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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Urban Life & Travel Talk 
Thread started 29 Mar 2015 (Sunday) 22:35
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Photographing an Airport

183 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Mar 2009
Mar 29, 2015 22:35 |  #1

I'm an architectural photographer, and I shoot products in place many times. I may have the opportunity to travel and shoot some architectural metal decking and ceilings in a newly built, but functioning, airport for a client.

I see some complexity with arranging this shoot that I need some help with. I know this is the Urban Life & Travel talk rather than the Architectural photography forums, but I thought I might get better feedback here.

1. Releases - Although I don't plan on including people in the photographs, there might be a case when they end up in them. Do I need to arrange to have releases for people to sign?
2. Arranging the shoot - Would I need to arrange with TSA, and the building manager ahead of time to get clearance to shoot? I won't be using auxiliary lighting, just the camera/tripod and my basic gear setup.
3. I will be flying into the airport, so I suppose I could shoot it as soon as I land, but the odds of picking up a flight back several hours later might be difficult to arrange. If I have to get back into a terminal and I'm not flying, I see that being a challenge. And if I'm flying to a town I've never been, I might as well stay there a day and check it out.

Any other hurdles I may have to jump through to make this happen? Thanks in advance for your input.


3,616 posts
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Joined Mar 2009
Location: Oakton, VA USA
Mar 29, 2015 23:03 |  #2

I've photographed an airport and have a couple things to relate.

1. If you are using any of this for advertising, you need releases. If the photos aren't going to be used for revenue generation, you may not need releases. Below is a link to a video and a reference to a book that might give you some insight. NOTE this video starts with an ad that is very loud. Mute the sound or blow out your ears. …ight-q-and-a-episode-181/ (external link)

2. Definitely contact the airport. You will need to give details as to when you want to shoot and what you want to shoot. You will likely need to fill out an application. You will also likely need to provide proof of liability insurance on the order of $1M to $2M. Assuming you're pro, you probably already have the insurance and just need to contact your insurance company to send them proof. When I shot DCA, post-9/11, I didn't need to contact TSA. The operations manager coordinated all of that.

3. As regards doing a day trip for shooting, if that's your intention, make that clear to the airport people so that if your flight gets delayed or canceled, you might have some flexibility as to when you can shoot. Be up front, communicate, and you shouldn't have a problem.

Finally, as regards TSA, I was around the TSA folks and they were fine. Dress appropriately, have business cards on hand, and be a nice guy.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

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Photographing an Airport
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