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When you start to present yourself as a professional photographer, you’ll be surprised how many doors will open for you. Professional photographer Efrain Padro just made arrangements for the attendees at our photography expedition in Puerto Rico this May to visit and photograph an historic lighthouse otherwise off-limits for tourists. Scroll down to find out how he gets permission to shoot in restricted areas like this including museums and other historical sites and how you can do the same… — Lori Lori Allen Director, Great Escape Publishing P.S. On assignment in Puerto Rico for Frommer’s, Efrain was on the lookout for special places off the beaten path. This lighthouse he found is really special — most people don’t even get to see inside. But coming up this May, he and professional photographer Rich Wagner will be taking our entire group there for a unique photo opportunity you can pitch to glossy magazines when you return home. They’ll also visit (and photograph) El Yunque, the only rainforest within the U.S., ocean-side castles, festival dancers, colorful Spanish colonial buildings, and more… and learn how to sell their story ideas and photographs to magazines, newspapers and guidebooks when they return. ******************* February 24, 2010 The Right Way to Travel *******************

Three Keys to Shooting in Restricted Places

by Efraín M. Padró Nowadays, with security and intellectual property concerns at the top of the list of many businesses and institutions catering to travelers, photography restrictions are more common than ever. Here are three tips for dealing with the dreaded “NO PHOTOGRAPHY” sign… ** 1. Ask before you get there. Contact the museum ahead of time, identify yourself as a photographer and explain what you need, then ask permission to photograph the museum. Make sure you contact the museum’s marketing or public relations department, as their job is to put their institutions in the best light possible. They understand the value of free publicity. (Conversely, DO NOT contact the security department.) A few years ago, before a trip to Washington D.C., I contacted the recently-opened National Museum of the American Indian, asked to speak with “public relations” and explained I was a freelance photographer and that I wanted to get some interior shots of the museum. I then followed up with a letter memorializing the phone conversation I had with the PR person. I was allowed to photograph the interior, using a tripod, one full hour before the museum opened. I was also given a “media kit,” which contains information that can be used to caption your images later. ** 2. Be flexible if you get permission with restrictions. Even if you obtain permission to take pictures inside a museum, sometimes the permission will include photography restrictions. For example, a particular museum may not wish its collection to be photographed close-up (a picture of a picture, so to speak) because of concerns that the work will then be reproduced without permission. This happened to me in a museum in Puerto Rico while I was on assignment photographing for a Frommer’s guide of the island. After some discussion with the museum’s manager, I was allowed to photograph the museum’s rooms and hallways, showing the artwork in the distance. This worked for my editor, so everyone was happy. Two other common photography restrictions are “no tripod” and “no flash.” In these situations, I set my camera to a high ISO (800 or higher), engage my shake-reduction lens, set a wide aperture (f 5.6 or so), and shoot. ** 3. What to do when “no” means “no.” Sometimes you will simply be informed you are not welcome to photograph inside. In such cases you need to go outside and get creative. The obvious first choice is to photograph the building’s exterior. Fortunately, many museums are architecturally interesting. Don’t forget to include a wide angle shot and some details, such as people entering and leaving the museum. Try to get a twilight shot if the building is illuminated at night, too. You might also consider photographing goods from area vendors that are similar to the artifacts found in the museum (ceramic knock-offs in Perú, for example). If you do this, though, make sure the images are captioned truthfully. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]  

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