Public places now demand a permit, obey or face court and fines

Jun 9, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Public places now demand a permit, obey or face court and fines

Jun 9, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Shooting in public places is generally allowed and you shouldn’t have any problems with the authorities. However, if you plan a photo shoot in the City of Laguna Beach, whether commercial or non-commercial, be ready to file for a permit. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay a fine.

A photographer recently had a photoshoot on the beach, when a ranger approached him. It turned out he needed a permit to take shots, although he was shooting in a public place. A friend of the photographer, Thien Dinh, shared the story with us. Considering this is one of his favorite shooting locations, this affects him too, as well as many other photographers.

As Thien tells DIYP, his friend had a photo shoot using Canon 1DXII & 70-200 II, along with an assistant with OCF lighting and softbox. The ranger stopped him and asked for a permit, and issued him a citation. So now he’ll have to appear in court and pay a fine.

On the City of Laguna Beach’s website, there is information about the photo permits they require. You need one both for commercial and non-commercial photo shoots, and the price ranges from $100 for 2 hours of non-commercial shooting, to $590 for commercial. What’s more, you’ll need to file for a permit to shoot practically anywhere, that is, on any property that belongs to Laguna Beach: parks, beaches, streets, sidewalks, and buildings. The only thing you don’t need the permit is if you shoot at private properties that don’t belong to the city. Although, in this case, you’ll still probably need a permission from the property owners.

Now, I know permits are required at certain locations, but this is the first time I’ve heard you need them to shoot in a public place. I was also pretty shocked by the price. I kinda can understanding for commercial shoots, if they include closing a part of the location for the public while the shooting lasts. But as for non-commercial shoots, this makes me wonder about all the possible situations when an officer can approach you and ask if you have the permission. I mean, you may want to take photos of your kids in a public park and need to ask for the permission. It just sounds ridiculous.

So photographers, if you plan to do a shoot in Laguna Beach, have this in mind. You can either file ch, have this in mind. You can either file for an official permit, or choose another public location where you can take photos without any legal obstacles. In case you want to shoot there, how do you plan to handle this? Is it viable for you to pay for the permit, or you would rather change the location?

[photo courtesy of Thien Dinh and used with permission, you can find more of his work on Instagram]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

124 responses to “Public places now demand a permit, obey or face court and fines”

  1. Viggo Næss Avatar
    Viggo Næss

    I think it’s absolutely RIDICULOUS, and I’m so glad I don’t live where I’m restricted like this. What’s next I don’t get to look where I want?

    1. Tory L. Stephens Avatar
      Tory L. Stephens

      To be honest there are a lot of areas that people do not realize require permits for commercial use. Most State run Lands require commercial permits for use by Photographers, National Parks Require a Permit for commercial use. I live in Montana and there are a lot of Public Lands I would have to have a required Permit to do a Commercial Photo Shoot on

  2. Scott Kraft Avatar
    Scott Kraft

    Sounds like something that could be fought in a higher court. I think this restriction violates laws on a constitutional level. Sounds like a job for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

  3. KC Avatar

    I never thought of it, and I live in a small historic town now. Photo/video in public spaces is a given. However, I can see where there’s a “boundary”. I’d make a call to the local parks department, or whatever non-profit is handling the area. If you’re carrying more than a camera and (maybe) a tripod, and have people posing, it’s going to look like a commercial shoot. There’s public and “public”.

    When I lived in New York City, I’ve run across photo/video shoots that were disruptive to anyone else wanting to enjoy the public space. NYC is very into permits for just about anything. You probably need a permit to get a permit. And insurance.

    1. David Hovie Avatar
      David Hovie

      Some folks are getting really mad. I had several times to take an insurance on an insurance. Not far from my hometown there is a village where photography is forbidden. You can’t even get a permit…

      1. Madara Avatar

        They probably forbid dancing too ;-)

      2. JustMe Avatar

        Where in the world is THIS village???

        1. David Hovie Avatar
          David Hovie

          In central Europe. The fine is only 10€ though, so if I would want to take a photograph, I’d take the risk. ;)

  4. Fred Oufredo Avatar
    Fred Oufredo

    Nothing new here. New York City require a permit too according the location. Or doesn’t allow tripod for instance.
    In this case I do think the safety is not their priority but money is.

