Professional equipment is not allowed in malls?

Started Oct 10, 2013 | Discussions
LeoGotCamera New Member • Posts: 7
Professional equipment is not allowed in malls?
1

Had really bad experience with trying to film a friend using my Canon 60D camera (with the lense without a red circle) at the Eaton Center in downtown Toronto. When I was trying to setup a tripod - got approached by the security guard. He told me that the use of professional camera equipment is not allowed inside the mall and in order to use it I need to get a permit from the mall office. Went to the office and was told that the permit cannot be issued on the spot - I need to fill some kind of form and it can take up to 2 weeks to get approval. WTF?

What is interesting - filming with smartphone is allowed as long as it is not attached to professional looking tripod. If I use small camera tripod - it is ok to film with smartphone. 
So, my question - do you think it is fair? Is there much difference in Canon 60D quality vs iPhone 5s camera quality that makes my 60D camera banned from the usage in the mall? Or the mall guys are completely out of touch from reality?

Leo

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Cailean Gallimore Veteran Member • Posts: 6,083
Re: Professional equipment is not allowed in malls?
24

Fair doesn't have anything to do with it. If it's private property, they make the rules.

(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 1,321
Exactly
3

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

Fair doesn't have anything to do with it. If it's private property, they make the rules.

You are in the mall at the pleasure of the property owner. Why do you think you are entitled to do anything you please on their property?

The way to photograph in malls is to be fast, keep moving and use camera/lenses that do not draw attention.

By the way, many large US cities require buying a license just to use a tripod on public property. You have to show proof of insurance. Tripods are considered to be tripping hazards for pedestrians. While this may just be a way to increase revenues, it is lawful.

tko Forum Pro • Posts: 12,791
who's out of touch with reality?
8

This is a standard rule that will be enforced in just about any mall or private space. It's their property. They don't want any commercial use, they don't want people blocking space with tripods and models and lighting for an excessive amount of time. They're in the business to get people to buy stuff, not provide backdrops for photographers for free.

Why was it a really bad experience? You know you need a permit to set up a tripod on NYC streets (or at least a few years ago.) Many parks and stuff. This shouldn't be a shock.

LeoGotCamera wrote:

Had really bad experience with trying to film a friend using my Canon 60D camera (with the lense without a red circle) at the Eaton Center in downtown Toronto. When I was trying to setup a tripod - got approached by the security guard. He told me that the use of professional camera equipment is not allowed inside the mall and in order to use it I need to get a permit from the mall office. Went to the office and was told that the permit cannot be issued on the spot - I need to fill some kind of form and it can take up to 2 weeks to get approval. WTF?

What is interesting - filming with smartphone is allowed as long as it is not attached to professional looking tripod. If I use small camera tripod - it is ok to film with smartphone.
So, my question - do you think it is fair? Is there much difference in Canon 60D quality vs iPhone 5s camera quality that makes my 60D camera banned from the usage in the mall? Or the mall guys are completely out of touch from reality?

Leo

Chikubi
Chikubi Senior Member • Posts: 1,823
Re: Professional equipment is not allowed in malls?
2

It's perfectly fair, and understandable too. And the problem isn't likely your camera, but the tripod. Tripods are a liability issue for malls or any other crowded space. If someone trips over one while you're shooting, injures themselves, and you don't have the proper insurance to cover it, then they can sue the mall instead for letting you in w/o coverage and now the mall has to pay. Requiring a permit for such shooting means that they can make sure to vet out that you have the proper insurance, that they can make the proper preps to help control foot traffic while you're shooting, and determine that you're not some simple jackwit who wants to disrupt their customers just to snap some photos of your girlfriend, a "model", or what have you. When you consider it in this light, then it makes perfect sense.

FWIW, I've sat and shot photos of my kid playing at various malls with a Nikon D3 and f2.8 pro glass and no one said boo to me b/c I was doing it casually and handheld, so the camera isn't the issue. If you seriously want to shoot in the mall get the permit, otherwise you have no place being there in all honesty.

And no, an iPhone 5s doesn't even attempt to approach the quality level of a 60D, let alone true pro DSLR, though they are good in their own ways for certain uses.
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DenWil
DenWil Veteran Member • Posts: 3,784
"Fair", are you 12?
5

LeoGotCamera wrote:

Had really bad experience with trying to film a friend using my Canon 60D camera (with the lense without a red circle) at the Eaton Center in downtown Toronto. When I was trying to setup a tripod - got approached by the security guard. He told me that the use of professional camera equipment is not allowed inside the mall and in order to use it I need to get a permit from the mall office. Went to the office and was told that the permit cannot be issued on the spot - I need to fill some kind of form and it can take up to 2 weeks to get approval. WTF?

