Photographer claims Cocoa Beach pier charging $500 for photo shoots

'They would make more money off of our family photo sessions than we would'

COCOA BEACH, Fla. – Pictures on the Space Coast are better at the beach, but one professional photographer is wondering how much a photo shoot at the Cocoa Beach pier might be worth.

"It's a place that many local families hold near and dear to their heart," Tamsin Wright said.

Wright, of Tamsin Photography in Melbourne, said for the first time she's worrying about possibly paying $500 per photo shoot after she said another photographer was approached this week by a pier employee.

"They were instructed that they would need to purchase a $500 permit per photo session under, on or in front of the pier," Wright said. "They would make more money off of our family photo sessions than we would."

The owner of the pier, Westgate Resorts responded with a statement. You can read it in its entirety at the end of this article.

The pier stressed it's not trying to deter anyone from taking professional or personal photos. Westgate says it's trying to better regulate larger scale shoots, but Wright worries the policy might apply to professionals with lighter equipment, too.

"We do have more questions and we hope that they will be very specific in answering exactly how much it would cost families to shoot here and how to obtain that permit," she said.

Pier officials said the photographer who was approached about needing a permit brought a lot of big equipment to the pier and on a windy day. Pier staffers said they may try to ban that photographer.

Read Westgate Resorts' full statement, provided to News 6 by Jared Saft, the company's chief business officer:

"The Cocoa Beach Pier welcomes all local and out-of-town photographers that use the pier to hone their photography skills and create a lifetime of family memories. For decades, we have welcomed those looking to shoot rocket launches, action shots of surfers, photos during our numerous events, nature shots and more. We love to see all these wonderful images posted everywhere, so the world can see what our slice of paradise looks like! For the safety of all our guests at the pier and to be compliant with our insurance policies, we do ask that when a major professional video or photo shoot takes place on our pier and will require large pieces of staging equipment such as tripods, lighting fixtures, videography equipment, drones, etc, that we are notified in advance. And as has been the practice in the past, in some of those professional photography sessions, site fees or waivers may be required, particularly if there is disruption to ongoing operations. We continue to welcome all amateur and professional photographers to come photograph a true Brevard County landmark."

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