How To Get A Photography Permit In Florida

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One of the most consistent requests I get from readers is for info about all the paperwork and business side of the photograph & cinema industries. Given that our Executive Producer, Kate, handles all that, I’ve talked her into doing a series of posts that go down to the brass tacks. This post is about that ever-of import slice of newspaper that few photographers obtain–or fifty-fifty know how to obtain the location Allow. And so here’s Kate to give you all the of import info yous’ll need…

Hullo everybody. Kate here.

One of the virtually overlooked parts of making your location-based photo shoot “legit” in terms of being within the law and being “professional” is obtaining a shooting permit.
A location shooting permit is a document that gives y’all permission (usually from local, metropolis, or federal governments) to be shooting in public places. I know that the procedure can seem a niggling intimidating (ok, totally sucky) if y’all accept never practical for a permit before, but once you know the basics, the process is rather easy, and is really quite like from agency to bureau, location to location. In this post, I’ll embrace when you need a permit, who to contact, how to apply, and and then show a specific example.

When do you lot need a allow?

If y’all are simply walking around with your camera and shooting casually, you by and large don’t demand a let. You volition, however, need a permit if you are shooing onpublic property
OR if your shooting willimpact
others and/or the environment. The threshold varies from location to location, simply generally, enquire yourself these questions:

  • Is this a commercial shoot?
  • Will your filming disturb traffic or pedestrians?
  • Will you need to utilise tripods, dollys, wires, a generator or other equipment on sidewalks or streets?
  • Are you using the public space in a special/dissimilar fashion than information technology is intended?

If you answer yes to ANY of these questions, you lot probable need a allow. This is
where i of two things may happen. If yous have a producer or a location scout, they take over and get the job done. Location scouts, producers, and production companies tin relieve yous tons of time and will have groovy insider information. Alternatively, if you’re without one of those specialists–similar virtually small productions–you’ll need to crank through this permit process yourself. (Don’t fret. You Tin can do this.)

Who do I talk to? How exercise I become started?

Kickoff with finding the right contact at the right agency. Try reaching out to fellow photographers in the area, producers, or production assistants. Reference the local ASMP chapters or other merchandise organizations. Apply your network. Pickup a copy of the local “product index” (try Googling ‘product alphabetize + your city for a start…) for the urban center in which you lot’re shooting. Ultimately, the goal is to find the government agency websites who issue permits for your locations of interest. As an example, hither in Seattle, it’s the Mayor’s Office of Picture & Music. This is where you can track downwardly the proper permitting forms. In most cases, this information is online and yous can download the forms or at to the lowest degree find the right person to get the process rolling.

for the allow

  1. Commencement by making contact. Call them. Permit the agency know that you’ve constitute the forms online and that you lot plan to allow. Make certain that your location is covered under their jurisdiction. Enquire questions. Let them know when and where you lot hope to shoot and discover out if in that location are any conflicts during your proposed time. Also, ask if there is anything that yous’ve overlooked about
    the process
    so that you tin ensure you become the awarding right the first fourth dimension.
  2. Permit yourself enough time. Some permits can be processed quickly, within a few days, while others require up to ten days or fifty-fifty more than. Time is often not a luxury I take, so I always begin the process as soon equally I know the metropolis in which we volition be shooting, even if that merely means starting the conversation with the contact at the permitting agency.
  3. Read the fine impress… carefully. There can be subconscious information. This is an official regime form and each bureau can be very specific about what they demand and how they need information technology. Don’t be intimidated, just be thorough.
  4. Complete the forms.
    ~Fill in every blank.
    ~Type or print legibly.
    ~Describe EXACTLY what you plan to shoot at the location then there is no defoliation.
    ~Be honest.
    ~Provide maps/sketches if necessary or helpful.
    ~Triple cheque your dates for shooting.
    ~Build in time for schedule changes/atmospheric condition delays if possible.
    ~Brand it easy for someone to corroborate your permit. If everything is correct and accurate, all they have to do is give you your permit. And they’ll love you.
  5. Submit your form and follow upwardly to make sure the course is received and is existence candy.
  6. Pay your fee and/or damage deposit.
  7. Get your certificate of insurance. This is a document from your insurance agent that proves that you have liability insurance (protects you if someone gets hurt, damaged, etc). This is necessary for most permits; however, I know that in Seattle specifically, pocket-size productions are non required to nowadays insurance. If you don’t have this insurance for your company, you CAN get short term insurance for just the shoot. Telephone call your amanuensis.
  8. Fulfill any additional requirements of permit. These requirements may include: police help, parking passes, community notification, rules of the area, etc. The agency, their website, or the forms will help direct yous to these resources.
  9. Make sure you lot receive the finalsigned
    permit. You MUST have the final allow with you at all times.THIS IS ESSENTIAL!
    Rangers, city officials, security guards, and law really will stop you lot and ask to see your permit. The bigger and more intrusive your shoot, the more likely you’ll be asked.


  • If you lot don’t hear back, don’t assume the worst. Be proactive and follow up politely. Don’t underestimate the ability of the phone call. These folks are Decorated.
  • Retrieve that most cities see shoots coming in as an economic do good and they want your business.
  • Some cities have roving permits, which allow you to cover a much more wide area with your allow (instead of designating a specific street or streets). This may be bachelor if you have a very small crew, aren’t disrupting traffic or pedestrians and don’t have much equipment.
  • Some locations volition have dissimilar permits for dissimilar size crews. If you can go along your crew small, you can continue the let much cheaper and simpler.
  • Make sure your locations have bathrooms.
  • Recollect that being on location is like a invitee in someone’due south house. Care for everyone and the location in a way that would make them want to invite y’all back.
  • Shooting on private property? This is different. If the location is not public, only contact the owner directly for permission. You lot may however pay a location fee, but you volition likely have a rental agreement in lieu of a permit. Don’t forget your location release!

Here’s a specific example:

We shot part of a Lululemon campaign in Joshua Tree National Park. I thought it might be helpful to share with yous the actual paperwork completed and submitted and the let and rules that they issued.

1. First, you can encounter information near shooting in Joshua Tree and download diverse applications here.

ii. Nosotros did but that. Here is our completed application:

Application Page 1

Click to Enlarge

Application Page 2

Click to Overstate

3. One time our application was approved, we received the last permit y’all come across here, which we and so took on location the day of the shoot:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Overstate

4. Here is the final ad we shot that day in Joshua Tree: Say No To Camel Toe.

And there you go… Permitting 101 to aid y’all obtain your permits for time to come shoots. Please feel free to use the comments department for any questions or further considerations.


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