Shooting Professionally in Positano, Italy Will Require a Permit

Shooting Professionally in Positano, Italy Will Require a Permit

The Italian town of Positano is one of the travel destinations adored by photographers and tourists because of its colorful and dynamic scenery. If you want to know how Landscape Photographer Elia Locardi photographed Positano and many other beautiful locations, check out Fstoppers' latest tutorial "Photographing the World 3." But before that, you need to be aware of the new taxes imposed by city council of the beautiful Italian town, regarding permits for photography and video.

The administration demands a payment of 1,000 euros for a permit for photographers, and 2,000 euros for filmmakers, if the final images and video footage will be used for commercial purposes. Whether or not you shoot with a DSLR, medium format, mirrorless, cinema camera, or a cellphone, you have to pay the tax if you plan to make money with the files from your devices. The council assures that amateur photographers won't be required to pay anything, but will be able to freely take photographs and videos. People who are filming and taking pictures for television programs, documentaries, magazines, or newspapers also won't be charged with that tax too. Wedding photographers have to apply for a free permit at least 10 days before the event.

The question is how can the authorities make a difference between the photographers and filmmakers who would use the imagery for commercial purposes from those who won't?

[via Amateur Photographer]

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Previous comments

Why are you trashing the entire country for the wrongs of some? Do you take a knee also?

Jacques Cornell's picture

Because this is not an isolated incident. In the past 15 years, state and local public officials around the country have been pandering to the paranoid, repeatedly attempting to legislate away the First Amendment with regard to photography in public places.

He complained about the food so much it led local restaurant owners to seek extra revenue from the council.

Patrick Hall's picture

It's sad because they could have just upped their food game. They should have hired Giada or even Hector Boyardee :)

Jacques Cornell's picture

Like so many other municipalities, they haven't thought this through. How can one know in advance whether a photo one makes today might be used commercially next week/month/year? As a stock shooter, I never know whether an image will sell, and only a small fraction of the images I submit do eventually sell. If asked whether I'm going to make money on a day's shooting in the foreseeable future, I can say "No" and be telling the truth most of the time. Some cities, like New York City, finally got wise and stopped trying to make the professional/amateur distinction and now determine permit requirements according to how much you're going to inconvenience the general public - i.e. how much space you're going to take up with gear, vehicles, staff, etc.
Good luck to Positano officials in determining who's a "pro", and particularly whether any given click of the shutter is for financial gain or simply personal enjoyment.

Jonathan Reid's picture

There are similar rules in place for using drones in the UK. Commercial photography with a drone requires a license. Nobody stops you from creating the work, but when you try sell it, you may run into difficulties.

With Positano, you may be able to create images for professional use, but your client may run into trouble when they try publish the work without a license.

Donald Hoxha's picture

I think it depends how big your project is. We are in Italy, I am sure nobody is coming to ask something because you are taking pictures with DSLR ;)

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I think the authorities do not have the right understanding on what professional and commercial is, because you could be a professional with a cell phone camera and try to sell the photos and videos after that.

Donald Hoxha's picture

Right, I do agree! This is a classic law made from the great brain our politicians have.

Is there anything left to shoot there that has not been shot too much already ?

I wonder if they get that being a professional doesn't mean being the Century Fox. Also it's inapplicable.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

The 20th Century Fox are not taxed. So are not taxed other televisions. Just small professional crews, whether it's 1 or more persons, are a subject to taxing if they are going to make money with the pictures and videos... but not the big players.

I wonder what museums would look like today if painters had to pay for permits to paint.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Probably that's the reason why there are not so many classic painters as much as we have photographers today.

This is probably targeting "very obvious" (i.e. with several people with lights and all) productions who set up a shoot therefore obstructing circulation and view of locals and tourists.
They could also hunt publications after the fact and ask retroactively for a permit (or proof of earlier date) or pay a fee. That seems overkill though.

Ferch de Haro's picture

OMG! I just did a Photoshoot there like 20 days ago with Off camera flash and a rapidbox! Lucky me!