When you are on a photoshoot, you need to be on the right side of the law. You must have the necessary permission from the concerned authority in the form of a permit. Be it a public or private place, a photographer has the moral duty not to disturb the privacy of people. This blog will enlighten you about the various legal pitfalls of commercial photography.

Importance of permits in commercial photography

One must respect the law of the land when shooting at a place. Being aware of the restrictions is very important. And this means applying for a photography permit before you start the shoot. Broadly, the categories in which the restrictions apply are public and private places. Permits are necessary because you carry a lot of equipment like tripods and wires to a spot. Plus, you are going to disturb the pedestrians and the traffic.

Public places

  • Parks, streets and roadside are some of the public places. You must take care of the fact that you do not use an image of a person in a photo that will be used commercially. If you do so, it is ethically wrong, and the person may take legal action when he sees himself in a commercial. What you can possibly do is take written permission before you take a shot. Or, you can use photo editing techniques to blur out the images if you don’t have permission.
  • Getting a permit is sometimes necessary when you shoot in a public place. You must contact the local authorities, and most of them have online application forms. Taking suggestions from professionals will also help if you are not familiar with the process.
  • There are places open to the public, including shops, malls, and commercial centres. The rules are a bit relaxed in these places. But you cannot show the names of businesses and logos without the permission of the property owner. Some public places may not allow commercial photography at all. So, you need to check with the authorities about the restrictions. Amusement and nature parks may also require you to take permits. Public transportations have their own guidelines as to whether you can take pictures of them or not.

Private places

Private places that are not open to the public don’t require permits. But that doesn’t mean you can carry on with the photo shoot. It would also require the permission of the property owner. If the private property featured in a photo is identifiable, it would require permission. Also, if you want to sell the photos, you would require written permission.

Summing this up, commercial photography is a bit tricky since you have to be aware of the cultural and legal restrictions of a place. Getting the permit from the concerned authority is a necessity that cannot be foregone at any cost. If you don’t take the permit, it might put your schedule back by weeks, or you may have to shell out legal expenses.