Ok so you’ve got a great idea for a fashion shoot and now all you need is a great location. Or your client and you develop a concept for the ad campaign or look book and you need a great location. Easy enough right ? Well if you hire a producer all you do as the photographer is sit back and let your producer find you a location. However, when you are first starting out you aren’t getting gigs with budgets big enough to hire a producer. So what to do ? You get in your car and drive !
Every time I get in my car and go somewhere I am always looking around where ever I go. Remember when I said photographers have eyes in the back of their heads ? It’s true ! I carry a little point and shoot camera with me and if I see a place that I think is cool I snap a few pics and keep them in a folder on my computer titled “locations.”
Ok so that is the easy part. Now you have to get permission to shoot on the property. When I say property I don’t exactly mean a house or a hotel or someplace recognizable, most of the time I am talking about a piece of land in the middle of no where! Nowadays there isn’t one piece of empty land that isn’t owned by someone or some entity. It sucks if you ask me.
This ever popular photo was shot in Palm Desert. I made a few calls and found out the location is actually Riverside County. So I called the office of Riverside and the kind woman faxed me the papers to obtain a permit. I faxed those to my client and he took care of the rest. The permit cost $400. The price of permits vary from county to county. The price also varies depending on how many people in your crew, if you are going to use an RV, if your are going to use a generator , if you are going to use fire…. blah blah blah. Now of course the permit is paid by your client NOT by you. You MUST put that in your contract.
Another popular photo was shot at Sycamore Beach in Ventura County. Now listen to this. You’re gonna laugh. The permit to shoot on the beach during the day is $65. It goes up much more if you are shooting your look book or ad campaign at night. A park ranger MUST be there at all times, so that is an extra cost. The model was in at least ankle deep water so we had to hire a lifeguard !!!!! HA HA HA ! California is in so much debt at this time, you will get charged for EVERY little thing. We had a really large RV so that added to the cost. So the total cost of the permit came to $1,200 !!!!!! WTF ? !!!! Now obviously I don’t have to pay for this but that affects my fee, and everyone else involved with the shoot. The client has a fit and suddenly everyone’s fee is questioned. The solution ? Get to know someone who lives on the beach so you don’t have to mess with all the bullshit. That ranger and lifeguard had the easiest job that night they will ever have. We started hair and make up at 7pm and started shooting at 8:30 and ended at 3:30am. Ya fun friggin night. Really glamourous, uh huh………