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Author Topic: Obtaining shooting permits  (Read 14907 times)
wanderer63
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« on: April 26, 2009, 01:01:21 PM »
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On two recent occasions I have been told I need to obtain a permit to photograph in National Parks, monuments, state parks and historic monuments.  I have been photographing for 20 years and sell work online and in shows and have never known I need to obtain a permit if shooting for commercial purposes.  Does anyone know about this policy and what the costs are for independent photographers such as myself?  I looked on the NPS website but couldn't find any info.  

My first reaction was I pay taxes to support these places so why should I have to cough up more?  There must be thousands of photogs like myself too who sell images taken from protected areas- are they all tracked by the park service?  Then again, we tend to go into off trail areas that are fragile so paying a fee is justified.  I'm well aware of low impact practices however and only leave my footprints.  I wouldn't want the cost of shooting to be over the top- it's hard enough to make it as an outdoor photographer.

Can anyone comment on this?

M
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RSL
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2009, 01:34:52 PM »
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Quote from: wanderer63
On two recent occasions I have been told I need to obtain a permit to photograph in National Parks, monuments, state parks and historic monuments.  I have been photographing for 20 years and sell work online and in shows and have never known I need to obtain a permit if shooting for commercial purposes.  Does anyone know about this policy and what the costs are for independent photographers such as myself?  I looked on the NPS website but couldn't find any info.  

My first reaction was I pay taxes to support these places so why should I have to cough up more?  There must be thousands of photogs like myself too who sell images taken from protected areas- are they all tracked by the park service?  Then again, we tend to go into off trail areas that are fragile so paying a fee is justified.  I'm well aware of low impact practices however and only leave my footprints.  I wouldn't want the cost of shooting to be over the top- it's hard enough to make it as an outdoor photographer.

Can anyone comment on this?

M

Since you didn't bother to fill out your profile I have no way to know whether or not you're in the United States. If you aren't, you may be out of luck. But if you are:

Point your browser at http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm. That's a single-sheet .PDF exposition of photographers' rights written by Bert Krages, an attorney who's also a photographer. I'd suggest you print a copy, fold it, stick it in your pocket or camera bag, and show it to the next person who tells you something like that. Unless the "parks" are military installations, or you're trespassing in areas that aren't open to the public, what you've been told is a complete crock. Next time someone tells you that, take out a notebook and pen and ask for the person's name, position, and the name and telephone number of his supervisor. Then, if the person persists, follow up and contact the supervisor. I like to carry a small digital recorder for this purpose. It gets their attention even more than a notebook.

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JeffKohn
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2009, 03:21:57 PM »
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There's been some confusion about this because the national parks do have permit requirements for photography and filming that some have misinterpreted and tried to incorrectly enforce. The permit requirement applies to filming or photo shoots that involve production crews, props, etc, that would have a larger impact on the area than a regular park visitor would. Also permits may be required to get special access that is normally off limits to regular visitors. But you do not need a permit to take pictures with your tripod and SLR, even if you're a professional and plan to sell the images.

Other countries may be different though. I seem to recall hearing that Australia has restrictions on any kind of professional photography in national parks (which I think is ridiculous).
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2009, 04:18:16 PM »
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Here's a link to the official US NPS information regarding permits for commercial filming and still photography:

http://home.nps.gov/applications/digest/pe...urlarea=permits

Quoting from the above regarding still photography (but you really need to read the entire page):

When is a permit needed?

All commercial filming activities taking place within a unit of the National Park system require a permit. Commercial filming includes capturing a moving image on film and video as well as sound recordings.

Still photographers require a permit when

1.      the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or

2.      the activity uses model(s), sets(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or

3.      Park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.


Instructions on how to apply for permits and fee schedule also given.

Paul
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Luc Hosten
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2009, 10:59:05 AM »
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This is something which is also raising its head in Southern Africa and the National Parks Board in South Africa expects photographers taking pictures with a commercial intent to apply for permits. They exclude the "happy snappers" and allow photographers to enter wildlife competitions etc. Similar conditions apply in Namibia and a few neighbouring countries. It is difficult to control and we are rather concerned about long term implications.
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michelson
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2009, 09:35:33 PM »
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I live in Chicago, the city that tried to collect royalties from photographic prints of items in public parks.

