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Archive 2013 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring ...
  
 
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p.1 #1 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


I am finding it to be a deterrent to my choices for engagement photos. Even without props of any kind or lighting, they still charge $200-$350 for a permit to shoot at places like Red Rock canyon, Valley of Fire, etc...which is obviously prohibitive to my clients who book me for an engagement session for less than $200.

I hear there is legislation going through NV/Clark County right now to modify these restrictions, but as it stands they are completely prohibitive to some of us (obviously not all). The fee structure for small groups is the part they are trying to push through - making it a more manageable $50 for small groups (plus some annual $100/200) or a waived fee for 3 persons or less. This is only going through to state parks, not BLM land...which is another matter.

I assume that BLM land and state parks in other states are equally affected by these restrictions and permit requirements. Has anyone else run into this and argued or just accepted the limitations/fees and paid them? It's obviously easier to write off fees like that for weddings paying $3-6k than for engagements paying $150-$500...



Apr 09, 2013 at 06:59 PM
TRReichman
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p.1 #2 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


Client pays all fees. Your fee to shoot probably ought to be higher than the fee to shoot there, don't you think (cue pity party)?

- trr



Apr 09, 2013 at 07:06 PM
ckhagen
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p.1 #3 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


I think this is almost more of a fight that belongs to the "clients" than it does the photographers... Because really, it's the people wanting to be photographed on the property that are being harmed by the high fees. My view is that the state is looking at it from the perspective of "how can we squeeze some dimes out of these businesses using "our" property to make money". Well, fact of the matter is I can shoot in an empty parking lot somewhere... it's the client who wants their photo taken at the location specified and the state is hitting the client with a fee so high that it prohibits a large section of the citizens from being able to use the property. It turns into a situation where only "rich" clients can afford to be photographed in those locations, which is not how the state should be operating.

So, my point through all of that is really to back what Todd is saying in a round about way. If the photographers absorb these fees, it bolsters the states position of collecting them. If the photographers make it clear that it's the clients responsibility to pay any fees associated with their selected locations (private or public lands), then it puts the state in a pretty precarious position of ripping off private citizens for having their photo taken in a place they probably pay taxes to support.



Apr 09, 2013 at 07:26 PM
SGallant
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p.1 #4 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


What Candace said dude.

My esession last week was at some crappy county park, and they charged the couple $50 for us to shoot there. Notice I said to the couple, cause I would have gladly recommended many other places that were free, but it was their choice.

And unless you have some good after-sales going, I would take Todd's advice and charge more than $200 for an esession.



Apr 09, 2013 at 08:21 PM
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p.1 #5 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


I didn't mean that the photographer should absorb the fees, but that the client can't afford/is often uninclined to pay the fees because they are as much or more than the cost of photography (or still a significant percentage, e.g. 25%+ if the wedding is out there).

Yes the people DO pay taxes to fund state and federal services and management of various recreation areas...and the rangers are not required to do anything extra just because there are photographers present, so the state/federal costs are unaffected in any necessary way by the presence of photographers and their clients so long as no trash is left and no damage is done to the environment.

But my original question was how many, if any, other photographers run into this requirement to pay permits for shooting in state parks or blm land.



Apr 10, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #6 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


I live in DC, and to shoot inside or immediately around monuments and some parks, you've got to get a permit, here. I usually get away with some simple shooting nearby before a ranger tells me to take a hike, and since monuments, memorials, and the like are a stone's throw from each other, here, my plan is usually to shoot at several locations near each other, and we get decent results.

The more gear you carry, the faster the rangers will pounce. If you just have one body and a couple of lenses, you might not get any flak at all. But since I usually shoot with lights, it doesn't take long.

I've never bothered looking into the process in detail myself, because a ranger described it to me once and it was plainly too bureaucratic for a simple e-session or wedding shoot.

You asked what the point was. Tourists can shoot all day long, and if you look like a tourist, you generally won't have a problem. But professionals tend to bring gear like lights and stands, over which people may trip. Pros tend to bring assistants, sometimes creating little crowds, disrupting the flow for tourists. Pros tend to ask (or tell) people to get out of the shot, making it harder for tourists to enjoy the location.

I think those are the reasons for the fees. If you disrupt the location, they at least want to have the ranger's salary for the time when the ranger has to keep children from killing themselves by knocking over your lightstand and umbrella.



Apr 10, 2013 at 04:31 PM
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p.1 #7 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


Time to find new places to shoot.


Apr 10, 2013 at 04:40 PM
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p.1 #8 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


form wrote:
But my original question was how many, if any, other photographers run into this requirement to pay permits for shooting in state parks or blm land.


Utah has a really cool island in the middle of the Salt Lake but they want over $100 to shoot there commercially for "insurance purposes," even though I already have my own insurance. It definitely deters a lot of people from wanting to shoot there. You can always get past it by saying you're a student or just taking pictures for friends but the more equipment you have the less likely you are to get away with that. You'd also have to decide where that would sit legally/ethically.



Apr 10, 2013 at 05:33 PM
lilyphoto
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p.1 #9 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


We have this in a lot of our state areas. Most of the time, though...you can just show up and shoot and no one notices.

Almost all of the indoor places or museums here require at least 100 dollars. Some are as much as 500 dollars. I've always had my clients pay any fees. Never even considered otherwise...



Apr 10, 2013 at 05:46 PM
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p.1 #10 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


we've got the "Park Police" out here, too... Ed K.


Apr 10, 2013 at 08:06 PM
 

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p.1 #11 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


I see nothing for a photographer to ever complain about when it comes to these fees. As noted the client foots the bill.

