, on the web, in broadcast, and in any other public medium.

In addition to the general admission fee, non-members must purchase an “equipment pass” if they wish to use a tripod, monopod, or easel. Equipment passes are $10 per person and are valid for an entire tour season.


Private Photo or Film Shoots

Any photographer or filmmaker (professional, amateur, or student), ad agency, or other commercial entity wishing to photograph or film models or conduct photo/film shoots that require equipment aside from a single tripod, monopod or easel are required to make reservations two weeks in advance. This includes engagement and wedding photography.

Our daytime historic tours are always our first priority. Therefore, all private film/photo shoots must take place before or after our daytime public hours (10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily).

If a photographer who has scheduled a private shoot wants to come early or stay late to photograph the building during normal business hours, he/she is welcome to do so at no additional charge. Please note, however, that models and props are not permitted during this time. And although the admission fee is waived, photographers must purchase an equipment pass if they wish to use tripods, monopods, or easels between the hours of 10:00 am and 5:00 pm.

We recommended that photographers scout the site before their shoot to determine which spaces they would like use. After making a reservation for a private shoot, the group leader will receive one complimentary pass to scout the site during public hours.



Supporting, Sustaining, and Sponsor Members receive a 20% discount on all photo and film shoots.

To request a shoot, please fill out the Film and Photo Rental Agreement Form and submit via email to [email protected].

We will respond to all private photo and film requests via phone or email within 3 business days. Full payment is due at the time of confirmation. Shoots may be booked up to 6 months in advance, based on availability, and cannot take place during scheduled Eastern State events, private group tours, or corporate event rentals. Reservations are first come, first served.

We do not accept phone reservations for photo and film shoots at this time.

* Larger shoots (16 or more people) and commercial daytime production shoots are available starting at $3,000. Please email [email protected] for more information.

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner