photography business in uae

How to Start a Photography Business in the UAE

In the United Arab Emirates, you can start a photography business that specializes in commercial, fashion, tourism, portrait, architectural, or news photography. But if you want to run your photography business lawfully, you’ll need to have the right visa.

The easiest way to operate a photography freelance business in the UAE is to obtain a freelancer license. Photographers and other media workers can obtain freelancer licenses from Sharjah Media City Free Zone (Shams). So that they can work on their own as contractors.

They have several different 1 Year Freelance Packages available, including
  • The Zero Visa Package.
  • The Zero Visa (Shared Desk).
  • The One Visa.

There can be only one investor and one event per package. There will be an added cost for any further pursuits. The packages cover the costs associated with forming a company but do not cover costs associated with obtaining an investor visa, medical insurance for yourself or your employees, or government clearances.

Some Activities of SHAMS related to photography
  • Commercial and consumer photograph production (portraits, commercial photography, aerial photography, etc.)
  • Film processing.
  • Photojournalist activities
  • Microfilming of documents

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) requires both a physical office space and staff in order to set up a photo studio offering services such as personal or family photographs and passport photos. To do business within a free zone restricts activity to that area only. Location, permit type, and square footage of leased space all play a role in the total number of supplementary visas that can be issued.

Taking pictures or videos of people without their express permission is illegal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), especially of women and families. Getting the appropriate approvals is crucial before doing any public commercial campaigns or picture sessions. Photographing tourist attractions or hotel grounds typically requires a separate permit. Privacy regulations should not be broken by taking or publishing private photos or videos without permission. Without the owner’s permission, you cannot distribute their work online or tag them in a photo. No filming is allowed in secure areas such as government agencies or military installations.

Successfully running a photography business in the UAE requires adhering to local laws and regulations, showing respect for cultural norms, and securing the appropriate permits.

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