What is interesting - filming with smartphone is allowed as long as it is not attached to professional looking tripod. If I use small camera tripod - it is ok to film with smartphone.
So, my question - do you think it is fair? Is there much difference in Canon 60D quality vs iPhone 5s camera quality that makes my 60D camera banned from the usage in the mall? Or the mall guys are completely out of touch from reality?

Leo

sdribetahi Contributing Member • Posts: 819
Re: Professional equipment is not allowed in malls?

The fact that this is shocking to you is shocking to me. Where does it stop, a tripod, maybe a light, maybe 3 lights, maybe reflectors?

OP LeoGotCamera New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Exactly

Guys,

sorry, but I don't agree with your logic. Property owner can impose any rules, but they need to make sense. We cannot just blindly accept whatever somebody with authority says to us.

For example, if the owner of the mall puts a sign that people of certain race are not allowed inside the property - would you say "Hey, this is private property and owner has a right to do whatever they want"? Actually, malls had such signs 100 years ago.

On the other hand there should be rules that make sense like regarding appearance (you cannot walkin naked) or carrying a weapon. 
In my opinion common sense does not work in this case - why DSLR is prohibited and smartphone is allowed? I seen plenty of people snapping their pictures and making videos with smartphones inside the mall and security was ok with them.

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OP LeoGotCamera New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Professional equipment is not allowed in malls?

Ok, tripod thing kind of make sense even though I don't understand how this issue is changed once I get the permit. Would I get special  guard securing a special area for me and my poor "made in china" tripod? I highly doubt it.

But the use of DSLR by itself without a tripod was not allowed as well. 
And another thing that I did not like - lack of clear communication. The guard is rude and clueless, information desk person is just clueless, the person in charge of permits can be reached only by phone and did not return my messages.

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OP LeoGotCamera New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Professional equipment is not allowed in malls?

sdribetahi wrote:

The fact that this is shocking to you is shocking to me. Where does it stop, a tripod, maybe a light, maybe 3 lights, maybe reflectors?

I did not have any lights and did not have reflectors. To answer your next question - I did not have actresses and I did not have rented elephant with me at that time. 
I agree that it should stop somewhere, but I don't agree that it should stops before reaching DSLR.

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Mike_PEAT Forum Pro • Posts: 13,344
It's about the tripod more than anything else...
5

LeoGotCamera wrote:

When I was trying to setup a tripod - got approached by the security guard. He told me that the use of professional camera equipment is not allowed inside the mall and in order to use it I need to get a permit from the mall office. Went to the office and was told that the permit cannot be issued on the spot - I need to fill some kind of form and it can take up to 2 weeks to get approval.

They don't want people tripping on the tripod!  If you used that camera handheld you wouldn't have been noticed (I've never been noticed).

If someone used a light duty tripod they would have been asked not to use it too!

RhysM Senior Member • Posts: 2,212
Re: Professional equipment is not allowed in malls?
4

If you can't see the difference between someone taking a photo on their iPhone to post on Facebook and say something like "shopping for an outfit for my party tonight" vs taking "professional" photography equipment and shooting, then i think there's something amiss.

This sort oft thing just baffles me!  I would never be so rude as to take a camera and tripod in to a shopping centre and just start taking photos in there, for my own benefit, be it monetary or otherwise.

It might be a public place but ultimately it belongs to someone, would you just rock up uninvited and  setup your camera and tripod in a local cake store and expect to be given carte blanche?

Andreas Stuebs Contributing Member • Posts: 924
Re: who's out of touch with reality?

tko wrote:

Why was it a really bad experience? You know you need a permit to set up a tripod on NYC streets (or at least a few years ago.) Many parks and stuff. This shouldn't be a shock.

Last year I used a tripod in Central Park NYC - was I just blisfully ignorant?

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OP LeoGotCamera New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Professional equipment is not allowed in malls?

Guys,

First, I agree with all of you that full size tripod should not be allowed in malls as it creates a hazard for pedestrians. I also agree that the special lighting/models/elephants should not be allowed on the same grounds. Thanks for your responses that clarified this point.
Second, my main point is that I don't agree that DSLR (without any attachments) is not allowed while smartphone is allowed. In my opinion the modern smartphones provide quality similar to DSLR's and there should not be much difference in the eyes of security.

