Guidelines for Commercial Filming and Photography

All commercial, non-news photography or videotaping must be approved in advance by the Office of College Communications. This does not apply to projects related to academic courses or departments, programs or organizations of the college, or to personal-use photography and videography, such as snapshots of people or the campus.

As described below, photography and filming at Davidson College must receive prior approval by the College, as must subsequent use of the recorded images. These guidelines serve to ensure that such activities do not interfere with the maintenance of academic activities; threaten the privacy of students, faculty and staff; or unreasonably disrupt campus life.

Commercial Use of Davidson Facilities

The Davidson College campus is private property and all visitors are subject to these photography and filming guidelines.  Davidson College protects its name, trademarks and landmarks from inappropriate commercial use but strives to cooperate with film and video producers desiring to use Davidson facilities when it can be demonstrated their activities serve the college’s interest. Priority generally is given to those activities that can help support the educational mission of the college. The Office of College Communications will use appropriate means to facilitate such endeavors.


Requests should be made directly to the Director of Media Relations, Jay Pfeifer, by e-mail at Such requests should be made 30 business days in advance. It is the prerogative of the Director of Media Relations to consider requests that do not meet the advance notice requirement. The Director of Media Relations will respond initially within seven business days, but a final decision may take longer, depending on various circumstances.

Role of College Communications

In general, the office of College Communications is responsible for approving requests to film or shoot still photography at Davidson College for commercial and non-commercial purposes. They can also advise, similarly, academic and administrative units on establishing agreements with still and video photography vendors for long-term and short-term projects.


The college will consider permitting the making of photographs, films and videotapes on campus for commercial non-news purposes on the basis of the following guidelines:

A production will be considered in terms of its size and complexity and to what degree it might disrupt classes and other normal campus activities. Whenever possible, production should be scheduled for weekends and during breaks in the academic calendar.

The college expects the production to offer educational and/or extracurricular experiences to Davidson students. The college strongly encourages the use of students as extras and production assistants for on-campus productions. The college also encourages representatives of production companies to make themselves available for classroom discussion of their work. Davidson also requires that upon completion, a copy of the production be donated to the college’s library.

Anyone wishing to film on campus for commercial non-news purposes must submit in writing detailed information about the proposed project, including locations; days and hours of shooting; number of people involved in each day’s shooting; type of activity to be filmed; list of equipment and vehicles used in connection with the filming; sizes and composition of structures involved; security and safety requirements.

No images of students, faculty or staff may be included without their consent. The individuals photographing or filming are responsible for obtaining the consent of each student or member of the faculty or staff photographed or filmed, as the case may be. 

This information along with a detailed concept and script for the production must be submitted to the Director of Media Relations for review at least 30 days before the start of production. This requirement can be waived at the discretion of the college in the case of small productions.

A walk-through of all proposed shooting locations must be conducted with an appropriate Davidson representative at least 10 days in advance of the desired dates. After locations are given tentative approval, the production company must take part in an initial meeting with representatives of all the involved college departments.

A commercial general liability insurance certificate with limits of $1 million per occurrence, naming Davidson College and its employees and agents as additional insureds, must be filed with the Director of Media Relations at least 10 days prior to the first set-up day. In addition, if the production company has three or more employees, it must furnish proof of Worker’s Compensation insurance.

The college reserves the right to require production companies to make a damage deposit prior to the arrival of any production vehicles on campus. The damage deposit will be refunded in full when the shooting locations are inspected by college officials and found to be in satisfactory condition. Special arrangements can be made for small productions.

Each production company will be charged a location fee which will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Any representation of official Davidson logos or seals must be approved in advance of production. Charges for usage of proprietary Davidson photographic images must be negotiated with the Office of College Communications. In addition, the production company will pay all incurred expenses such as those for electricians, food services, security, janitorial services, etc. Fees for set-up days will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Cancellation of a production within seven days of the start of filming will result in a charge.

Davidson College will prepare a location agreement, to be signed by the appropriate official of the production company and the college’s Vice President for Finance, Administration/CFO or the Director of Media Relations. A shoot will be considered confirmed when this contract has been signed by both parties. The contract must contain a hold-harmless clause approved by Davidson College Counsel. The production company must provide Davidson with an insurance certificate, damage deposit, check for full amount of location fee and signed contract at least 24 hours before set-up begins. At that point, the conditions in the contract become operative.

Photography on Campus

Learn more about commercial photography sessions such as wedding portraits (or any other personal portrait or still life photography).