(Per)mission to Shoot

Title photo for Journal entry "(Per)mission to Shoot"

I’m going to tell this in a short and funny way because somehow it really is funny. It’s a matter of permissions to shoot at certain locations. Usually, it’s a legal gray area or it depends on how you interpret stuff. E.g. there is a law called „Panoramarecht (§59 UrhG)“ in Germany. It says that you are allowed to take pictures of art and buildings when they are situated in public areas, because the artist (or architect), by displaying it that way, must be meaning to devote his work to the community. The ones who take pictures have a copyright on their images and may distribute them as they like, as long as they don’t infringe anyone else’s rights.

On the other hand, the streets belong to the respective city and when you interfere with the traffic you need permission for that. Getting a permit takes about two or three weeks and costs about 80€. But sometimes it can all go wrong and your shooting gets canceled or the team or client decides to shoot in another location. Well, and sometimes there is not even enough time to wait for the letter.

Nevertheless, when I’m sure that we need a permit for a location, I usually file an application and bring the ready permission to the shooting. Last time it was quite a mess doing so because the actual shooting was canceled and so I asked the relevant department of Munich if it was possible to delay the date so that I could organise another shooting. It worked out, but I had to pay about 20€ on top (which I thought was better than losing 80€ in the first place). And here are the fun facts about this one:

Firstly, our location didn’t totally belong to the city of Munich, but parts of it belonged to the state of Bavaria. When I asked the responsible castle and lake administration, they offered me a much higher rate, about 500 or 600€ per day. I told them that the city itself only charges about 80€, but they didn’t quite care about that. So I decided, that this was too expensive for an editorial shooting and that we were going to shoot at the “city-areas” of the location only and wouldn’t use the other areas. Anyhow the allowed area is very beautiful.

Secondly, when the shooting day arrived and we spent many hours there, we realised how many shootings were taking place in only one day. I counted two wedding shoots, a music video shoot, a photographer shooting a so-called model wearing latex dresses, another photographer stalking us, and everyone else there (he seriously liked to take pictures of other people’s feet! Very creepy…) and masses of tourists, also taking pictures. Well, guess if any of them had permission? Of course, they didn’t have one.

So I think it’s funny and sad at the same time that when you want to be honest and do everything right, you get somehow punished by being charged a lot of money or getting restricted – besides you are investing time in the process of getting permits while others don’t. But on the other hand, you can be sure about the fact that no one will send you away during your shooting. This is taking the pressure off the situation, so you can relax and be more creative.


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