With a forecast in the mid-70s for yesterday, our family wanted to do something in the Portland area outside to enjoy the weather, and naturally I wanted to involve photography. My wife suggested the Portland Japanese Garden, which I’d only been to once (several years prior) and hadn’t taken photos. We looked at their website to get directions and information, and discovered they have a very restrictive photography policy.
In short, there’s a $150/year fee to take any photos which will potentially be used for any sort of commercial effort. If you don’t pay the fee, you have to sign a policy that you will never sell any of the images you take. If you’re like me and shoot stuff and then work on possibly marketing it at a later point, you’re pretty much screwed unless you pay the $150. They don’t allow any portrait photography under any circumstances. If you’re only shooting for personal, non-commercial use and don’t pay the $150 fee, there’s a $2 tripod fee. Everyone who takes photos (with the fee or not) is required to allow their marketing department to use the photos for promotional purposes.
Yes, they’re a private entity and are free to set their own rules. However when the rules are so restrictive that it prevents folks from an enjoyable experience, that’s a loss for the Gardens and a loss for photographers. Based on their restrictive rules, we chose to go elsewhere this weekend.