legalities of shooting commercial property?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Vixen, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. Vixen

    Vixen TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone. I'm totally new here so I'm sure I will probably get razzed a little for being a newb. Anyway, here is my question.
    Does anyone know what kind of legalities there are about photographing commercial property and selling the prints?

    A photo brainstorming session with my boyfriend tonight brought out this idea. We live in Alberta, Canada. As per stereotypical he works in the oilfield. I was brainstorming photo subjects and said that I could probably have a lot of fun shooting on a rig of the various equpiment and structures. He suggested that money could be made doing this. I immediately thought of contacting coporate offices and working throught them, photographing each of their rigs. He thought of going out to the individual rig sites and handing out business cards. Apparently the people that work on these rigs sometimes get kinda attached to them. They like the location, or a certain view, or something about the rig they are on. He suggested that I try to make a business out of selling prints of the rig to these people. I like the idea, I think it could work. BUT, at the same time I am not sure what the legal issues would be. I know that I can photograph the rigs for my own personal use, but I'm not sure if there would be special permissions that I would have to get in order to sell these prints...
    Anyone got any ideas for me?
    I know I should probably go talk to a lawyer about it, but at this point its just a brainstorm so I would just like to see what people think. If it ever goes anywhere I would definately go to a lawyer about it.
    Let me know what you think!
    Thanks!
     
  2. Boltthrower

    Boltthrower TPF Noob!

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    I'm not a Lawyer but most rigs are on private or government owned property. the laws are different here in the states than they are up in moose country
    Here in the states if you can view it from a street or a sidewalk you can shoot it.
     
  3. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, since I know nothing about Canadian laws on this, I can't really help, but what I know for sure is that I could never just walk into the refinery where my husband works and happily take photos there that I would later even sell. They might still be forthcoming if it only were photos for my pleasure (but I begin to doubt even this), but they would definitely be against my using photos of their plants commercially without their prior consent and detailed observation of WHAT EXACLTY I photographed, and what could be taken advantage of by competitors, should those photos ever be made public.

    What I can see from the car park outside the gates and the fence is quite something else, though. Everyone can see that with their own eyes, anyway. But photos from within :scratch: !?!?!? Certainly a no-no.
     
  4. Vixen

    Vixen TPF Noob!

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    Yah, I figured there was probably some sort of stuff like that, I just wasn't sure having never considered it before. I know my boyfriend takes pictures of the equipment, and his company's stuff all the time, but he's also an employee.
    Thanks for your help, I'll have to look into the corporate side of things maybe working directly for the company.
     
  5. John E.

    John E. TPF Noob!

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    Generally companies see someone taking photo's on their property as a potential liability and nothing of consequence in it for them. Industrial is one of my favourite genre's in photography and I have tried to gain access to sites take pictures but I have had no luck. Large companies generally have policies of no picture taking at all unless it strictly for company use and only by employies. That's not to say you can not do it, so I wish you all the luck. If you do manage please let me know how you did it.

    I generally take pictures of plants and such from public property. It is really tough to find anything about photography laws in Canada, I suspect it's up to a judges discreation. If you find anything out please share.
     
  6. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't know about Canada. In the U.S. buildings, do not have privacy rights. There is nothing illegal about shooting buildings and doing whatever you like with the images. Trespassing, of course, is illegal.
     
  7. Vixen

    Vixen TPF Noob!

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    ya its definately hard to find Canadian info on commercial photography. Industrial is definately a favourite of mine too. I'm sure I can get away with taking pictures from roads and stuff, but most rigs are not on main roads so I'll have to figure something else out for that. Anyway, if I find out some more info I will definately let you know!
    :D

    **edit**
    the other thing I was going to say is I know that the employees are allowed to take pictures. My boyfriends company gives their techs a 6 MP digital so that they can take the odd picture of their equipment, 9 times out of 10 he comes home with maybe 7-8 pictures for work, and the rest of the camera is packed full of anything else that caught his attention as snap worthy. So if I got employed by one of the companys I could probably get away with it.
     
  8. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Fascinating subject. I have yet to shoot the rigs in this area, but it is high on the list. Problem is that industrial photography is a high end business. Shooting for corporate reports etc takes a lot of gear and experience. Pays very, very well. Because of that they will not let anyone but their "own people" on the site. Press gets a strong consideration. Keep in mind that drilling is right up there with cutting down trees. These folks have an "image" to up keep. They can not allow every "Tom, Dick and Harry" on to the site.
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't know why I missed this thread....

    I love rigs...well sometimes I hate them...but I deal with them all day/every day. I work for a company that makes 'rig shelters'...frame and fabric covers for rigs and anything else. I sometimes make site visits to measure and/or inspect the rigs...and I take plenty of photos when I can. We have a salesman who's been taking photos of rigs for more than 25 years. He has a binder with many of the photos that he uses as a visual aid for sales. I just checked our digital photos...and we have just under 3500 photos.

    You are right, the rig workers do get attached to their rigs. We were at the Global Petroleum Show in Calgary and rig guys would flip through his photos and find rigs that they have worked on.

    As for just going out and shooting them...that might be tricky. I'm sure if you asked the companies, they would say no. Many of them don't follow all the rules to the letter...and a photo could be incriminating. Same with some of the workers...if you photograph them doing anything unsafe...it could cost them their job. They might be especially concerned if you were just someone who showed up to take photos. It doesn't happen very much these days...but back in the 80s, companies were very secretive about their drilling. They would buy fabric covers from our company, just to cover their activities from unfriendly eyes.

    I have a work related reason to be there...and to take photos...no one has ever had a problem with me taking photos.

    Maybe all it would take...would be for you to start a 'publication'...then if anyone asked you...you could tell them you are shooting for a story etc. Could just be a newsletter or something.

    I don't know if companies hire professional photographers to shoot their rigs or not...but just about every oilfield company that I ever been in...has several photos of their rigs or equipment, hanging on the wall. I thing that some might hire someone...but mostly they just take shots that an employee might snap. As mentioned, if you can break into 'industrial photography'...the money is said to be very good.

    Last summer/fall, I went to Kazakhstan to measure a couple rigs for winterization. It was quite the trip. I took plenty of photos and posted them up with a written account of my travels. If you'd like, I can post a link to it.
     
  10. Vixen

    Vixen TPF Noob!

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    That woudl be really cool if you could put a link up! Definately think I'll have to look into the industrial photography thing. There is a huge chance I will end up working some oil company in the next year as I'm moving to Grande Prairie and looking for office work. So maybe I'll be able to get a little more into it and see what I can find.
    Thanks for all the info everyone! :wink:
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Moving up to GP...have fun. The Peace Country is a nice place...I'd love to spend a lot of time around there...travelling and taking photos. I've heard about a book called 'The Peace'...by photographer, Donald Petit, who's been shooting for 25+ years up there...looks pretty good.

    Also, I recently picked up the inaugural issue of a magazine called 'Alberta Land and Life'...it's really good, you should check it out.

    Here is my web site/MSN community...just click on the top link to go to the Kazakhstan section.

    Also, if you haven't seen it already...some of us are planning a meet-up in the mountains this summer. Check it out...the more the merrier.
     
  12. Vixen

    Vixen TPF Noob!

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    Awesome, thanks for all the links!
    Those pics of the rigs in Kazakhstan are quite a contrast to the pictures I've seen of the rigs over here! although the camp looks the same. Those "rooms" look nicer than the ones I've seen pics of lol. They have nicer bed coverings anyway.

    Also I've found some sites of people that do industrial photography in Alberta and I'm going to contact a few of them and see if they can help me out with any legal info, or how they got into shooting it.
     

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