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Shooting Permits
Old 12-06-2006, 04:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm based in the San Francisco bay area and during my gorilla shoots when I'm normally jumping out of the car doing my shoot and jumping back in before being challenged by anyone. The whole permit thing keeps coming up. Apart from it just being embarrassing that the model thinks your not being professional its just such a pain in the ass to deal with an official that has the fate of your shoot in their hands.

So I've researched what needs to be done to get permits and would like some feedback from others who are dealing with the same issues. Typically my photoshoot will have myself, an assistant, model, mua and a hair stylist and I shoot with a nice camera and a bunch of hensel lighting. So even when I'm just doing something for my own pleasure, I can't do anything on a small scale, I run into the "You've got a big crew and some nice equipment for a personal shoot" speech. But to shoot in SF in the parks with a permit its a minumum of $200 for four hours. Which is a real pain in the model is late and you hit traffic. I'm not out to screw the local authorities of income even though I think its doubling billing why is it that I can't shoot some images in the park when people's annoying kids are screaming and disturbing me while I'm shooting? Didnt I already pay taxes for the park.

I noticed in the permit requirements for SF it specifically notes that wedding photographers are meant to pay for a permit as well. Is everyone just shooting and hoping they wont get busted?

Jon
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Re: Shooting Permits
Old 12-06-2006, 05:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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One reason that many cities require permits for "pros" to shoot in public parks, is because the major production of model, lights, assistants, photographer, etc, is something that interferes with the normal flow of park activities and adds extra risks of law suits for the city, and so forth. So the fees help offset this extra risk.

Generally the wedding shoots I've seen in parks, or the ones I've done myself, have been very "low key" in that they didn't use an assistant, a tripod, etc. There would often be a flash on a bracket and maybe one reflector (often held by the subjects). Even then, you'll occasionally get some "official" who will ask about licenses. You then, just move on.

On the other hand, imagine shooting these shots of Haley in a park (even with a permit). Can you say crowd control problems?

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Re: Shooting Permits 


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Re: Shooting Permits
Old 12-06-2006, 10:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey Jon! Sounds like things are going well...shoot me an email so we can catch up!

I shoot a lot without a permit, and am usually very low profile, with one assistant with a reflector. usually, there are no problems. BUT...as you mentioned you like to do it up big, you are right to try and get some permission.

I recommend trying to find some locations that are more permit friendly. For instance, there is a state park in my area that will give me a permit to come shoot for free, provided I provide them with a certificate of insurance, a liability release, and 3 days notice. Maybe there are some places in your area that are more like that???
Also, look into private property. Someone who has a nice big piece of property, might love the idea of a photo shoot at their place. There is an art gallery near me that has a huge, fancy, well landscaped garden...and they let me shoot there for free in the mornings before they open. (provided things don't get to risqué)
Night Clubs are usually cool with letting you shoot for pretty cheap in the off hours, and can have some cool scenery. What about Mom & Pop owned Hotels or Bed & Breakfasts?
Anyway, just some ideas...good luck!

Or...another idea...just come to Florida and shoot at my studio!
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Re: Shooting Permits
Old 12-07-2006, 02:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Fredrick_Smith View Post
Generally the wedding shoots I've seen in parks, or the ones I've done myself, have been very "low key" in that they didn't use an assistant, a tripod, etc. There would often be a flash on a bracket and maybe one reflector (often held by the subjects). Even then, you'll occasionally get some "official" who will ask about licenses. You then, just move on.
I understand just dont like the double standard and it goes against promotion of the city. Here is an for example. So I have this crazy idea for a shoot for a california based magazine. which involves a door frame framing the Golden Gate bridge. Where I want to shoot the images to frame it just so puts me in the middle of Golden Gate park. My shoot takes all of ten minutes to setup and ten minutes to shoot. But it cost me $200 for a permit to shoot that. On one hard you could say well your going to benefit commercially from that and I would agree but doesnt the city of San Francisco benefit a little. I've already paid city taxes, states taxes and federal taxes all of which a piece of goes to the upkeep of the park. I then have to pay for a permit and the city gets a free piece of advertising with a landmark that even me being from London would not mistake where that bridge is from.

So you could argue that they is almost a quid pro quo her, but the thing that throws that all out of wack is that the city of San Francisco would reimbursed me all my fees, permits, pay roll taxes, even a potion of my hotel and food if the production cost over $50k. But because my setup cost me $100 for the door frame and $200 for the permit the cost of promoting the city of San Francisco in a magazine with a circulation of 250,000 magazines isnt deemed worthy. This is another one of those situation like penalizing grocery shoppers that are spending a couple of hundred bucks and making them stand in a long line because they dont have under 15 items. Come to think of it that door frame needs to be made of gold and diamond plated, should easily cost more than $50k and I'd need half the city cops to guard the shot which San Francisco will gladly foot the cost for.

Doesnt make me made I could easily do a gorilla shoot but doing the right thing is as usual the toughest thing to do.

Jon
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