The stage: an important football match in high school, and you arrive to get pictures of the opening start for both your stock file and a task. You leave as soon as you get the pictures - so you have no reason to pay admission. You enter at a side gate and you are greeted by a companion with an officious, "Where do you think you are going?" expression.

You will not let this guy steal precious minutes from you, so you try to ignore him. You walk right past him. "Please wait!" he says, offended that you have not acknowledged his significance. He has the right to detain you, and he does - long enough for you to miss the kick-off shots.

Does that sound familiar? That is, unless you have learned this stock photographer's secret: "Officials: Handle with Care."


As stock photographers, it is rare that we can get our photos without first getting permission from someone. Security is becoming more and more tight in many sectors, and it is sometimes understandable that due to past abuse - or the increase in population - it is necessary to examine who takes pictures of what. You will encounter officials in many forms: gatekeepers, receptionists, police officers, bureaucrats, teachers, secretaries, security guards. You will even encounter unofficial officials: porters, ticket visitors, spectators, relatives of officials, etc. But no matter who presents themselves as an 'official' (barrier) to your photo shoot, handle them carefully and allocate one the time you sense will calm their "need" to detain you.

One of the easiest officials-eliminators is the statement "I need your help". In the case of the football gate attendant, you say, "Can you help me? I need to get a picture of the kick-off (you look at your watch) to _______ (your assignment or publication name) - can you tell me the fastest way to The 50-yard line? "

If an official wants to know something about you - why you are here, what the images will be used for [by the way - here is the answer to one: "I represent the John Doe Stock Photo Agency - and I am John Doe - these images go in in my online gallery with over 3,000 stock photos - they are used in magazines, books, posters, calendars, textbooks, you name it! "- (smile)] - explain everything to the official, the same as you would to the company management, you might plan to photograph. Often, secretaries want to know more about the boss's schedule, responsibilities, etc. than he or she does. It is also wise to cultivate officials who can have access to information that is useful for your image capture.

When you come across a non-cooperative official - try to offer to give him / her a copy of the photo you need to take. But do not take his / her name on a piece of paper. Such papers either get lost or add to your office work. Instead, offer him your business card and say, "Here's my address. Write or email me in about two weeks - the picture will be processed before then." Experience predicts that you will never hear from him / her.


Do you need to bring a press card? For large, important events, written permission from headquarters is your best introduction to on-site officials (headquarters usually issues its own press cards, introductory letters, tags, stickers, etc.). But for the 999 other events you attend, officials do not ask for a press card - if you have two or more cameras (around your neck), it's officially enough for them. If you do not have extra cameras, buy a pair of professional (inoperative) cameras at a flea market. They are your passport to most public events you want to photograph for more information click here

Author's Bio: 

Cut through the red ribbon