Photographic Permissions + Recently Published Work

Yesterday I had two gorgeous women contact me, one to ask how much to charge a client for her first job and the other who has just received her first commission from a magazine wanting to know about permissions.

And whilst we were on the subject of publishing I wanted to share a story I recently photographed with super stylist Vicki Archer in House and Garden Australia.

I am going to tackle permissions today for any of you who are interested read on?

Permissions in Paris nearly killed me and my book Paris Tango. I thought I would never get to the end of it because of the incredible amount of paperwork, number of phone calls needed to get permission to enter fashion shows, historic hotels, backstage at the Moulin Rouge and Lido de Paris and anything slightly fabulous in Paris.

But without the permission of these places to shoot us photographers are unable to get to all the good stuff.

Whose permission do you need?

If you plan on shooting in a private space, a big hotel, a restaurant or a shop you need their permission in theory to shoot in their space and publish the images. I always ask their permission, arrange a time to go and ask for a contact on the day because I want total freedom once I am in the place and their help to get the photos I need.

I always write to the PR person of each place or if it is small to the owner detailing why I need to photograph in their place explaining where the images will be published. Most people especially small businesses are happy to have you because it means free publicity but famous places (especially in Paris) sometimes see it as a nuisance or a time waster unless you are Architectural Digest or Gourmet Traveller.

All Photos styled by Vicki Archer and Copyright Carla Coulson

To show them you are serious you can do the following:

1. Ask the publication for a letter with your photographic story commission to show it is real!

2. Write to them with your request, explain where the magazine is published and their readership figures. Send a link to your website and attach any other publications where you work has been published.

3. Follow up, don’t be surprised if you don’t receive an email back (especially in Paris) and call if need be. Just be your charming self.

4. When shooting,  if you photograph any of the staff you will need a photo release with their permission to publish the images. Many places will also want to sign a photo release detailing where you can publish the images.

5. When the images are published send them a copy of the magazine or PDF and you will have a good contact for life.

Its worth getting the permission because if you go hoping to take images and you are asked to leave you won’t be able to fulfill your job.

Best of luck girls, I hope this helps.

I always felt that acting was an escape, like having the secret key to every door and permission to enter into any realm and soak it up. I enjoy that free pass. Edward Norton.



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10 years ago

Hmmmm…Very interesting.
Do you think it would be the same thing if you are illustrating something from a famous place? A cup, a cookie, a room?
I know this is outside your relm of photography but you never know…
I am wondering…
LOVE your PARIS TANGO book!♥♥♥

Heather in Arles
10 years ago

As a former actress, I love that quote!!! And how happy does it make me to see yours and Vicki’s publication? Very! Congratulations to you both.

One more thing I would love to add, for my professional photog honey, getting a press release is important not only for publication but for distribution after!

Anita Rivera
Anita Rivera
10 years ago

Dearest Sue, this is very good advice and though I am NOT or ever will be a photographer, I must remember this as I continue to venture out on my paper fashions. I have one new job designing and creating a paper wedding dress that will be in a local wedding boutique. I know that I will need to take photos of it for my resumé, and the thought ran across my mind that I will need permission to take shots of this shop window as I seek to promote my work.

I knew Vicki was a successful author, but to know as well that she is a stylist for such gorgeously choreographed photos is wonderful news to me! LOVELY WORK MY DEAR and thank you! Anita

10 years ago

I just hit PRINT! You answered many of the questions I just sent you last night. Merci darlin’,

The letter from the magazine is what I need I see. I’m on it!

And you and V are a well oiled fabulousness machine now. What a team.

peggy braswell
10 years ago

Great informative information.

10 years ago

Ah–these green and white photographs. Fantastico!!!!! Thanks, too, Carla, for the tips about permissions.