Helpful information for shooting in China


For people coming to China to shoot, we are here to help you get things done in the way you’re used to.  Here are some of the answers to the most common questions we get. If you do not see the answer you are looking for, please contact us below.

Do I need a Visa for China?

Most nationalities require a visa to enter China. It is possible to have up to 144 hour visa-free stays in China so long as you depart to a third country. For example you may fly from Los Angeles to China then to Hong Kong, but may not fly from LA to China then NYC.

Useful links:
Visa for China
Embassy for the People’s Republic of China in the USA

Sunrise - Sunset Times

Here’s a link for sunrise sunset times in Shanghai. Click here for Beijing


However if planning a location shoot, be aware that the skies in Shanghai can become very hazy either through pollution or atmosphere. So while the weather map shows clear, the actual situation may be quite murky often making what ought to be a glorious sunset somewhat lacklustre.  Contact us to discuss your location shoot and the best strategy to get the best results.

Can we fly a drone in China?

Generally drone photography is possible in China however all drones must be registered and there are no-fly zones around the airports and some other key sites.  Bigger cities like Shanghai and Beijing can be very tricky to fly with many restricted areas and several no-fly-zones.

Given the population density, frequent government events and every changing rules, we recommend working with experienced and licensed operators here. Contact us to help book a pilot or drone of any size and capability. We do not recommend bringing your own drone and trying to manage the shot yourself.

Whats the best way to communicate in China?

If you come to China for work or play, you really ought to download WeChat (WeiXin). Everybody is using WeChat in China and it is an ecosystem for sharing info like maps, articles and files and other general info. It will make your shoot easier as well as getting around town,  saving you expensive phone calls. Just make sure you got the data plan sorted. But don’t worry – almost everywhere here has wifi.

Once you have downloaded the app – scan here to follow us

Which City Guide app is best?

For an overall city guide directory including whats on listings, Smart Shanghai covers most bases. Download App

Bon App is our preferred app for finding restaurants and sharing restaurant info on WeChat. Download App

Uber doesn’t exist in China but DiDi does. They have an English version which mostly works well except for when the driver calls you up and asks you in Chinese your location. iOS app or Android

MAPS - help me i’m lost

Google maps will not work so well in Shanghai, although we heard they were working on an approved Chinese version of their maps. Apple Maps works well in English or Chinese.
However, since you’ve already downloaded Wechat, the location sharing and map service within is very accurate.

Staying in Shanghai - Pudong or Puxi?

If its spectacular views of the famed Shanghai Bund then staying in Pudong (East of the Pu) in some very tall hotels can be breathtaking.  But street life is limited as its the main business / tourist district of Shanghai.

Staying in Puxi (West of the Pu) is our preference as it is generally where the latest lifestyle options are – bars, restaurants, retail and other services.  Our studio is in Puxi a mere 5 minutes from Xintiandi.

If you need hotel advice just reach out as we can help with corporate rates at a few selected properties.

Do I need a VPN in China

Many Western internet services such as Google, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are spotty in China so best to find other options.