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Thread started 19 Jan 2015 (Monday) 05:58
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It’s not an easy life for many professional photographers in the Washington region

 
Larry ­ Johnson
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Jan 20, 2015 07:27 as a reply to  @ post 17390713 |  #16

I had a similar experience with a wedding photographer blocking the boardwalk through a marsh. Extemely weird to see a bride in her white gown in the middle of the marsh. I guess it's true, if you build it, they will come.

Nothing about the petition recommends "no fees" for commercial work, it merely recommends lower fees, but that would include a $0 fee for portraits with 11 family members for the first hour.


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OhLook
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Jan 20, 2015 11:48 |  #17

mpix345 wrote in post #17390687 (external link)
I think you have to draw a line between our use of public property as individuals and commercial use of public property. You simply can't have unmanaged commercial use of public streets or parks or wherever. Maybe a big fee isn't necessary. Maybe just a permit and a relatively small processing fee so it can be managed. It shouldn't just be a money grab . . .

What I find objectionable is imposition of a fee whenever the use is "commercial," defined as "resulting in income." A session involving one photographer and one clothing model or one high-school senior will be classified as commercial because money changes hands, no matter how small the amount is, although the activity doesn't differ physically from Joe Blow posing his family in front of the waterfall. Briefly using a scene on public property as a backdrop doesn't use anything up, materially inconvenience the public, or require work by public employees. If a fee is charged for that, I can't imagine that it is anything but a money grab.

I think the line should be drawn between disruptive and nondisruptive uses. Living where I do, I sometimes see movie companies' personnel and equipment. Shooting a scene on city streets for a feature film means bringing in several very large trucks and blocking off streets for hours or days, often in a business district. So this is a disruptive use; it ought to be paid for. Cities maintain a liaison office to deal with studios. They welcome the film folks because the fee is large. Some of it goes to compensate for the lost parking fees and the extra police activity--putting up barriers, rerouting and directing traffic. The remainder goes into the city treasury. But nothing is done to compensate local people for dealing with the traffic congestion, not finding a parking place, not going where they intended to shop, walking farther to or from a temporary bus stop. (What about the residents of apartments above stores? Can they use the front entrance? Do they have to stay away from their windows? I don't know.) Merchants in the filming area lose business. (Other merchants gain because the Hollywood people use local hotels and restaurants while they're here.) The city gets the money, and individuals get the disruption. It doesn't seem to me that this all works out so well.

snerd wrote in post #17390713 (external link)
I live near the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge. . . . Some "professional" gal, dressed in holey jeans and 11 yards of other clothing, was shooting what looked to be a couple, man & woman. But, and this is a big but, she had maybe 3 assistants with her that had brought 2 green chairs and a green couch. Not the trailer house size stuff, full size furniture! Set it all up right in the middle of the hiking trail! Totally oblivious to the natural order of things in this quiet, scenic habitat. Folks were having to detour around the jamup.

This is a great example of disruptive use, but a fee paid to the refuge wouldn't have helped people who came to hike.


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Aki78
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Jan 20, 2015 14:07 |  #18

snerd wrote in post #17390713 (external link)
I live near the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Oklahoma. It's a popular spot for engagement shoots, portraiture, etc. It's never really been much to think about as far as being a "problem". However, last Fall I stopped by a favorite trail to hike my daily 3-mile walk. I'll usually sling a camera over my shoulder for a just-in-case moment. Upon arriving, and parking next to the dam on top, I saw quite a commotion just down the trail a bit. Some "professional" gal, dressed in holey jeans and 11 yards of other clothing, was shooting what looked to be a couple, man & woman. But, and this is a big but, she had maybe 3 assistants with her that had brought 2 green chairs and a green couch. Not the trailer house size stuff, full size furniture! Set it all up right in the middle of the hiking trail! Totally oblivious to the natural order of things in this quiet, scenic habitat. Folks were having to detour around the jamup. Entirely unprofessional! I can see .gov, wanting to get a handle on this asap! Ridiculous! They want to make money off the National Treasures I pay taxes to help keep up, let them pay fees and reserve times and places off the beaten path a little bit. Commercial photography requires commercial fees and licenses.

/rant

These are the type of people unfortunately will get trails shutdown including people that litter and have no regards for others. I know Washington State closed many trails due to people mushroom picking up they left enormous amount of trash.

In a sense the fees do make sense. What's a good price point I don't know but eventually with the amount photographers out there I think we'll see these sort of things happen often. At least people should be happy that it hasn't gotten shutdown because that can happen any time.




  
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snerd
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Jan 20, 2015 19:27 |  #19

OhLook wrote in post #17391366 (external link)
......... This is a great example of disruptive use, but a fee paid to the refuge wouldn't have helped people who came to hike.

Well, you snipped the rest of my post that recommended areas "other" than popular-use public trails and areas more off the beaten path. I'm not hung up on requiring a fee, It just needs to be controlled and supervised with penalties for non-compliance for those doing it for profit.




  
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OhLook
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Jan 20, 2015 20:53 |  #20

snerd wrote in post #17392032 (external link)
Well, you snipped the rest of my post that recommended areas "other" than popular-use public trails and areas more off the beaten path.

Oh, I agree with it. It was just less relevant to my point about fees than the part I did quote.