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:3vh-8W...=clnk&gl=us
http://www.vrmag.org/issue27/UNDER_THE_BEAN_IN_CHICAGO.html
http://carlosmiller.com/2008/11/18/chicago...crime-on-story/

I wanted to have more/better results of the things I've read of past litigations, but unfortunately the city has so many permit types in the bureaucratic maze that the articles I want are diluted.

All of their photography rules are written vaguely.  I get shooed away frequently wherever I'm at downtown, usually by rent a cops.

The CTA (the public transit system) requires a permit to use a tripod anywhere in their facilities, of which they have extensive outdoor platforms.
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bill t.
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2009, 09:54:57 PM »
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My attitude towards permits is...it's almost always easier to obtain forgiveness than to obtain permits.  The first person I heard that from was a NYC Cop who asked me if I had a permit to set up a ladder on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum, he just went on his way.  Also, quite often forgiveness will grant accesses permits will not.
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EduPerez
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2009, 08:11:35 AM »
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Quote from: PaulS
Here's a link to the official US NPS information regarding permits for commercial filming and still photography:

http://home.nps.gov/applications/digest/pe...urlarea=permits

Quoting from the above regarding still photography (but you really need to read the entire page):

When is a permit needed?

All commercial filming activities taking place within a unit of the National Park system require a permit. Commercial filming includes capturing a moving image on film and video as well as sound recordings.

Still photographers require a permit when

1.      the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or

2.      the activity uses model(s), sets(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or

3.      Park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.


Instructions on how to apply for permits and fee schedule also given.

Paul

Those restrictions seem reasonable to me. Here in Barcelona you need a permit to photograph on the city streets, if you plan to use tripods, lights, sets, ...; they are there just to prevent abuses.
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2009, 02:35:13 PM »
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Quote from: EduPerez
Those restrictions seem reasonable to me. Here in Barcelona you need a permit to photograph on the city streets, if you plan to use tripods, lights, sets, ...; they are there just to prevent abuses.





How do they handle photographing in/on roundabouts?

You can tell my memory still works...

;-)

Rob C
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EduPerez
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2009, 01:20:23 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
How do they handle photographing in/on roundabouts?

You can tell my memory still works...

;-)

Rob C

Mr. C, you have ruined my life; roundabouts will never be the same again.
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Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2009, 02:53:06 AM »
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Quote from: EduPerez
Mr. C, you have ruined my life; roundabouts will never be the same again.


You see the magic of LuLa? Life-changing!

;-)

Rob C
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2009, 11:27:55 PM »
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Quote from: wanderer63
On two recent occasions I have been told I need to obtain a permit to photograph in National Parks, monuments, state parks and historic monuments.  I have been photographing for 20 years and sell work online and in shows and have never known I need to obtain a permit if shooting for commercial purposes.  Does anyone know about this policy and what the costs are for independent photographers such as myself?  I looked on the NPS website but couldn't find any info.  

My first reaction was I pay taxes to support these places so why should I have to cough up more?  There must be thousands of photogs like myself too who sell images taken from protected areas- are they all tracked by the park service?  Then again, we tend to go into off trail areas that are fragile so paying a fee is justified.  I'm well aware of low impact practices however and only leave my footprints.  I wouldn't want the cost of shooting to be over the top- it's hard enough to make it as an outdoor photographer.

Can anyone comment on this?

M
No I wouldn't get any passes, you payed your entrance fee.  That's enough.  Unless you are doing commercial shooting that requires special equipment or lighting.  When the parks make painters, writers and others get permits then we should be obligated to pay.  Its idiots like Fatali that put more pressure on us photographers who obey the rules.  I have had many fights with park rangers over this subject and have won each time.  They cannnot discriminate on one profession versus others.  Stick to you guns.  Tim Wolcott
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patrickt
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« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2009, 07:53:50 AM »
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Why do we have permits and restrictions? Permits provide an opportunity for those in charge of a property to assess the impact a particular venture will have and to explain rules and regulations to people.