  5. Greg Henry Avatar
    Greg Henry

    There are plenty of other places to take your tourism dollars then. If I knew about this ahead of time I would definitely avoid the area and go somewhere else up the coast.

  6. Karen Padilla Avatar
    Karen Padilla

    They will find that tourism will take a sharp plunge because if you can’t take family photos or travel photos what’s reason for going there? I’m certainly not going to any location where I am not allowed to take photos. I’m a travel writer. A travel story without photos isn’t that popular. Let me guess who wrote that rule. A public place is a public place and if people can sit in the park they should be able to take photos in the park, on the beach or anywhere in public. It’s a rule that needs to be challenged. Sounds a lot like restricting my creativity and my freedom of speech by making me pay $$$$ to take a photo in their town. Yep, what do they want to make sure we don’t accidentally photograph while in their town?

    1. Johan Saarela Avatar
      Johan Saarela

      For family vacationphotos you don’t usually have a tripod and a assistent with a strobe running around

      1. Phantommxr Avatar

        I do…my assistant is my wife or kiddo…lol
        If you are going to do it go as big as you can and frame the evidence later!!

      2. catiekitten Avatar

        I do too! And frankly a LOT of my colleagues who are photographers take at least a tripod and a couple good cameras with them wherever they go. I have one in my car at all times.

      3. Robert Teed Avatar
        Robert Teed

        I Do!

    2. Karen Padilla Avatar
      Karen Padilla

      They said you will have pay for any photos taken anywhere in public professional or not.

    3. Tory L. Stephens Avatar
      Tory L. Stephens

      the Permit is required for Commercial Photo shoots only, If you are there to make money off the photos you take then yes a permit is required. A tourist would only be taking pictures of family and would not be required to get a permit

      1. Leslie Archer Avatar
        Leslie Archer

        “Non-commercial still photo permits are for family portraits and engagement/wedding type photo shoots only and do not apply to model/actor portfolios, advertising, catalogs, for-sale merchandise or other commercially defined film shoots.” so by this which is from the city… yes, ANY photo shoot is charged a fee.

        1. Tory L. Stephens Avatar
          Tory L. Stephens

          Yes, and any Family Portrait or Wedding/Engagement Photo is still considered Commercial Photography, anytime a Photographer is taking a Photo with the intent to make money is considered “commercial”

          1. Brian Hawkins Avatar
            Brian Hawkins

            Laguna Beach very clearly states they require permits for both commercial AND non-commercial photography. That means all photography requires a permit, even that iPhone snap of your unicorn latte.

          2. Astro Landscapes Avatar
            Astro Landscapes

            Fake news, Brian Hawkins. Call the Laguna Beach permit office and get the truth directly from them if you don’t believe me, of course.

            “Non-Commercial” is a misnomer. What Tory described is, in fact, the truth. “Commercial” is for if you’re filming a movie or TV show or something, and “non-commercial” is for small-time self-employed pros who are doing nothing but setting up a couple flashes at sunset.

          3. Tory L. Stephens Avatar
            Tory L. Stephens

            Thank You Astro Landscapes, It is nice to have someone who is Local back up what I was saying…

            I live in Montana and we too have many places like the Beaches that do in fact require permits to shoot commercially. These laws however do not apply to those like myself who are there to shoot wildlife or landscape photos. The wording of Laguna Beach’s permit does leave reason to doubt and yes could be taken that a permit was needed to take a I phone Photo of a Unicorn Latte..

        2. catiekitten Avatar

          So, what about a family shoot of your own family? I mean, there are photographers out there who take their own photographs of their own kids. It would technically be a photo shoot, it would technically be non commercial…
          Can I not bring my tripod and my talent out to get photos of my own kids – because Im a ‘professional’?

      2. Honeycuttphotograpy MobileAlab Avatar
        Honeycuttphotograpy MobileAlab

        Tory I wish you were correct. Unfortunately you are wrong:

        Non-Commercial Still Photo Permit

        This permit is intended for limited use, single camera shoots such as
        FAMILY portraits, HOLIDAY CARDS, etc. The fee is $100 for 2 hours plus
        $50 for each additional hour.

