Filming and Photography at Rice

Thanks for your interest in filming or photographing on the Rice campus. We are proud of the beauty of our campus, and of the fact that many Rice landmarks are regarded as Houston landmarks as well. Because of issues of privacy, security, potential disruption of campus activities and implied endorsement, the following guidelines have been established to help clarify the rights and responsibilities of our guests relating to campus photography, filming and videography (for simplicity, all references to photography in this and related documents are meant to include all forms of film, video and digital imaging and any related audio recording). If you are unable to find the answers you need in the guidelines below, please contact the Office of University Relations directly.

All Photographers

No photography at Rice may be used to imply the university’s endorsement of any individual, organization, product or activity without prior permission specifically granted in writing by appropriate authorities of the university. Permission to photograph key university image assets for commercial reproduction or broadcast likewise requires prior written permission and is rarely granted (image assets include the university’s name and logo, and signature structures such as Lovett Hall, Willy’s Statue and the Turrell Skyspace).  Because of concerns that the resulting images may later be used without the university's knowledge or permission, shooting of commercial stock photography on the Rice campus is not permitted.  For reasons of safety and security, use of aerial drones in the airspace above Rice property, whether for photography, instruction or recreation, requires specific prior permission and must be conducted in accordance with the Rice University Drone Policy and relevant FAA restrictions.  Please contact the Office of University Relations for details.

We ask that all campus photographers:

  • Respect the privacy of campus residences.  With the exceptions of Cohen House, the Rice faculty club, and Huff House, the location of the Office of Alumni Affairs, these are any buildings on the campus map whose names include the words "house" or "college."
  • Avoid disruption of classes or other university functions. In particular, we ask that you refrain from imaging the interiors of any buildings unless you have secured prior permission (using the form available under the Commercial Use heading below).
  • Respect the rights of Rice students, employees and visitors not to be photographed without their knowledge and permission.  Also, please note that use of any recognizable image of an NCAA athlete in conjunction with any commercial promotional purpose other than university self-promotion could jeopardize the scholarship eligibility of the student athlete(s) so depicted, and thus is prohibited.

Granting of photographic permission on the Rice campus or any Rice-owned property in no way implies surrender of the university's rights to manage and supervise its property under normal rules governing its operation. The Rice University campus is private property and guests may be requested to leave the campus for any reason at any time. By photographing at Rice, those photographing agree that in the event of such a request, the university's liability is limited to the refund of any campus photographic usage fees that may have been paid.

To minimize the likelihood of interruptions by campus security, prior to shooting, photographers wishing to shoot images on the campus after dark should stop by the Rice University Police Department (just inside campus gate 8, University Boulevard at Stockton) to announce their intent, and, in the case of any kind of photography besides personal photography, to show written proof of permission and to have their photo IDs copied by the officers on duty.

To prevent damage to inlaid stone and brick floors and walkways on campus by photographic equipment, all photographers should assure that appropriate precautions are taken and in particular that all photographic and lighting equipment has rubber contact points.

Personal Photography

Amateur photographers interested in images of Rice for their personal enjoyment are welcome to visit the campus and photograph the exteriors of academic and administrative/support buildings and athletic complexes (see campus map) provided they respect the privacy of campus residences, avoid disruption of classes or other university functions, and respect the rights of Rice students, employees and visitors not to be photographed without their knowledge and permission.  (Please see full guidelines under the heading “All Photographers,” above.)

Bridal and other Professional Portrait Photography

Rice is proud to have been a part of the special memories of so many Houston brides and their families and continues to offer the use of our campus for personal portraiture by professional photographers by prior arrangement as set forth in our Bridal & Portrait Photography Guidelines. Portraits and other photography being used for promotional or commercial purposes require permission as set forth below.

Commercial Use or Promotional Reproduction

Requests for filming and photographic use of the Rice campus for commercial use or promotional reproduction should be made in writing using the online application. Please note that requests should be submitted a minimum of five days prior to your need-to-know deadline to allow time for appropriate approvals to be sought. The completed form should be accompanied by an unabridged copy of the shooting script with the scene(s) to be shot at Rice highlighted, or a rough layout of the proposed ad or printed collateral showing the specific text which would be associated with any image(s) of the Rice campus. For this type of photography, photographers also must provide proof of insurance as outlined in the Required Insurance for Lessees of Rice Facilities. Assuming the photo or filming request is approved, execution of a separate Campus Use Agreement also may be required. Those wishing to scout locations prior to submitting a written photo or filming request should contact the Office of University Relations.

Media Photography

The photographic needs of the print, broadcast, and on-line media can be accommodated at no charge with the assistance of the Office of News and Media Relations.

Political Photography and Filming

As a nonprofit educational institution, Rice is constrained by law from endorsement of any particular political candidate or party. Because photography or filming of a candidate or elected official in front of recognizable Rice landmarks and use of such images in campaign or other promotional materials may be viewed by some as implied endorsement, Rice is unable to approve such filming and photo requests. Questions concerning any proposed political use of the Rice campus should be directed to the director of the Office of Government Relations.