Photography Guidelines at Mount Auburn Cemetery

January 30, 2012

Mount Auburn is a beautiful landscape and the frequent subject of photographs, film, and art. If you are interested in photographing at the Cemetery please read through the Photography Guidelines outlined below.

As an active cemetery, Mount Auburn continues to perform burials almost daily. Photographing funerals is prohibited. We ask that all photographers be respectful of those around them. The privacy and comfort of the friends and families of the deceased is paramount to Mount Auburn.

All photography engagements are subject to cancellation. Funerals and memorial services take precedence at Mount Auburn; in the event that they conflict with a secured date, the Cemetery will make all efforts to reschedule your photography for a date at your convenience. Please note that Mount Auburn explicitly prohibits posed photography in the landscape.

Personal Photography
Photography for Public Distribution
Filming for Public and Private Use
Filming and Photographing for Media Use
Contact Us

Personal Photography

Mount Auburn does not require permission for personal photography using simple, handheld equipment. We do ask, however, that all visitors taking personal photographs be respectful of the landscape by adhering to our general rules and regulations.

If you are a photography instructor looking to bring your students to the Cemetery, please fill out our Group Tour Request form as a self-guided group two weeks in advance of your visit.

Photography for Public Distribution

Photography for any non-personal use (including professional, academic, and non-commercial uses) does require written permission. Please submit an application at least two weeks in advance. Requests are approved on a case-by-case basis.

Mount Auburn is commited to protecting the privacy of those buried here as well as the living mourners coming to visit the graves of family and friends. To respect these individuals, we ask that you do not take close-up photographs of names on monuments, or allow names to be visible in photographs of monuments.

The use of any special equipment (besides a standard camera and tripod) does need to be approved. Please make sure that the use of lighting, screens and other equipment is clearly outlined in your application. The use of extra equipment may limit locations available for photography.

We do not allow publication of any images of Mount Auburn – personal or private – without written consent. If you are interested in publishing your images, you must contact the Friends of Mount Auburn with the intended outlet for publication or the intended use.

Filming for Public and Private Use

All filming at Mount Auburn requires written consent in advance. Parties must submit an application explicitly detailing the nature of the project to be assessed by the Cemetery. If the project is in compliance with our guidelines, a permit will be issued.

The permit must be carried with the party filming, and the individual(s) must be able to produce it to security and staff. If security finds a party filming on site without a consent form present, or with a lapsed date on their form, the party will be asked to leave the grounds.

Mount Auburn severely limits filming in the months of May or October. Due to high visitation during these months, the Cemetery is available for filming on a much more limited basis. Please contact us well in advance if your project depends on filming at the Cemetery in one of these two months.

Filming and Photographing for Media Use

For the Media: We welcome coverage about Mount Auburn’s many facets and the activities of the Friends of Mount Auburn. If you are a member of the press, please contact the Friends of Mount Auburn for further assistance. Please note that media coverage of funerals is strictly prohibited unless authorized by the family. If the family of the deceased has requested media presence, the chosen media outlet must receive written permission before filming. If the press cannot provide a consent form, security will ask them to leave.

For Filmmakers: Mount Auburn does entertain requests for the use of its grounds as a setting for documentaries and other non-fiction film projects that speak to the history of place (the garden / landscape cemetery movement) or to the stories of the lives of notables interred or memorialized at Mount Auburn or stories of urban wildlife / birding – while moving away from shoots which use the Cemetery solely as the setting for other kinds of narratives not tied to the history of the Cemetery. Contact the Friends to discuss the details of your project. Please note that there may be fees associated with filming. A member of the Mount Auburn Cemetery staff must supervise all film projects, and this fee will be dictated by the level of oversight necessary.

Contact Us:

You can obtain a photography and filming application on our website or at the administration building on the grounds.

Please contact the Friends of Mount Auburn by phone at (617) 607-1980, or by email at for any additional assistance.


  1. Paula Sullivan says:

    Hi, my name is Paula Sullivan and I am an amateur drone operator (from CT). I was interested in flying (for the purpose of aerial photography for personal use) at the Mount Auburn Cemetery. Now, I recognize that due to your close proximity to Logan Airport I would probably need to apply for a Certificate of Waiver from the FAA to enter Logan’s Class B airspace, however before going through that I wanted to see what policy (if any) you have about drone use. I would do my utmost to not disturb anyone or any wildlife and would adhere to any restrictions you would demand. Please let me know if this is a possibility. I’ve always been very interested in cementeries and in fact I did a paper on the historical significance of the Mount Auburn Cemetery for a “History of the New England Town” course for my bachelor’s degree!

    • Jennifer Johnston says:

      Dear Paula,

      Thank you for your interest in Mount Auburn Cemetery. At this time we have a no drone policy, but you are welcome to visit and take photos or sketch without your drone.

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