        Commercial Photo Permit

        This permit is for commercial photo, video and motion shoots. The application fee is $150 plus a $440 daily use fee.

        1. Tory L. Stephens Avatar
          Tory L. Stephens

          I have read the Laguna Beach film permit, to the City of Laguna Beach a Commercial Shoot is a large production, say for example Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition.

          Anytime a Photographer is being paid to shoot a portrait that is technically a Commercial shoot, however, in the eyes of the city of Laguna Beach it is considered a “Non-Commercial” due to the fact those types of Shots will not likely be used by Major Marketing Firms for commercial purposes.

          Your average tourist would not have to worry about permits because they are not there to make money on the photos they took

    4. Dale Kobetich Avatar
      Dale Kobetich

      not only making you pay to shoot but how much time you have and shhot when they want??? No shooting between 5pm and 8pm….Sunset time !!!!

    5. catiekitten Avatar

      Sound like a great article for where NOT to travel! Maybe someone who writes about traveling – hint hint – will take up the cause!

  7. Tommy Bordenkircher Avatar
    Tommy Bordenkircher

    i can understand it if you’re bringing in gear that limits others access to the area, like lighting rigs and tripods, but for your average shooter, carrying just a camera, looking for a decent instagram shot, this is bullshit.

  8. jason bourne Avatar
    jason bourne

    To hell with Laguna Beach.

  9. Ed Selby Avatar
    Ed Selby

    soooooo – will the rangers issue citations to the casual beach goers and “regular people” taking snaps of their day out or vacation?

    1. Adam Sternberg Avatar
      Adam Sternberg

      Vacationers don’t usually show up with assistants, lights and models though

      1. Liam Strain Avatar
        Liam Strain

        Then the distinction needs to be better defined in the statute. Currently, there is nothing in the law which prevents them from issuing a citation to anyone with a camera.

      2. catiekitten Avatar

        Unless the person on vacation IS a photographer. I go with tripods, lights, and my husband/son could look like Ive hired an assistant.

        1. Adam Sternberg Avatar
          Adam Sternberg

          You go on vacation with a light kit, camera gear, and tripods? Wow. SMH

          1. Robert Teed Avatar
            Robert Teed

            I take a Nikon D7000 and a D90, Gopro, Drone and two video cameras. Two tall tripods, One vintage 12″ tall tripod, camera bag, Wife (Model) assistants…kids,Friends or sometimes even my workers.

    2. Robert Teed Avatar
      Robert Teed

      If Not then they are showing discrimination!

  10. Alexandre Bettencourt Avatar
    Alexandre Bettencourt

    If it’s a public place, it makes no sense. It just feels like a greedy move to get more dollars from DSLR and drone enthusiasts. Which begs the question: if I’m using my cell phone to take pictures, would I be fined too? Or is it a double-standard?

    1. Amber Brown Avatar
      Amber Brown

      I believe so since they have two types of permits, non-commercial ($100) and commercial (I think it said $595 or something)

    2. Alexandre Bettencourt Avatar
      Alexandre Bettencourt

      That’s just asking for trouble. I wonder how they will ever enforce this since everybody’s got a camera in their pocket these days and aren’t afraid of using it. And I would especially like to see what would happen between a DSLR and a phone photographer if a cop was around.

  11. BlimpCam Avatar

    I’m all for keeping the place accessible and not ruined by the self righteous pros or maybe even the advanced armatures with tripods, reflectors and equipment. But a casual shutterbug even with a high end camera should be able to make an image without his or her wallet emptied or ensnalred in the court system. This is probably spearheaded by the residents who feel it’s exclusively all theirs and don’t want the great unwashed infiltrating their private paradise. Thurston and Lovey unavailable for comment.

  12. Jimmy Harris Avatar
    Jimmy Harris

    You are protected by the first amendment against laws like this. It may have passed as a local ordinance, but it won’t withstand a challenge to a higher court. I’d contact the ACLU if I was this guy. It may be too costly to challenge this law on your own, but the ACLU may decide to take up your case.