Third, if I use DSLR - it does not automatically mean that I use it for commercial purpose. 
I guess this assumption came from the past when DSLRs were very expensive and only professional photographers could afford it. But it is not true anymore.

Fourth, I don't blindly agree with rules that do not make sense. 100 years ago stores had signs that people of certain race are not allowed inside.

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Jim Cassatt Veteran Member • Posts: 4,890
Re: Professional equipment is not allowed in malls?

I was once taking pictures in the National Gallery of art with my Canon 5D and 70-200 f4 L (when this combo was state of the art professionally).  There was an artist with an easel copying a painting.  While I was waiting to get just the right moment, I struck up a convesation with a guard who was standing next to me.  I asked him, politely, if I could use a tripod.  He answered no.  I expected him to say that it would interfere with the flow of traffic .  Instead he said that use of a tripod would make me a professional and that professional photographers are not allowed.

Another time I was taking at the outdoor Hirschhorn Sculpture garden and using fill flash.  A guard came up to me and said flash was not allowed because it might cause damage to the artwork.

I too take pictures in malls with professional equipment and have never been hassled.  However, I would never use a tripod and do recognize that the mall can set its own rules and that I have to abide by them, even if they seem arbitrary.

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Mike_PEAT Forum Pro • Posts: 13,344
Not allowed to use flash makes perfect sense!
2

Jim Cassatt wrote:

A guard came up to me and said flash was not allowed because it might cause damage to the artwork.

A flash emits the full spectrum, infrared through ultraviolet.

You might think, "what damage can one flash do?"  Maybe not one, but if EVERYBODY was allowed, then definitely.

Also you're disturbing the other patrons!  If only the idiots at a sporting event can be educated!

RhysM Senior Member • Posts: 2,212
Re: Not allowed to use flash makes perfect sense!

Mike_PEAT wrote:

Jim Cassatt wrote:

A guard came up to me and said flash was not allowed because it might cause damage to the artwork.

A flash emits the full spectrum, infrared through ultraviolet.

You might think, "what damage can one flash do?" Maybe not one, but if EVERYBODY was allowed, then definitely.

Also you're disturbing the other patrons! If only the idiots at a sporting event can be educated!

There was an experiment done, forget where, but they subjected various artwork to something like 10,000 flashes from a hot shoe mounted flashgun and analysed the paintings afterwards with all sorts of fancy gadgets and meters and found there was no evidence of any degradation.

RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 29,086
TRIPOD!
6

LeoGotCamera wrote:

Had really bad experience with trying to film a friend using my Canon 60D camera (with the lense without a red circle) at the Eaton Center in downtown Toronto. When I was trying to setup a tripod - got approached by the security guard.

Setting up of the tripod was the trigger.  Something like that is a safety hazard for you and others, try and think of liability for the mall's sake.  Malls are private property and you are granted a license to enter as you enter.  That license does not allow you to do anything you wish.  You can and will be removed if needed.

He told me that the use of professional camera equipment is not allowed inside the mall and in order to use it I need to get a permit from the mall office. Went to the office and was told that the permit cannot be issued on the spot - I need to fill some kind of form and it can take up to 2 weeks to get approval. WTF?

What is interesting - filming with smartphone is allowed as long as it is not attached to professional looking tripod.

Again.. the tripod.  Duh.

Antlab Contributing Member • Posts: 500
Re: who's out of touch with reality?

Andreas Stuebs wrote:

tko wrote:

Why was it a really bad experience? You know you need a permit to set up a tripod on NYC streets (or at least a few years ago.) Many parks and stuff. This shouldn't be a shock.

Last year I used a tripod in Central Park NYC - was I just blisfully ignorant?

I don't know the rules in NYC, but here in Florence, Italy, officially you need a permission to use cameras with big tripods in the city (also in open spaces, not only in museums and churches). And the rules are quite complicated, you have to write several days before, and give the detail of your timetable and intentions.

I suspect that many people don't know this, especially tourists, but the rules are there. Probably is the same in many touristic places around the world, and I suspect the majority of photographers ignore this.

Jim Cassatt Veteran Member • Posts: 4,890
Re: Not allowed to use flash makes perfect sense!
1

This was an outdoor sculpture garden where the sculptures were exposesd to the bright sun.  Interestingly, the National Gallery of Art does allow flash.

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