Restrictions are brought to you by a few photographers like some who post here. I was in a museum and a crowd was at the bottom of a narrow staircase. I worked my way to the front and a photographer had his tripod set up blocking access to the stairway. So, now we have no tripods. Should the conduct of a few totally self-centered photographers make the rules? Probably not but it's the easiest way to go. I was at a wedding in an old, and quite beautiful church, when two tourists came in with cameras. They walked past the sign that said, "Private Ceremony-be respectful" and proceeded to get within five feet of the couple to take photos as they exchanged vows. Will we see "no camera" signs soon?

Then there was Rocky Mountain National Park. I saw a photographer busy cutting branches off a tree. The branches interferred with his shot. When I spoke to him his response was, "Mind your own business. It's only a few branches."

One last thought. The guy who set up a ladder on the steps of the museum probably already has a lawyer ready to sue if he should fall.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 07:54:36 AM by patrickt » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2009, 02:22:32 PM »
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Quote from: patrickt
Why do we have permits and restrictions? Permits provide an opportunity for those in charge of a property to assess the impact a particular venture will have and to explain rules and regulations to people.

Restrictions are brought to you by a few photographers like some who post here. I was in a museum and a crowd was at the bottom of a narrow staircase. I worked my way to the front and a photographer had his tripod set up blocking access to the stairway. So, now we have no tripods. Should the conduct of a few totally self-centered photographers make the rules? Probably not but it's the easiest way to go. I was at a wedding in an old, and quite beautiful church, when two tourists came in with cameras. They walked past the sign that said, "Private Ceremony-be respectful" and proceeded to get within five feet of the couple to take photos as they exchanged vows. Will we see "no camera" signs soon?

Then there was Rocky Mountain National Park. I saw a photographer busy cutting branches off a tree. The branches interferred with his shot. When I spoke to him his response was, "Mind your own business. It's only a few branches."

One last thought. The guy who set up a ladder on the steps of the museum probably already has a lawyer ready to sue if he should fall.

Patrick, The "no camera" signs already are up in a lot of places. I used to love to shoot pictures of people in museums. Occasionally you could get something like this:

[attachment=18518:Museum_Visitor.jpg]

Try to find a museum nowadays that'll let you bring in a camera. The problem is that people have been in there with their point-and-shoots with built-in speedlights. The flashes are annoying to the other visitors and sometimes deleterious to the objects. Nowadays if you want to shoot pictures in a museum you'd better not go in with something that looks like a camera. You can, of course, bring in a cell phone with built-in camera because they can't very well exclude your phone, but your results probably are going to be less than excellent. Even then, if they catch you shooting, you'll probably be kicked out. We've developed a class of "artists" who are stupid enough to think you might learn how to distribute feces in an "installation" or dip a crucifix in urine and come up with something that can run competition to their own abominations or to "piss Christ."

Same thing with concerts. People up in the balconies have been shooting with their flashes -- too far away for the flash to have any effect on the picture, but close enough to annoy the performers and the other patrons. Most concert halls now exclude cameras.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2009, 08:02:58 PM »
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Regarding cameras in museums, try China!  I just came back from my first trip there, and was surprised by how few places have "no photography" signs.  The museums are full of people taking snapshots, including a number of people who appeared to be walking from one display case to the next snapping a camera or camera-phone image of every single bloody thing in the museum!

Lisa
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2009, 10:02:22 PM »
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Well of course you have to have permits when shooting in a museum.  Those images have copyrights and if the copyrights are in public domain then they still own the rights to those UNLESS YOU GET A PHOTO OF THEM.

I have a very nice gallery and I don't let anyone take photos there.  But if you are in a park, State, County, Nat'l take them all you want.  

Tim
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2009, 10:19:24 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
Try to find a museum nowadays that'll let you bring in a camera.