    1. Ben D Avatar
      Ben D

      Actually, the First Ammendment does not cover this. It does not cover the needing of permits to photograph on public property. It’s no different than a concert organizer needing a permit for a concert. They are covering their butts in case someone gets hurt. The photographer would have to show proof of insurance more than likely. How many photographers do you know that don’t have their own insurance? I know plenty and hate it. Do I like that I would have to get a permit, no…I would more than likely shoot elsewhere or pass on the cost. Laws like this get passed because something bad has happened in the past. In the last year in my area photographers have destroyed items in parks, used paint balloons that stain, used real glitter in fountains that short the lights out, and burned down a very famous building with steel wool spinners. Don’t like the fee, but understand it.

      1. Jimmy Harris Avatar
        Jimmy Harris

        With a concert, you’re overtaking public land and closing it off from the public. A permit would be required to close off a section of the beach for photographs. Basically anything that might impede the daily lives of others could require a permit. But just taking photos on public land is covered by the 1st Amendment’s right to freedom of press. So I guess it all depends on the size and scope of the shoot.

        1. Tory L. Stephens Avatar
          Tory L. Stephens

          If you are taking a picture of a person that is paying you to take those pictures it is commercial, the permits are required on Commercial venues no matter what on Public Property, but if you are just out with your family them no permit is required to take pictures

      2. Robert Teed Avatar
        Robert Teed

        I Call BS! Know your rights. If your on PUBLIC property you can shoot. Also I don’t think it matters if your a person or a company. Our tax moneys purchased the public spaces, We own it!

  13. Kevin Blackburn Avatar
    Kevin Blackburn

    I see all sides of this and the fees are crazy and this is a pretty cruddy thing for the municipality to do. I am guessing in general this town is not small business friendly and not just towards photogs. I have seen this be the case in many many places and it is only going to get worse I guess public space really isnt public space anymore.

    1. Pet_Photog_909 Avatar

      Actually LB is a town that supposedly supports artists & photographers. Ever hear of the Festival of Arts or the Sawdust Festival? Both are right off Broadway as you enter LB from the inland. I find it quite ironic that they require permits but push artists & photographers as they’re a big source of LB’s money.

  14. Karl D. Schubert Avatar
    Karl D. Schubert

    Many places have required this in the past. For example, a permit is required on the US Capitol grounds (in Washington, DC) and other such places:

    I was once on the grounds, photographing at night with a tripod (the key reason I needed a permit, as it turns out), and Capitol Police came by and asked to see my permit. Fortunately, I had it close at hand.

    1. Mark Avatar

      So I would have to pay as an amateur photog just to do a night landscape? to tell with that, not worth it.

      1. Karl D. Schubert Avatar
        Karl D. Schubert

        In this case, I don’t recall that it cost any money — or, it was a truly nominal amount. The key was that they wanted to know who was going to be there and for what reason and when.

  15. TByte Avatar

    Anybody else notice that they have the balls to be sponsoring a photo contest?


    1. Pet_Photog_909 Avatar

      Doesn’t surprise me. LB exists because of artists. How ironic that they require a permit.

    2. David Farmer Avatar
      David Farmer

      But they say there is No entry fee for this contest. Seems to me they forgot about the permit fee.

    3. Anthony Avatar

      Its A Sting… Anyone who will submit their work will then be ask for their permit, then gotcha!!!!

  16. George Avatar

    Laguna seems to like to exclude interlopers more and more from their little fiefdom. Fine by me, I will let them lose out on me paying for parking, paying sales tax and restaurants benefiting from me, my family and friends eating there. Goodbye Snobhill, there are other places that are within driving distance that aren’t trying to drive me away.

  17. phpic tures Avatar
    phpic tures

    Please define, legally, the term “Photoshoot”….then we can find the loopholes.

    1. Tory L. Stephens Avatar
      Tory L. Stephens

      Most permits are for Commercial Shoots involving a Model or client being the center of the Shoot

      1. phpic tures Avatar
        phpic tures

        No problem with getting a permit for commercial activity.
        Do have a problem with me being stopped as a private photographer shooting around town for my own pleasure or on a journalism gig

  18. 11eleveneleven11 Avatar

    LOTS of cities require permits for paid photography. This one is pretty expensive, but still. It’s a thing.