Why not restrict photography equally for paid and unpaid shots? Shoots like the one you saw, with lots of people and big bulky props, interfere with other visitors' use of a wild area whether or not they're for profit. When a public agency charges for commercial use of a venue but not for noncommercial use of the same venue, I can't help thinking that they're acting because they smell money and want some of it, not because they want to protect the wilderness.


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Jan 20, 2015 22:09 |  #21

OhLook wrote in post #17392161 (external link)
Oh, I agree with it. It was just less relevant to my point about fees than the part I did quote.

Why not restrict photography equally for paid and unpaid shots? Shoots like the one you saw, with lots of people and big bulky props, interfere with other visitors' use of a wild area whether or not they're for profit. When a public agency charges for commercial use of a venue but not for noncommercial use of the same venue, I can't help thinking that they're acting because they smell money and want some of it, not because they want to protect the wilderness.

I think that they are trying to control the situation. A couple random people wandering around camera in had is much different than a crew, with props, lights, all bustling about trying to get a job done.


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kawi_200
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Jan 20, 2015 22:38 |  #22

I read the title and got worried that I'd have to start leaving my gear at home on hikes, or just hide it and not care.... Then I realized it isn't Washington, it is Washington DC. Phew, you scared me for a minute.


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Jan 20, 2015 23:24 |  #23

gjl711 wrote in post #17392267 (external link)
OhLook wrote in post #17392161 (external link)
Why not restrict photography equally for paid and unpaid shots?

I think that they are trying to control the situation. A couple random people wandering around camera in had is much different than a crew, with props, lights, all bustling about trying to get a job done.

Then it would make sense to impose different requirements on large groups with a truckload of gear than on one or two persons with cameras and perhaps tripods, without regard for whether the activity is commercial or noncommercial.


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Jan 20, 2015 23:42 |  #24

OhLook wrote in post #17392350 (external link)
Then it would make sense to impose different requirements on large groups with a truckload of gear than on one or two persons with cameras and perhaps tripods, without regard for whether the activity is commercial or noncommercial.

Agreed. There is much good in looking at the situation from every angle and coming up with something that all parties can live with.




  
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mpix345
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Jan 21, 2015 08:06 |  #25

OhLook wrote in post #17392350 (external link)
Then it would make sense to impose different requirements on large groups with a truckload of gear than on one or two persons with cameras and perhaps tripods, without regard for whether the activity is commercial or noncommercial.

But I think you'll very quickly end up with a ridiculous mess of rules and regs, and the requisite bureaucracy to administer them. That is why drawing the line at "commercial" is maybe preferable, even if that it is less fair and certainly not perfect.


  
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OhLook
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Jan 21, 2015 11:20 |  #26

mpix345 wrote in post #17392781 (external link)
But I think you'll very quickly end up with a ridiculous mess of rules and regs, and the requisite bureaucracy to administer them. That is why drawing the line at "commercial" is maybe preferable, even if that it is less fair and certainly not perfect.

The National Park Service's rules use distinctions like "props vs. no props" instead of "pay vs. no pay." I don't know how well their policy is working out.


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watt100
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Jan 23, 2015 04:21 |  #27

OhLook wrote in post #17393086 (external link)
The National Park Service's rules use distinctions like "props vs. no props" instead of "pay vs. no pay." I don't know how well their policy is working out.

I think you're right, if you don't use a model or any special equipment, props, etc. and stay in the visitor areas you don't need a "commercial permit"




  
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Jan 23, 2015 09:28 |  #28

I find in kind of funny and on par with the "you expect me to shoot X for free but you are paying the publisher and printer?"

You are making money off use of the park as a business (not an individual). Why would they not get a cut of that? Would you go to a studio and say "if I just stay out of everyone's way and only bring one model, why can't I shoot in your studio for free?"


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OhLook
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Jan 23, 2015 10:45 |  #29

benji25 wrote in post #17396146 (external link)
I find in kind of funny and on par with the "you expect me to shoot X for free but you are paying the publisher and printer?"

You are making money off use of the park as a business (not an individual). Why would they not get a cut of that? Would you go to a studio and say "if I just stay out of everyone's way and only bring one model, why can't I shoot in your studio for free?"

Not so fast. There's no sharp line between "business" and "other." Definitions of business vary among jurisdictions. They vary among licensing and taxing agencies that apply in the same location.

Why would the park get a cut? Unlike a studio that rents out space to make a profit, the park is maintained by a government agency for the benefit of the public. A street downtown is maintained by a government agency for the benefit of the public. If you shoot on a street downtown, no fee is due.


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Jan 23, 2015 12:06 |  #30

OhLook wrote in post #17390396 (external link)
I don't follow your reasoning. If you do a fashion shoot on a public street, should you pay the city something even though your commercial activity didn't damage public property? Did the city do something to get its cut of your income from the project? What if you submit the photos to a magazine on spec? You may never make a sale; do you owe the city something in that case?

Right or wrong, gov is always wanting a cut of the action. How many other types of businesses can conduct business on that same public street without some form of permit which WILL have a fee? None most likely.

Also, especially with state/county parks, what if that photographer is otherwise not in that area - not paying those taxes?

Just throwing something out there for though.


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