Here in Los Angeles, the Getty Center in West Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu both allow personal photography in their permanent collections and on the grounds.  Only restrictions are no tripods, no flashes and no photography in visiting exhibits and (ironically) the photography collection (no relation to Getty Images).

The Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown L.A. is also enlightened with a similar photography policy to the Getty.

The other notable area exception is the California Science Center in downtown L.A.  It caters to children so there's no use trying to keep parents from taking pictures of their kids anyway.  

Los Angeles County Museum of Art is pretty draconian: no photography allowed in ANY exhibits, permanent or visiting.  Other than a sculpture garden, I believe the only piece of art at LACMA you can photograph is an outdoor "Urban Light" installation of rows of old-fashioned street lamps.

http://artandperception.com/2008/02/urban-...bcam-lacma.html

Paul
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bill t.
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2009, 11:06:14 PM »
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Rules schmules!  Forgive my seeming arrogance, but those with a reasonable respect for rules had better stick to taking pictures at the zoo, and only from designated areas.

Just when did photographers stop packing Cajones?  Back in the good old days it was clearly apparent to my impressionable young self that the guys who were getting the great shots were not the guys who were respectful of rules, passes, or permissions or who were particularly fearful of litigation.  Forgive us our timidity, Cartier-Bresson, Capra, Weegee, et al, we are unworthy of your example.

And look there's a style to breaking the rules, some can do it with such grace and diplomacy that the rules seem silly to all involved.  A good rule breaker will soon have the Draconians carrying his ladder.  But some others never rise above the level of an irritating dweeb.  It takes a bit of study to get it right.   I'm only barely competent.  My personal best record was fending off three guards for fifteen minutes, fortunately these guys understood they did not have police powers and were shy about calling the actual cops, to whom I would have listened.  Finally I got them interested in how to take stitched photographs.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2009, 11:43:05 PM »
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Quote from: nniko
Regarding cameras in museums, try China!  I just came back from my first trip there, and was surprised by how few places have "no photography" signs.  The museums are full of people taking snapshots, including a number of people who appeared to be walking from one display case to the next snapping a camera or camera-phone image of every single bloody thing in the museum!

Lisa

Which just about sums up that country's attitude towards international copyrights and intellectual property  

Paul
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RSL
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« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2009, 11:01:02 AM »
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Quote from: bill t.
Rules schmules!  Forgive my seeming arrogance, but those with a reasonable respect for rules had better stick to taking pictures at the zoo, and only from designated areas.

Just when did photographers stop packing Cajones?  Back in the good old days it was clearly apparent to my impressionable young self that the guys who were getting the great shots were not the guys who were respectful of rules, passes, or permissions or who were particularly fearful of litigation.  Forgive us our timidity, Cartier-Bresson, Capra, Weegee, et al, we are unworthy of your example.

And look there's a style to breaking the rules, some can do it with such grace and diplomacy that the rules seem silly to all involved.  A good rule breaker will soon have the Draconians carrying his ladder.  But some others never rise above the level of an irritating dweeb.  It takes a bit of study to get it right.   I'm only barely competent.  My personal best record was fending off three guards for fifteen minutes, fortunately these guys understood they did not have police powers and were shy about calling the actual cops, to whom I would have listened.  Finally I got them interested in how to take stitched photographs.

Bill, Well, I didn't say that just because a museum excludes cameras I don't shoot pictures in museums. The funniest encounter I remember was about a year ago when a friend and I went to a museum in Orlando (won't say which one). Both of us were carrying cameras. His was an SLR hung around his neck. Mine was an Epson R-D1 with the strap around my wrist and the camera in my hand. As soon as we got through the door he was told that no photographs were allowed in the museum. He took his camera back out to the car. I began walking around shooting. Eventually I ran into a guard. Stood there chatting with him for about five minutes with the camera still in my hand and, as near as I could tell he never saw the camera. I think the key to rule breaking is the fact that most administrators and factotums tend to think in cliches. A camera around your neck is a camera. A camera in your hand is more or less invisible -- not because it's not visible, but because it's in the wrong place.
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