    1. landshark123 Avatar

      Only for professionals.

    2. Brian Hawkins Avatar
      Brian Hawkins

      Yes, but this is for UNPAID photography, too. ALL photography requires a permit; even iPhone shots of your quinoa breakfast.

  19. Kári Jensson Avatar
    Kári Jensson

    As I don’t live there I would come as a tourist shoot & leave without paying.

  20. wfrederic Avatar

    Does this include cell phones? So glad I retired.

  21. andersonimage Avatar

    It’s actually even worse than this. Laguna Beach resides in Orange County. OC requires its own annual permit to photograph in any of its parks/beaches. That’s another $150/year. However the LB permit totally sucks as it stipulates, “… and lighting equipment are not permitted at any location. Only one hand held or one camera on a tripod may be used.” Bye bye LB. You’re not THAT worth it.

    1. Astro Landscapes Avatar
      Astro Landscapes

      It’s for the protection of the tidepool wildlife, which has been severely damaged / decimated in recent years because of both tourists with tripods and pros with light stands, and even tourists in general, wandering all over the tide pools.

      1. Jason Cole Avatar
        Jason Cole

        Except for it’s not just at the tide pools, or the beach for that matter. It includes all public place. Let’s not kid ourselves this is only about money.

      2. Phantommxr Avatar

        drink the koolaid much

      3. catiekitten Avatar

        I would entirely understand, IF it said, ‘in tidal areas’ or anything of the like. It does not seem too, so maybe they should rethink the wording? I can see this becoming a major issue for a lot of photographers in and around OC.

        1. Astro Landscapes Avatar
          Astro Landscapes

          It’s already been a major issue for photographers in and around OC for about 10+ years, actually; this article is simply highlighting one recent wave of cracking-down by beach cops on one particular beach that has grown extremely popular in recent years. In fact this is not even the first crack-down on this particular beach, it’s happened before just a few summers ago.

  22. Gil Gillis Avatar
    Gil Gillis

    The government does not own LaGuna Beach. The people do. The taxes from private citizens pay for its upkeep. This is another example of how the power of government steals our freedoms. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Venezuela here we come.

  23. Herb Leventon Avatar
    Herb Leventon

    Really well written, interesting article. Elitism in action.

    1. Astro Landscapes Avatar
      Astro Landscapes

      Well-written, maybe, but NOT fact-checked. (Nobody called the Laguna Beach permit office to clarify what “Non-Commercial” means.) ;-)

      1. Mick Giovanni Orsi Avatar
        Mick Giovanni Orsi

        That may be true but I submit to you that if LB should have taken the time to look in the dictionary. If you are going to make a statement fine but if you are going to make a law then these nuances matter. If what you say is true, and I have no reason to doubt, then LB should really change this to better reflect the intent. With out having the exact wording of this regulation in front of me it seems like they “could” say no to any if they up arbitrarily choose to. That also is not a good thing. Laws should not be ambiguous. And you should not have to call to find out what a word means to the group that posted the law. But it’s nice to know that I probably won’t be accosted for taking pictures of the sunset…

        1. Astro Landscapes Avatar
          Astro Landscapes

          Yes, the terminology and nuances SHOULD be clarified.

          I think the reason they’ve left it ambiguous for now is so that they can use their own discretion when giving out tickets.

          In the case of this article, it was clearly a pro photographer, and so they deserve the ticket.

          When it is not actually a pro, OR when it is someone trying to lie to the beach cops and insist that there’s no money being transacted, that is when the beach cop’s discretion comes into play.

          But, police discretion and ticket-writing is a whole different beast, one that plagues every aspect of our lives in Southern California.

          It’d be nice to have more clearly written terms, though.

  24. Sebastian Avatar

    Haha, this is ridiculous. What they gonna charge Billy the talented 16yr old $100 to take sunset picture of the Victoria beach tower? Hahahaha. I’m sure tha ACLU will take such a case the more cites are trying to ban photography. For now… I don’t go there. And according to their own permits a family portrait is non-commercial, but a headshot would be commercial! Yeah cause an actor can pay the additional $400+150 fees plus when he or she just got a 2 hour session. Sure. Newport Beach, Dana Point isn’t too far away. Lol.

