Become a Photographer Legally in the Dubai- Steps you must know

by Zaara 26, Nov 2021

Become a Photographer Legally in the Dubai- Steps you must know

The UAE is a home to numerous thriving industries, each of which gives life to various sectors and sub-sectors. Additionally, the country is at the forefront of promoting budding freelancers worldwide to set up operations both in the Emirates and its Free Zones.

Talking about different business industries, Dubai's city promoted many opportunities waiting for you if you choose to be a freelance photographer. The town offers photographers a large potential client base, business opportunities and a selection of beautiful spots to capture spectacular shots.

Read on to know more about setting up a photography business in Dubai.

Conditions to Open a Photography Business in Dubai

  • You can open a photography business or work as a freelance photographer. If you opt for freelance photography, you may check out Dubai Media City or Fujairah Creative City. They permit photographers to work as freelancers.
  • You will be asked to submit a business plan, passport and visa copies, and bank reference letter.
  • The National Media Council is a governing body through which photography businesses in Dubai must apply for approval and licenses to engage in outdoor photography, including aerial applications.
  • For the application procedure, the photographers must identify the location, duration, and list of photographers for the shoot.

Procedure to Open a Photography Business in Dubai, UAE

Dubai Media City and Dubai Studio City are a few best free zones where you can set up your photography business. The free zones offer several services for professional photographers, but you can also take advantage of the most reputable media hubs of the region in these free zones.

  1. While the license you need will likely be the same whether you are carrying out photography or videography services, you must define the activities you wish to undertake such as photography, photography services, videography, video production etc. Failure to do so can lead to governing difficulties and even fines.
  2. Choose a business name. This is not an easy task wherever in the world you choose to do business. Still, here in the Emirates, there are a few extra factors to keep in mind. The UAE has a set of strict, yet easy to follow, naming conventions.
  3. Although you are expected to specify your business activities, you are not obliged to apply for a specific film production license, video production license, post-production license — or even a videography license or photography license. However, it may be referred to as such.

The original license required is a professional services license, under which you can carry out a wide range of photography- and videography-related projects.

There are two ways to apply for a license. Either direct to the Department of Economic Development or one of the UAE's free zones. In both cases, you will need to provide a few set of documents, including:

  • Filled application form.
  • Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners.
  • Two passport size colour photos.

National Media Council

You must know that, in the UAE, you must obtain a local permit to carry out outdoor photography from the Department of Economic Development (DED) or the National Media Council. Outdoor photography is a regulated activity in the UAE. The responsible regulatory agency is the National Media Council. You must lodge an online application for any aerial or ground-level photography session in public areas.

The requirements to obtain a photography permit are:

  • Confirm the start and finish of the photography session
  • Identify the location of the photography
  • Provide details of all photographers

The procedure is relatively straight forward; therefore, compliance is easy.


Due to the city's rapid growth and relative wealth, it is exciting to be a freelance photographer in Dubai. Recent advances in technology such as 3D capture, Augmented Reality integration in real-time and super-high-resolution digital photography means that we are at the start of a new era in photography.

With Dubai always at the cutting edge of new technologies, launching your business places you right in the middle of this brave, new world and opens up massive opportunities to make money as a freelance photographer.

We at Commitbiz can help you in obtaining a license for your photography business. Get in touch with us today!

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