Clients often come to me asking for ideas on locations. I love having conversations over the phone on this topic because it is hard to go back and forth over email to nail down exactly what someone is looking for many times. Sometimes people know exactly when and where they want to shoot. Which can be great! I love when a client knows exactly what they want. But, times can be tricky because of sunlight, but I will cover that in another ramble. The other hold up we run into is
Your ideal location may require a permit. I have been shooting for two years in the Chicagoland area. I know most of what places can be shot at with no notice and I know much of what requires a permit. If there is a place I may not have heard of before I have a wonderful community of photographers that keep each other up to date on what permits are required.
Chicago Botanic Gardens, Independence Grove, Bahai Temple, St. Marys of the Lake are all beautiful locations to photograph at and are all locations that require a permit.
And so you ask WHY? When a spot is used by photographers it can take away from other people’s ability to enjoy it as a county park on their walks. Unfortunately sometimes group photography can lead to destruction of an area with trash, litter for props, erosion from going off path. Now I know my clients won’t do that and you know I won’t do that. But, permits are a way for parks to keep track of who is using the land for accountability and it helps upkeep the parks when someone does not take care as we all should after their visit.
“My friend had her photos taken there and didn’t have a permit.” It is possible the photographer did have a permit, some get annual permits and some include permit fees in their costs when they know they are shooting a certain location. Or maybe, you have had a photographer take your photos there and you KNOW there was no permit. That happens. I have been that photographer that did not do the research ahead of time and did not realize a permit was needed. I am not willing to do this knowingly. I know the risks that come with shooting without a permit.
- Our session ends right then and there
- I get a fine
- I get banned from shooting that location again (which then effects my future clients)
- It sets up a bad precedent that comes with not respecting the park guidelines.
Parks are not making mad money off photographers. I hold no grudges toward the requirement of permits. I want to respect those places and what they have set up for what ever reason they had to set it up.
All this being said. I love hearing your ideas for where to shoot. Just know we may need to make accommodations to get permits ahead of time, doing a switch up last minute may not be possible and, sometimes just trust me. When you do, I can find you a great place and we can make magic like this:
Oh, and since we are in the winter months, a *warm* reminder that there is never a permit fee to shoot in your own home 😉