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Banff Photography

Spokane, Washington
1 post
Banff Photography

I'm doing an engagement session in Banff. I am coming from the US into Canada. What do I need in order to make it legal? I was told I have to have a permit to take photos? Does that apply only if you get paid, or if you are just doing a photo shoot for friends? We will be doing all photos in Banff NP.

6 replies to this topic
Penticton, Canada
Level Contributor
21,101 posts
28 reviews
1. Re: Banff Photography

to work in Canada legally you need a work permit to work in Canada to start with

the Parks Canada events permit is completely different.

Edited: 16 May 2018, 06:27
Oshawa, Canada
Level Contributor
7,692 posts
34 reviews
2. Re: Banff Photography

If you are a professional photographer in the US, and “working” here, whether or not you waive your usual salary or fee, you would need to obtain a work permit in Canada.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
8,410 posts
4 reviews
3. Re: Banff Photography


Technically a work permit is only needed if you are being paid (in money, in kind etc), but because you are a professional photographer, it's going to be nearly impossible to prove that you are not working by taking engagement photos. There are some professions for which work permits are not needed for short term stays, but commercial photography is not one of them. Even if you are not getting compensation, you're taking away work from Canadian photographers.

I would suggest contacting IRC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) to clarify. They would be the ones who know all the details and there may be a way. But probably not.

That however, is independent of the permits needed to work/take professional photos in the national park. To work as a photographer in the national parks, you must get a business permit from the specific park. That can take time and I assume they will only grant permits to people who can legally work in Canada.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
22,442 posts
132 reviews
4. Re: Banff Photography

If you are doing a photo-shoot for free, for friends, you are not really much different than any hobby photographer who would be doing the same thing. I wouldn't worry about it. Lots of professional photographers take holidays in the Canadian Rockies and also take photographs while they are visiting ... is that work?

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
5,965 posts
51 reviews
5. Re: Banff Photography

I agree with KRP.

Talk of work and commercial photography permits is weird. This seems to be a group of Americans driving across the border and taking pictures. Like so many others do.

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
466 posts
6. Re: Banff Photography

Don't worry, Canada is not China/Russia. You can take pictures wherever and whenever you want.

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