It depends on the work. If you are a photographer in the private or commercial sector, you will have to prove your professional qualification – either a Certificate or a license – and must have an appropriate permit. You will have to obtain a certificate for every project, even if the photographer is on assignment. For instance, if a photographer works in a residential area at a wedding or for a magazine, and a client asks her to photograph a house, she must first obtain her Certificate of Professional Experience.
If you want to photograph architecture, and the client asks you to photograph an architectural site, you need your Certificate of Specialisation, or to have one provided by your national institution. You need a permit for most structures in England and Wales, and some in Northern Ireland. If you can’t obtain your permit in England and Wales, you can obtain one in Northern Ireland – but there is no official fee in Northern Ireland (and the fee is set at the equivalent of UK £150 per month).
Professional qualifications, whether you possess them or not, are generally required in order to be issued with an NIV (National Institute for Images) permit – a document that allows you to work in private homes and commercial businesses. For more information, please scroll down to the section on licensing professional photographers in England and Wales.
For images to be considered as National Institute for Images works, they must meet the following criteria:
Your pictures have to be “naturally or procedurally identifiable as NIV works” – see NIV licensing for further details.
For work that you make for commercial use, you must be able to produce a Certificate of Specialisation from an appropriate national institution, such as the NIV or National Architecture Research Centre ( NICAR ). If you are issued with a Certificate of Specialisation by an institution not recognised as an authority by the NIV, the Certificate may not contain any part of the NIV licence; and, in particular, the Certificate may not be accompanied by a copy of the NIV licence. For more information, please follow the instruction found on the NIV website.
What is the difference between a NIV permit and a NIV licence?
A permit is required for all commercial purposes, whereas a license requires permission for specific areas of photographic activity.
You can obtain a permit if:
You have had an approved licence for an approved range of images in a particular category for at least two years
You are acting as an approved authority for approved
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