Do you Need a Photo Permit?
There are two question I’m asked frequently: the first is about suggesting photography locations in Toronto and the second is always “do you need a photo permit” in regards to whichever location I suggest based on the first question. I wanted to take a little bit of time today to talk about photography permits and help my readers understand the purpose of a photography permit.
There are so many photography locations to choose from in Toronto that it can often be overwhelming. A quick way to narrow down the list; however, is to divide your options into “permit” and “no permit” categories. After you do that, you’ll see that your options are greatly decreased as most of the photo locations within the GTA require permits – especially the indoor photography locations.
Some people understand and accept the idea of a photography permit; especially when the location is indoors. Indoor photo locations are private property and the owner has all the right in the world to charge for rental of their space for a period of time. The sheer concept of outdoor photo location permits on the other hand, can definitely grind a few gears in most individuals. I’m not here to debate the “rightness” or “wrongness” of charging couples to take pictures in public parks (you can take that up with your council member) I’m here to state one thing and one thing only:
If you want to use a location with zero risk that you’ll be asked to leave, you need to get the permit!
If you leave it up to chance, you risk ruining your entire photo session!
In many situations, being on a property for picture taking without a permit can be considered tresspassing and you can and will be asked to leave by the security or authority present. If you refuse to leave, then things can get really nasty. If you have to spend 50% of your photo session commuting to a new location (or a ‘backup location’) you’re not only going to appear super stressed in the photos that will eventually be taken, but you’re also have less photos overall since you’ll be wasting time traveling to a new location.
If you get a permit, as long as you’re abiding by the rules of the establishment, there’s no reason why you would be asked to leave. This gives you the security of knowing your photo session can take place in the location you’ve had your heart set on. When it comes to a wedding day, there’s no messing around – get the permit!
But what about photographers who don’t pay for permits? We’ve all heard of those who tell their clients “We’ll just play around until we’re asked to leave – If they kick us out, whatever.” While I can’t speak for them, I can speak for myself and I would never risk a client’s photo session by bringing them to an area that I was unsure we were allowed in.
You may not personally “agree” with the concept of photography permits but they do exist and are a necessity to purchase if you want to use a location hassel-free. Those clients who understand the value or a great and versatile location never have a problem purchasing a permit because they understand that it’s an extention of their photography investment. I hope that you, too, are now one of those people.