    1. Pet_Photog_909 Avatar

      Exactly! But the whole state of California is getting awfully stuffy. It seems to small businesses, large or small. If it keeps taxing people, there won’t be any income, & the whole state will collapse due to the weight of the state government.

    2. Tory L. Stephens Avatar
      Tory L. Stephens

      Permits are only required on Commercial Shoots, for the Landscape Photographer who is not there with a Client they most likely would not have to worry.

      1. Brian Hawkins Avatar
        Brian Hawkins

        No, it clearly states NON-commercial shoots require a $100 permit. Commercial shoot permits are $590.

  25. landshark123 Avatar

    Does this also mean the press need to get / pay for a permit to do their job? If so, the ACLU will have a field day over this.

  26. lefty_lib1 Avatar

    This is complete b.s. Laguna Beach found a way to profit immensely from what has always been free for any person to do, privately or professionally. You won’t get that money from anyone who knows there’s plenty of ocean to view from somewhere else! #Lagunaain’tspecial.

  27. abird Avatar

    Though I agree this is ridiculous, on the flip side, I do hope this limits the “guerrilla photographer” who acts as if this public spot is theirs alone. Having been to this very spot with my family, I’ve run into more than one photographer who has yelled and me and others for inadvertantly being in their shot. It’s like being at Disneyland and getting mad at everyone who’s in the background of your family photo. (I concede it’s not a fair comparison but you get the idea.)

    1. Astro Landscapes Avatar
      Astro Landscapes

      Yup, this is exactly why the beach cops show up. It got very, VERY bad at “Little Corona” beach just a few miles north of here, about 10 years ago. Pro photogs would shoot back-to-back-to-back family sessions on the beach, and stake out their spots all afternoon, and yell at any tourists who wandered into “their” background. They’d argue with other pros for the best spots. That’s why it now costs $400 or so for a permit to shoot there. The pros spoiled it for themselves, and for the “aspiring pros” who unfortunately would also get ticketed because the cops have no way of believing you if you try to say “honest, officer, these folks aren’t paying me to take their picture! I just bring a tripod and light stand and soft box to ALL my family / friends outings!”

      People don’t understand how bad it’s getting in Laguna Beach. It’s BAD. The rocky tide pools you see in the photos above are (were) all teeming with wildlife, anemones, urchins, crabs, sea stars, and all sorts of living creatures. These beaches are not just public beaches for sunning and playing in the waves, there’s also a LOT of protected wildlife refuge lands there.

    2. Robert Teed Avatar
      Robert Teed

      I never tell anyone to get out of the shot. If its a public place I just wait until they are out of the shot or I move.

  28. OnSiteStudios Avatar

    I’d spend my days photographing elected city officials whenever and wherever they appear in public.

  29. Donald Giannatti Avatar
    Donald Giannatti

    Well, now we know how they are gonna pay for that free healthcare.

  30. aj davis Avatar
    aj davis

    fake news they wouldn’t be that hella stupid to do that

  31. Brian J Avatar
    Brian J

    I live in Canada. Good luck getting me to court for something so asinine.

  32. Julie Anderson Avatar
    Julie Anderson

    I have a wedding to shoot on the beach just outside the hotel that is hosting the wedding in July. Do I still need a permit?

  33. Steve Bigler Avatar
    Steve Bigler

    Note the citation “commercial photography”… note the poster… a wedding guy…

    Making money shooting weddings IS COMMERCIAL. Note the story “OCF” off camera flash… I doubt mom and pop taking snaps of the seals are getting a ticket… or do they have a crew and make-up artist hiding in a cove or an assistant holding bounce cards or multiple radio controlled flashes on sticks…

  34. Jörg Liedtke Avatar
    Jörg Liedtke

    So bye bye Laguna Beach, just lost a visitor. I can´t believe it. Some Spots, ok, but in the whole area? No way.

  35. LW Avatar

    This isn’t done to screw anyone over — pretty much the opposite.

