Events photography permission worldwide

Salah Yousef

EOS M6 Mark II
Aug 10, 2013
Hey everyone.

So I'm an intermediate photographer who's been photographing for a year and a half now. I enjoy landscape, cityscape, nature and portrait photography. I'm planning on buying a Macro lens soon because I really fell in love with Macro photography. Anyways I've always wanted to try photography at events whether if they're sports, music or any entertainment events like comic con and monster jam. I was wondering in order to go and photograph these events, do I need a specific certification or qualification card to enter them as a photographer only or do I just enter and start taking pictures?
For example if I want to photograph an ACDC concert and would like to take pictures of the band backstage, what kind of permission do I need? Do I need to work for a specific magazine or the band itself? Another example is if I want to photograph a soccer/football matches worldwide how do I do it? Again do I need to work for a specific newspaper or just have a permission card? If so, are there any photography permission cards that serve me worldwide at any event?


EOS 5D Mark IV
Aug 23, 2013
Bahia Brazil
It depends on the organization of the event, giving permission for photographers working in restricted locations, such as the stage, or even the backstage.

The general public (non-professional) is allowed to shoot sporting events from his chair, and some musical concerts too. However, the use of these images is restricted to unpaid purposes.

As a rule, new artists give greater freedom to your audience take pictures without permission, and the famous artists are more restrictions on photography in their events.

Be aware that in most events, you can only use your camera to your seat in the theater audience, and some shows are prohibited large cameras like DSLR, regardless of the intended use of the photos.


Jul 20, 2010
Springfield, IL
For sports events, here is my advice:

Forget professional and upper level university teams. Unless you are on contract with a major news organization or the team's pr department, you will have a hard time securing sideline access.

However, small colleges are a much different story. With many small colleges, it's highly likely you will be able to get on the sidelines with no pass (at least here in the U.S.) This is also a great way to learn sports photography, as the action is the same regardless of whether you are shooting a team from a 5,000 student college or a major Big 10 University (although obviously, the skill level of the teams are likely to be quite different and the action may be a little slower). You may want to "adopt" a small college and voluntarily follow them and their teams for a season, sharing your photos with the coaching staff, sports department and public information staff at the school. Once they get to know you and see your work, you might even eventually have a chance to turn it into a paying gig (although don't expect much pay).


How can you stand out, if you do like evrybdy else
Mar 25, 2014
Agree, it depends on the event.
I usually go to their website, send them an e-mail and ask for permission. Some will ask you for photos, some just want you to tell on your site what event that was.
If the event is on a public street then you could shoot anytime under "reporting news" category, without making money out of it.
One option, which is what I attend few times a year here in Montreal is volunteer work. I was born in Africa and this is my way of thanking them for my new home.
Some organizations cannot afford to pay full staff photography team, and they fill it up with volunteers. You have the chance to practice, meet/talk and shoot with pros. Usually, you are given some special tasks to do and outside the assigned moment you can shoot whatever you want to shoot, for yourself, having full access everywhere.