Today is the last day to register with the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to speak out at the hearing on June 3rd against charging fees for all still photography permits. Every editorial and advertising photographer uses the type of equipment that under current rules requires a film permit from the city and up until now those seeking a permit simply were required to carry $1,000,000 in liability insurance, but the new proposal is adding a non-refundable $300.00 ‘application’ fee for every time a permit is pulled to shoot!

Read about it here.

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  1. I was wondering when the city was going to start sticking it to the still photographers. I will continue to shoot my test for free using gorilla tactics and my estimate for jobs will increase in cost by $300.

    • @bob scott, Two things to consider…first, the city has already let it be known that they will be stepping up enforcement, so your guerrilla tactics might just result in a hefty ($500+) fine, which all dovetails nicely into the second thing…..New York rental houses will undoubtedly point to the little-used clause in your rental agreement that should you have their equipment confiscated or impounded because of any fault of yours, they will keep the meter running until they get their gear back! So not only will you hafta pay the ticket, but your one-day rental might easily turn into a week or more…

    • @bob scott, I hope you mean “guerrilla tactics”.

      • @Jeff, sorry i was short text mode.

  2. and what city would that be? ;)

  3. As the corporate/state oligarchy presses it boot down more strongly on the throats of the self-employed creative class, will we compliantly slink away? This is coming to your city, folks. Or, better just to become greeters at Wal-Mart and hope for the best. America becomes an even bigger joke by the hour.

  4. From one that works with the Mayor’s office of film all the time as a location scout for film productions, this won’t affect photographers.


    You do not need a permit unless you’re holding parking and/or using lights on city property. If you are a camera with/without tripod, crew, you don’t need permit. If you want to cover your a** with a STILL permit, the filming permit, and fee, has nothing to do with the STILL permit at the MOF.

    If you do need a film permit, you need a $1,000,000 liability policy for the particular project. If you can afford that, $300 permit cost is nothing.

    People need to get the right facts and understanding of how this all work. has it wrong and just calling them and asking to talk to someone clears this up very fast.

    • I should add any equipment, grip, not just lights. And I should also add this applies even if you have trucks and just use available parking and don’t need to hold parking. It’s when you’re doing something fancy and wanting your MOHO or van in a noparking zone.

      • @ChristopherLovenguth, As I already explained to you in your comment on my blog post, you are simply uninformed and totally wrong! The Boards of Directors and Legal Counsel of EP, ASMP, APA and NPPA wouldn’t be spending so much time on this if it weren’t a real threat to our business. Just because you keep saying the same things on multiple places doesn’t make it right.

        And as for your ridiculous claim that having a $1,000,000 liability policy in any way means coughing up $300 for a shoot permit is “nothing”, once again, you are not only wrong, but proving to be completely out of touch with the realities of doing business. On an average editorial photo shoot with an entire budget of $1500, an extra $300 would be enough for any photo editor who is already watching their expenses to consider shooting indoors to avoid the permit fee. I actually work in the business you claim to know so much about and hear from photo editors every week about how they’re being forced to reduce costs. A $300 permit would be a non-starter with most of them unless it was absolutely necessary for the story.

        • @Brad Trent,

          From the actual document:

          For any activity needing a Required Permit, a New Project Account application shall be valid for the duration of continuous photography. (ii) For a television series, such application shall be valid for no more than one season. (iii) For a special event produced by a television program, including but not limited to a concert or street event involving an outdoor public audience, a separate New Project Account application shall be required. If such special event requires a Premiere Permit as set forth in chapter 8 of this title, a separate New Project Account application will not be required.

          CONTINUOUS PHOTOGRAPHY is the key here, that means filming. Please just call the mayors office and they will tell you this, it’s really that simple. This is all for nothing.

          • I made a mistake above, I meant to not use the “continuous part” in that statement but another. Of course that is meaning that it’s a one time fee for each project (what I meant to write). But I also know this has no effect on STILL permit (which are different the the film permits).

            I would also add there is a hardship clause for FILM productions, ie indie and student filming.

            A New Project Account application, when submitted in connection with a Required Permit, shall be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $300.00, paid in the form of a certified check or money order and made payable to “New York City Department of Finance.” An applicant may make a request for a waiver of such fee, which shall accompany the application when submitted. MOFTB shall have the authority to waive such fee where the applicant is able to demonstrate unreasonable hardship. The burden of demonstrating unreasonable hardship shall be on the applicant.

            Look, the office is there to help productions in the city. So many times I’ve dealt with them and gotten permission to shoot in hotspots, etc on a case-by-case basis. Again, if you’re not using light stands on the sidewalk, you don’t even need permits. If you are using equipment and it’s a still production, you get a still permit. The fee is for FILM productions. Now if you’re having and issue for those indie filmmakers out there, I’d understand, but you’re scaring photographers and this has nothing to do with photography.

      • @ChristopherLovenguth,
        A $1,000,000 business liability policy costs less than $1000 per year, so $300 per permit is exorbitant.

        • @dude,

          My $2mil policy (the default these days, I think) is about $800 and the brunt of the premium is actually based on the value of the equipment insured, as that’s covered under the policy as well. So is errors & omissions etc.

          If you’re real lightweight on gear you could insure yourself nicely for $6-700 a year

          So yes, $300 a shoot is exorbitant.

  5. The charges mentioned are already in Aust. for some locations for commercial stills, ie application fees 300, plus clearances even for local businesses in some cases, plus location time.. for a couple locations a 1 day job can cost app. A$900 for a simple set-up, 1 vehicle, no gens., no barriers etc, plus liability insurance for many years now is $10,000,000 minimum anywhere.. maybe you haven’t had it so bad to date..

  6. Hey, look on the bright side, at least they haven’t demanded you also hire a city cop for a 4 hr. minimum on top of the permit fee, like they do here in South Beach (virtually every city from Palm Beach south charges a fee of some sort for any photography involving more equipment than a tripod).

    To be honest, I’m a bit shocked that NYC didn’t have a fee up until now!

  7. Well…looks like all the work we did in testifying and making our position known was for nothing…

    “…The new fee was determined by analyzing the administrative and personnel costs incurred by MOFTB for processing the initial application page of any new project that will be subject to this New Project Account application fee of $300.00…..”

    Now I don’t doubt the MOFTB has a few budget problems, but I still can’t get over the simple fact that a major motion picture pays one $300 application fee for their entire multi-week, multi-location shoot schedule, and a guy like me who has to shoot some fat schmuck in a suit for a five-minute shoot on the sidewalk for a business publication will have to pay the same $300 fee!!!

    The new & improved rules can be seen here:

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