    I don’t live anywhere near Laguna Beach, but it used to be as I rode through various parks in our area, the hiking/biking trails would be frequently blocked by photo shoots — family portraits, wedding photos and the like.

    I understand the impulse to say, “hey, free studio!” but when it becomes a nuisance to other park users (or damaging to fragile environments, as someone else noted), there needs to be a way to crack down.

    They’re not going to fine someone for taking pictures of their kids as they’re using the park. Unless you bust out with a tripod and reflectors.

  36. James Wallace Avatar
    James Wallace

    I grew up in Laguna, graduated from High School there, decades ago (go Artists!). It transformed from a quirky artist actor getaway in the 60’s to the bloated poser mating ground of now. I still have a home there. I rent it out. Glad somebody wants to live there, I certainly don’t anymore. The city is so full of itself, with all kinds foolish regulations, boards, commissions and so on. These are all comprised of the worst possible condo committee type loudmouths. You can’t park anywhere, if your a resident, you have to buy a parking permit on top of your bloated tax rates. There are only a few places worth eating there anymore, the others charge astronomical prices for poorly prepared food, come on $40 for a plate of pasta! Don’t even think of swimming in that water without checking the local boards for bacteria counts beach by beach. Surfers are getting strange skin rashes and the seafood is toxic.

    In a half hearted defense of the city. There are way to many wedding photographers and the associated troops comprised of wedding parties sitting on your lawn and walking through your yard. Most of these folks are fine. Some of these groups are loud, rude and quite offensive. Since they believe, we are a wedding party, we can do anything we want. And yes it gets old to see the umpteenth at the beach wedding performed by some clown in a ridicules outfit with a circle of giggling drunk fools. Think if this was in your neighborhood on your street every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 52 weeks a year. Oh, it also gets old having people knock on your door asking to use your bathroom because they drank too much.

  37. Gary Sebben Avatar
    Gary Sebben

    This guy should have been fined for taking some tacky AF photos. Bleh.

  38. David Farmer Avatar
    David Farmer

    Will they require permits for painters too?

  39. David Farmer Avatar
    David Farmer

    Please tell me what the permit fee will be for those out there painting or drawing landscapes?

  40. Roberta Avatar

    How is this legal? What rational basis does the City have except for we need the money. What use rights do people have in public areas? Admission can be charged for obvious reasons (maintenance fees, etc). Once admission is paid, haven’t we paid for the right to use the area? If there is no admission charge, doesn’t the local and state taxes support local and state parks?
    And why only photographers? What about surfers, volleyball players, picnickers, swimmers? Why not charge them for their use. How can the City single out one group of people? This needs to be stopped in its tracks. Can’t have cities create a stream of revenue on the backs of photographers. Ridiculous.

  41. Avatar

    Could care less about Laguna Beach. Never shot there and now never will. Sounds like a bitchy little place…

  42. Positive Image Avatar
    Positive Image

    This is nothing new around public beaches e.i. Venice, Santa Monica, etc…. We’ve been getting permits for a years. Normally, there is no permit required if you’re just a casual shooter with only a camera and bare speed-light flash. Bring extra photography equipment and a permit is required because you’ve gone from casual to commercial/pro. I believe that the cities have decided to start really enforcing the rules/laws on photography in public places 1. because of drones, 2. for safely/liability and 3. monetary($$$ of course). I don’t have time to cover this topic in it’s entirety so here’s the site to answer your questions and obtain photography/film permits in the Greater Los Angeles Areas. Happy Shooting! :)

  43. Vasha Hunt Avatar
    Vasha Hunt

    I won’t be visiting Orange County. Ever. Guess they don’t need my vacation dollars.

  44. Steve Avatar

    This information is incorrect and misleading. I work in LA for years and you must not have any stands or tripods holding gear while shooting if you want to avoid this. Lights, camera etc… must be on the person themselves. If not, you then must have a permit for the light stands, tripods etc… If you guys are going to post articles and least find out all the facts before posting half ass information.

    1. Robert Teed Avatar
      Robert Teed

      Does same law account for umbrellas,beach chairs,coolers and anything else your going to set on the ground? GET IT!

      1. Steve Avatar

        Nope. Its specific to taking pics.But feel free to go try and convince the police about what you said. They just might make people get permits for that as well. ?