Everyone can scream about city/town/county/states trying to make money off of this but we also have to consider that now that digital cameras can be purchased from your nearest discount store everyone is a photographer and trying shoot at the same locations disturbing the visitors. The fees seem like a very good deterrent and money maker.



Apr 10, 2013 at 08:30 PM
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p.1 #12 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


ckhagen wrote:
I think this is almost more of a fight that belongs to the "clients" than it does the photographers... Because really, it's the people wanting to be photographed on the property that are being harmed by the high fees. My view is that the state is looking at it from the perspective of "how can we squeeze some dimes out of these businesses using "our" property to make money". Well, fact of the matter is I can shoot in an empty parking lot somewhere... it's the client who wants their photo taken at the location specified and the state is
...Show more

+1. And I'm pretty sure the legislators who approve these fees are the same ones who have little issue with draining state budgets to fund corporate tax cuts (which, like shooting fees, serve no one but the wealthy).

We had a couple a few weeks ago mention a shooting fee and ask if it were something we'd cover. My wife told them, quite directly, that it was not. And we moved on to the next question.



Apr 26, 2013 at 10:20 PM
form
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p.1 #13 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


cordellwillis wrote:
I see nothing for a photographer to ever complain about when it comes to these fees. As noted the client foots the bill.

Everyone can scream about city/town/county/states trying to make money off of this but we also have to consider that now that digital cameras can be purchased from your nearest discount store everyone is a photographer and trying shoot at the same locations disturbing the visitors. The fees seem like a very good deterrent and money maker.


That's the problem, they are a deterrent to taking advantage of natural beauty and using it in a responsible way for photography and the enjoyment of clients and viewers.



Apr 27, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #14 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


In So Cal, the problem is often the photographers and/or clients who don't use the public "parks" in responsible and respectful ways. Part of the problem with any particularly "beautiful" spot is one is seldom the only person that feels that way. There's a park in my city that has a little lakes and is really quite lovely for family pictures, engagements, bridal parties, etc. We've had limos used to block the driveways, fights between parties, etc., etc. They now require and enforce permts and reservations for businesses operating in the park. Other parks and nearby cities have no requirements at all. One botanic garden now prohibits commercial photography due to the damage done by groups not following the guidelines.

FWIW, if one avoids the world class venues, quite often the fees are not exorbitant.



Apr 27, 2013 at 05:27 AM
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p.1 #15 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


I think the fee's should be on the clients. It's impossible to price in the fees when you don't know where the clients want to go. Look at the $1000 fee to use the NYPL, if I were to price that into my engagement or family sessions then the family that wants to use Park X with a $25 fee is not going to book me at $1300, but they would at $300 and pay the $25 on top. Same for the client that wants to use an expensive venue, my $300 fee is still "bookable" but when they find out it's another $1000 for where they want to go, it's no longer seems like it's my fee that's getting in the way.


Apr 27, 2013 at 01:54 PM
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p.1 #16 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


I think it's a good policy to charge to use those areas for engagements. It prevents it from being overrun by photographers/couples.


Apr 27, 2013 at 02:33 PM
ckhagen
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p.1 #17 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


Charging a few bucks to administrate a schedule where they only allow so many per day or so many at a time is perfectly understandable. $50 to put you down for an hour on Friday morning makes sense. Charging hundreds or thousands of dollars for a taxpayer to have their photo taken on property they're helping pay to maintain is just government gone wild. And if they feel they have to charge that much to keep order, then just ban photography in the park period. Don't make it accessible only to those who are in the small sliver of the population who can afford that.


Apr 27, 2013 at 03:17 PM
redal
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p.1 #18 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


form wrote:
That's the problem, they are a deterrent to taking advantage of natural beauty and using it in a responsible way for photography and the enjoyment of clients and viewers.


What they are seeing is you , as a business, making money out of the area they control. Where other tennants on land they control may pay fees.



Apr 27, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Micky Bill
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p.1 #19 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


ckhagen wrote:
I think this is almost more of a fight that belongs to the "clients" than it does the photographers... Because really, it's the people wanting to be photographed on the property that are being harmed by the high fees. My view is that the state is looking at it from the perspective of "how can we squeeze some dimes out of these businesses using "our" property to make money". Well, fact of the matter is I can shoot in an empty parking lot somewhere... it's the client who wants their photo taken at the location specified and the state is
...Show more

The state doesn't care if you pay the fee or the client pays the fee, some one needs to pay to rent public property for private use by a free market business entity.
Why do photographers or clients feel so entitled to take over public property for their purpose because they like it? Parks are set aside for certain things like recreation, when someone wants to make money by using the park for wedding photos or commercials or rock climbing classes or a hot dog stand they owe a fee for that.



Apr 30, 2013 at 07:27 AM
ckhagen
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p.1 #20 · What is the purpose of all the BLM/state parks requiring permits?


I don't know about how you run your business, but I don't generally pick the locations I shoot in, the client chooses something based on what they like or where they generally spend their time. The beach for that matter... I could care less to ever shoot on the beach again. If they started charging $1000 every time I shot on the beach, the clients would be the ones hurt the most. In the long run the county/state would run off a whole bunch of tourists due to an inhospitable atmosphere (it would have to be enforced, with what? Jail time? Lol!). If you're being disruptive, then sure, just like any other disruptive person or activity, you should be asked to stop or leave. But the client having someone snap photos of them in a non-disruptive manner, shouldn't affect the "public" status of the place. Setting up shop and yelling "photos for sale" from a kiosk is an entirely different matter.


Apr 30, 2013 at 01:19 PM
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