BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Laura Swiger

Do I need to obtain permission?

I have been asked to come up with a photo package featuring a local town. I found myself taking pictures of a local cafe. None of the photographs feature the name of the business. This building is considered a landmark of that town. However the establishment that inhabits this building is privatly owned. Do I need to obtain permission from the owner to photograph a privatly owned public space? Any help that anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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4/1/2004 3:42:36 PM

Jason A. Zwiker   Hi Laura,

My feeling is that yes, you should obtain a property release. I've usually found that most owners are agreeable if you engage them in a conversation and are open about your intentions for the photography. Show the upside for them: published pictures of the business, if portrayed in a positive way, are great publicity for them.

Good luck with your project!

- J

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4/12/2004 7:21:29 AM

Laura Swiger   Hi-

Thank you for your help, as you can see I do little work that requires release. Can you please recommend a good example of where I can find a property release. The place that has contracted me does not have any such forms. Thanks Again!!

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4/14/2004 9:47:49 AM

Curtis K. Haig   Email me at and I can provide you with a property release form. ty- keith

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4/27/2004 7:55:11 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  you don't need releases just to photograph a place.

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4/28/2004 12:01:28 AM

Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  Laura: This is a complex topic, but in a nutshell, you do not need a Property Release IF:

* The photos are not for advertising
* You do not trespass to take the photos

You don't need permission to take photos in a public place (from the sidewalk for example) but you might still want to tell the owner what you are doing and why - so he does not think you're "casing the joint."

If the photos will be used for some kind of advertising, you will need a Property Release to allow the photos to be published.

Cheers! Peter Burian

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4/28/2004 11:47:36 AM

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