  45. Ant Tony Gregory Avatar
    Ant Tony Gregory

    My favorite T-shirt say’s… “Don’t Californicate Colorado”… Keep all those IDIOT Ideas and rules there please… Sadly we already have a “Cancer” of that idiocy established on the front range in the “Federal Republic of Boulder”… Can’t you keep them in your “Sanctuary Cities”… they gather here in large numbers preaching their poison and passing out Kool-Aid like a Jimmy Jones wannabe… this all comes with a very distinct odor… “like the smell coming from the south end of a northbound bull”….

  46. VeraEleganza Avatar

    California politicians are the biggest idiots and no common sense people on the planet….

  47. Phantommxr Avatar

    Vote the city Representatives out and put someone that supports our hobby and profession and tax dollars in to correct it…

  48. Phil Agur Avatar
    Phil Agur

    I’m going to need a bigger drone!

  49. David Lee Avatar
    David Lee

    i would totally sponsor a bus full of japanese tourists with their high end cameras and see if they have the balls to fine each and every one of them.

  50. Bill Avatar

    They can piss off.

  51. Michael Harris Avatar
    Michael Harris

    Simple, join the NPPA, press association. When you’re confronted by law enforcement show your NPPA credentials and say this: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the PRESS

  52. redjelly39 Avatar

    They cannot detain you or fine you. Its a public place – there are very limited restrictions and a permit is not needed. Know your rights. This permit is not required and is indeed illegal.

  53. NuyaBizness Avatar

    California, Where even the views can be taxed. SMH

  54. Andrew Munster Avatar
    Andrew Munster

    come photograph on Queensland Australia beaches all you is a permit and not take photos of children on the beach, for child safety reasons.

  55. Aaron Moore Avatar
    Aaron Moore

    Can’t believe you guys didn’t post the update of this story? City officials recently gave a response.

  56. suruha Avatar

    I think I’ll just stay in Florida.

  57. SnapShotAJ Avatar

    Screw Laguna Beach

  58. Eddie Conna Avatar
    Eddie Conna

    Absolutely ridiculous, and probably not even LEGAL. I’m betting this violates some serious constitutional rights… For example, you have the legal right to film government officials who are in public, and working in a public capacity. Courts have aleady determined this is your 1st ammendment right!

  59. Astro Landscapes Avatar
    Astro Landscapes

    For all the folks who were freaking out about the term “Non-Commercial”, …I TOLD YOU SO.

    (It’s still $100 for paid photo shoots, by the way, despite the utterly misleading title of the article.)

  60. Wayne Ross Avatar
    Wayne Ross

    It goes deeper than that. I was shooting outside of famed Jay Maisel’s studio in NYC some years back. The walls of his studio ( once a bank I think) were covered in graffiti and begged for a shutter release or 2. I was more interested in the expression of passers-by. Now, as many of you may know, Jay Maisel is well known for his candid street shots in NYC in addition to his portraiture of the famous. He’s good at what he does. I just find it ironic that he and the police have a problem with shleps like me getting some candids near his own place.

  61. Dale Hardin Avatar
    Dale Hardin

    I shoot all the time at Laguna beach and have never been approached. Of course I’m not using assistants and a bunch of lighting gear. But on occasion have used a tripod.

  62. Steven Lam Avatar
    Steven Lam

    how much is the fine?

  63. Brent Mills Avatar
    Brent Mills

    It’s a bit out of date, but there is a nice breakdown of the DOI rules here:

    A more up-to-date resource seems to say the same thing here:

    Based on this, it looks like you shouldn’t be required to pay for a permit for things like portrait sessions as they aren’t for a commercial purpose (an ad, a catalog, etc.). Besides that, they seem to be concerned about land be blocked off, structures / props being erected, and park resources (rangers, staff, etc.) being required to support the shoot.

    I would absolutely contact the ACLU and see if this rule can actually be enforced.

  64. danny izzo Avatar
    danny izzo

    Just out of curiosity, what is their definition of “commercial” and “non-commercial”?

  65. Jenny Simon Avatar
    Jenny Simon

    This is two years ago is there an update on this?