Did you know that if you want to take a photograph in a Chicago park you need a permit?
A while back I was doing a portrait for a friend in Wicker Park, When a person came up and said that commercial photography in Chicago parks were not allowed. I asked, “What makes you think that this is a commercial photo shoot?”. Answer: “Because you are using a tripod”
Well, I knew non-commercial was allowed (and even carried a printed copy of the law in my bag) I told the person this was not a commercial shoot. That was true. I was shooting this for a friend. I stated that I was not getting paid. The young lady was not getting paid and that the photos were for personal use only (she wanted a nice portrait for her web site). It just happened that I liked to use a tripod.
We finished our shoot.
At some point since then, they must have changed the law. Turns out that now, commercial or non-commercial you need a permit. By non-commercial, they are basically saying No Weddings, but by not specifying it as “Retail” (ie: weddings, portrait) photography. They are covering ALL photography.
Feel like taking a photograph at Millennium Park? Hope your camera doesn’t “look” too professional. You will be removed.
The other day John Harrington wrote a blog post “New York City Photo Shoot Permits – Get Over It” in which he states that if you are shooting professionally then think of it as a cost of doing business (CODB). I agree with John. What I don’t agree with is the poor language written in to the Chicago law. I also have to say that without giving the people who enforce these rules with a clear definition of what makes a photo shoot Commercial, Retail or Hobbyist. Then the law is moot.
FYI: These days I carry around a Eye Screw with a length of cord attached. This makes a great old school alternative to a tripod/monopod. Just screw the bolt to the tripod mount on your camera and stand on the other end of the rope. Pull taunt and viola a steady way to hold your camera
Oh and point of order, as far as I can see, DuPage county does not require permits for Commercial, Retail or any photography
The Photo at top is of Jules Cordet, Taken at Humbolt Park without a permit. The Revolution will be Photographed
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