Requesting permission to shoot on private property

Sep 21, 2012

Topic: General Legal
Time Investment: 5 Minutes
Suggested Product: Property Use Agreement


Once you know your rights as a photographer, where you can and where you can’t shoot, you are pretty much almost there!  Keep in mind you can shoot on public property unless there are certain permits required – always do a quick google search for your predetermined location – some places are instituting a photography fee.

Spending a few minutes to search or ask for permission can avoid any fines, penalties, and embarrassment in front of clients by being kicked off a property.

See also information on Shooting Public Places!

But if you find a location that is private, you MUST have it – do your research and professional due diligence. Just like anything else in business, it is important that all responsibilities and liability are outlined in written agreements.  Approaching a private property owner can be daunting, especially if not equipped with a script or written agreement.  Here are some legal tips to reduce that anxiety and achieve use of the property you desire!

So read on!


So what do I even say?

Deciding to solicit someone can be scary, especially if you’re an introvert, but here are some tips to help you out:

Identify who you are – Let them know you’re a registered business (offer to show documentation).

Marketing materials – Take marketing materials with you to show what you do.

Lay out your goal – Explain your expected use of the property.

Request permission – Of course! That’s what this is all about. ASK them if you can use it! Worst they can do is say no!

Offer compensation – If they are wary, then offer them some compensation.

Follow up – Send a thank you note!


What types of things should my agreement include?

  • Property description & address
  • Length of agreement
  • Care of premises
  • Release of liability
  • Compensation
  • Ownership of photograph


How do I pick a location?

Just remember, locations aren’t always the most beautiful – get creative!



Owner name:  The county/city has public records that you can request at the appropriate government buildings (County Clerk or County Recorder’s office).  Some places do require a nominal fee in order to secure this information but may we well worth it.

Contract:  We’ve got you covered here! Snag the attorney-written Property Use Agreement from the shop.

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