IN THE FIELD: Asking Permission

There are a lot of great photographic opportunities out there. All you have to do is ask.

And I’ve gotten really good at the asking part. You can too.

This past spring, I had stopped in at a local garden center to see what they had available to add to our gardens this year. Their flower displays were outstanding and I knew this would be a great site to shoot. But before I even got the camera out, I found the manager and asked him if I could take some photographs. I explained that I was a photographer and I would really enjoy being able to capture all that wonderful color. He was pleased to think his shop had gotten my attention, and was more than happy to allow me access.

I offered him prints of my photographs, if he would like them, as a courtesy for giving me permission to shoot. Since I was there early in the morning before they were busy with customers, and I had asked in advance, I had free reign of the entire location. I was there almost two hours, and got some shots that I am very happy with.

A few weeks ago, I popped into a historic forge located near my house that was used for making pig iron in the 18th & 19th centuries. I have lost track of the number of times I had passed by this site, and this day I thought I would finally check it out. I walked around for a few minutes and realized there was a lot of potential there.

I found the person in charge, told him who I was and what I wanted to do. Again, since I asked first, I had complete access to the entire property. I was able to photograph the restored buildings, old equipment and stone walls, the surrounding gardens and even the archeological dig areas. And I got a standing invitation to come back whenever I wanted.

So, the moral of my story is this: It is critical that you ask permission first. Especially if you are in a place that is not public domain.

Think of it this way…if you ask permission of someone the way you would want to be asked, most people will grant you access. Show them the respect you would like to have for your property. If you were walking up your driveway to get your mail one afternoon and a person driving or walking by asked you if they could take a picture of the hydrangea on your property that just came into bloom…most likely, you would grant them permission.

Unless you are a curmudgeon. And when you come across one of those…walk away quickly and quietly.

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  1. April 4, 2012 at 8:27 am

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