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Pablo Betancourt's picture

Why we need to pay fees for taking images on State Parks?

Hi friends, I'm trying to understand the logic behind the restrictions for filming and taking pictures (mostly commercialy) on state parks. Of course I understand all the restrictions that tend to prevent any damage or perturbation of the enviroment. We all want to preserve nature as it is, don't we? But why some places ask for a fee? As public parks, and having individuals and brands trying to get some kind of revenue of the imagery taken on these places, I may understand the thinking behind this: if you are earning some money with a public landscape, then you should pay to all the owners of that place. But who and how they put a price about that? And most important to me: Why government's tourism campaigns spend a lot of money advertising places like these protected areas, but then they try to charge you if you want to spread the beauty of that places, even under a brand, personal project or whatever. Isn`it that a kind of free promotion for them?
Here in Argentina I've seen some commercial projects asked for ridiculous things, from exaggerated fees to non sense prohibitions. Sometimes it depends on the mood and criteria of the official in charge, and not on a regulation itself.
I would love to know if there are some image-friendly places in the world to get some background about this, with the idea of trying to convince some local filming comissions and photo associations to join an effort for changing this reality.

Any help, bibliography or idea appreciated.

Pablo Betancourt

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4 Comments

Jordan McChesney's picture

A possible reason they charge for commercial use may be because people doing this at a commercial level tend to have more gear, take up more space, and some are willing to obstruct others to get the shot “they need” since they financially depend on getting a good shot.

“We all want to preserve nature as it is, don’t we?”

unfortunately not. For some people, the power of social media attention is stronger than willpower. Here in Japan, there are some locations that are fenced off, but I’ve seen pictures taken from beyond those fences, showing that if people want a shot, they are willing to break rules to get it.

“How do they put a price on that”

I’m sure some consider the maintenance costs. However others may use the same system we do when we price our service and images -> what are people willing to pay?

I imagine they promote it because they can charge money for it. From a business standpoint, it makes more sense to market things you charge for than free parks. The “free advertising” is the same as “free exposure”, and we all know how photographers feel about that. I imagine land owners would feel the same.

Here in japan, they have a ban or fee on commercial photography for almost all gardens I’ve been to, and they even go as far as banning tripods, to avoid people blocking the path. Furthermore, most of them have fees simply to enter. These are mostly to keep them well maintained and pay the staff. Perhaps state parks are the same.
I hope these sort of respond to what you’re asking.

Pablo Betancourt's picture

Thanks a lot. In many places in Argentina you already have to pay just for entering the sites, which the excuse of the maintenance costs. That sounds pretty well for me, but why they charge you over that is what I really don´t understand. If you are gonna make a film with a big crew, and the park need to put 3 rangers to help/control you then I can understand that implies an extra cost. But let's say you want to film a guy running for a shoe's brand. It's the guy, an assistant and you. All the three pay the permit to enter the park. Why I have to pay an extra fee, if I'm going to show that place.

Mike Young's picture

In the U.K. It can vary depending on who is managing the space. I don't think we have fees specifically for photographers but we do have entry fees for some areas. I can see the point of an organisation managing a space seeing some way to be creative with revenue generation, and seeing an opportunity where an individual or organisation is using the space for its own commercial gain. It would be tough, in my opinion, to differentiate between someone like me wants an image for his own wall and someone taking a shot for public sale.

Pablo Betancourt's picture

"It can vary depending on who is managing the space"
And that's a big problem.

"I don't think we have fees specifically for photographers"
https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/499/files/Photography_Permits_Sector_Park...

"to differentiate between someone like me wants an image for his own wall and someone taking a shot for public sale"
That's pretty difficult to determine I guess.
But even if it's for public sale or commercial revenue, why they care so much about this? The more people knows a place, the more protection the place can gain.
I´ll give you an example of Mendoza, Argentina. We have a protected area that is Llancanelo lagoon. For filming there you will nedd an special permit from the local government. But oil and gas exctraction is all over the area, with fracking techniques, prohibited in many places around the world. One of the reasons I can find that has allowed this is that people from Mendoza don't know this place, it's beauty and it's importance as an ecosystem.
You don't protect what you don't know and value.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!