Filming and Photography
Photography for personal enjoyment is encouraged at the Mission. Visitors are allowed to take informal vacation-style snapshots and nature and architecture photos. Still photography is permitted for private, noncommercial use only. Photographs may not be published, sold, reproduced, transferred, distributed, or used commercially in any manner. The use of flash photography is permitted unless otherwise stated.
Mission San Juan Capistrano reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to withhold and/or withdraw permission to photograph on its premises or to reproduce photographs of objects in its Collections. Policies have been outlined to provide further information on how to gain necessary approvals for various photography needs.
New! Photography Packages for You and Your Photographer
Wedding Package (includes both videography and photography) – We Do Not Provide a Photographer
Duration: 2 Hours
Guest(s): 1-10 Cost: $300 (Photography members to receive $25 discount)
Guests: 11-24 guests Cost: $500 (Photography member and non-member price)
Guests: 25 Cost: $600 (Photography member and non-member price)
* For guest count over 25, please contact the Group Bookings Department at (949) 234-1306
Engagement and Pre-Wedding Package (includes both videography and photography) – We Do Not Provide a Photographer
• Duration: 1.5 Hours
• Guest(s): 2
• Cost: $200 (non-member) $175 (Photography member)
Quinceanera Package (includes both photography and videography) – We Do Not Provide a Photographer
• Duration: 2 Hours
• Guest(s): 1-10
• Cost: $300 (Photography members to receive $25 discount)
Portrait Package (photography only) – We Do Not Provide a Photographer
Engagement • Maternity • Family • Headshots • Quinceanera • Graduation • Etc.
• Duration: 1 Hour
• Guest(s): 1-5 (or every 5)
• Cost: $80 (non-member) $50 (Photography member)
Are you in need of a photographer? Book your session with a Mission Preservation Society Photography Member! View list of current Photography Members.
The “guest count” is referring to the guests to be photographed (not the photographers/videographers/assistants.) Clothing changes are permitted under the Wedding, Engagement and Pre-Wedding, and Quinceanera Packages or when 2 hours are booked under the Portrait Package.
All payments are non-refundable, however, we would be happy to reschedule a photography reservation without penalty should the photographer or client not be able to arrive as scheduled, even the day of the shoot.
See What Visitors are Saying…
“Beautiful grounds and stunning location for engagement and wedding portraits. I was able to reserve a weekday to take engagement photos last summer. It was conveniently closed to the public on the day we did our shoot. Meghann from the mission was wonderful to communicate with when we were figuring out dates and times of our reservations. Don’t let the hourly rate for the photography permit deter you. It is SO worth it and you get to support a historical chapel and landmark. Win!” – Margarita G.
High School Formal Dance
Formal dances can be some of the most enchanting events that you get to attend. Capture the magic of your special night with historic Mission San Juan Capistrano as your backdrop. Please wear appropriate clothing for Mission grounds. Clothes that are revealing or inappropriate are not permitted on church property.
– Formal Dance Photos are allowed without an appointment between the hours of 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
– $5.00 per person, including parents and dates. Photos must be taken on the same day as the formal dance to be eligible for this highly discounted rate.
– Formal Dance photo groups that come in before 4:00 p.m. are subject to a rate of general admission; this includes parents not appearing in the photo shoot. (It is recommended that shoots prior to 4:00 p.m. also be scheduled through the Group Bookings Department by calling (949) 234-1306.)
– It must be apparent that everyone in the group is intending to participate in either the taking of the photos or in being photographed.
– Members of the Mission Preservation Society do not receive any formal dance photo shoot discounts or benefits associated with their membership.
– Photos may only be taken at the bell wall and Central Courtyard. Photos in the Sacred Garden, Great Stone Church, Serra Chapel, standing on fountain, or sitting in windows are not permitted.
– A badge will be given to the group leader and depending on group size, and a Guest Services staff member may accompany the group. Groups or shoot leaders are asked to return their photo badge and check out when ready to leave.
Reservations are required at least one week in advance. However, due to limited, timed slots, we can book up in advance and we recommend booking more than one week out. The Mission limits photo sessions to 4 per hour and treats all session reservations for the specific time reserved.
A regular photography session is one hour and allows for five (5) people photographed. Additional fees apply for reservations for larger groups or more than one hour. Reservations are for specific time slots. Late arrivals forfeit their slot time and their payment. Rescheduling of reservations must be done at least 2 working days in advance.
Walk up photo sessions are prohibited unless photography members in the Mission Preservation Society and meet all criteria in place. Member walk ups will be charged the higher rates and are subject to availability regardless of membership status.
Step 1. REQUIRED – Photographer’s certificate of liability (proof of $1,000,000 ($1 million) liability insurance policy ) must be submitted via email to email@example.com prior to completing any reservation.
Step 2. After the certificate has been submitted, the reservation details must be given via phone at 949-234-1306 or email, to the Group Bookings Department. Details include
requested time slot
complete party size for the photography session
the name and email of the client
the name and email of the photographer with certificate of liability as an attachment
Step 3. Full payment is required by credit card, via phone at least one week in advance, in order to complete the reservation. Upon completion, a confirmation will be emailed.
Step 4. Entire party, including photographer, must arrive 5-10 minutes prior to reserved time slot and check in with guest services staff by calling the reservation number provided in the confirmation email. Photographer will receive a photography badge upon check in.
Step 5. Photographer to keep photography badge in site for duration of shoot and party must check out at the front gate with guest services at the end of reserved time slot. Badge to be returned and any outstanding balance to be paid at check out.
Mission San Juan Capistrano welcomes visitors, professional and commercial photographers as well as members of the media on our grounds according to the policies and procedures outlined below.
“Vacation-style” or impromptu photography/videography is permitted throughout the grounds without a reservation.
• No flash photography or tripods, monopods, or selfie sticks in buildings; they may be used in the gardens but may not be placed in plant beds, benches or blocking pathways.
• Additional photographic equipment such as lights, reflectors, props, costumes, models are prohibited, except under permit or commercial contract.
• Drones are not permitted.
• No climbing on the walls, arcades, ruins, or any physical and historic structure that makes up the Mission
All posed photography, both commercial and non-commercial, require a permit in advance. Walk-ins are not permitted.
• Non-commercial, posed, photography includes, but is not limited to: maternity and family portraits, wedding and engagement photography, graduation and prom portraits, quinceañeras and company team photos.
• Permit fees and insurance are required in advance. To apply for a photography permit and reserve a session time, book online or contact the Group Bookings Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) -234-1306.
• Commercial filming and photography are permitted by appointment only. Location fees, permits, and insurance are required, certain restrictions may apply. Learn more or contact the Group Bookings Department at email@example.com or (949) 234-1306.
Protecting the Mission as a Landmark
The Mission is a place of spiritual and historical meaning. Our guests come from around the world, as a place of peace and inspiration it deserves behavior on site that is in keeping with providing the best possible guest experience. Any issues or concerns my be directed to the Executive Director.
Reservation slots are limited, therefore, please call in advance to check availability. Additionally, please be aware that Mission preservation projects or special event days may not allow for photography or may exclude access to a particular area on site at any given time.
Mission San Juan Capistrano may photograph, film, or videotape visitors for educational and promotional purposes. Use of a ticket is implied consent for the use of the holder’s likeness, voice, or video image for marketing purposes.
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