RE: PHOTOFORUM digest 5917

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I have found by experience that there are often objections to photography in a public place. I have had to appear in court over this more than once.  I was once surrounded by police because I was carrying a folded tripod because they thought it was a machine gun. I have a problem carrying a torch and my belt once caused problems because a hysterical lady mistook the end of the belt that was hanging down as something quite different!


However, today I took some photographs of underground trains and passengers in view of a security guard without any problems and some images of the bus crowds near my home.




From: owner-photoforum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-photoforum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Howard LEIGH
Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2012 8:24 PM
To: List for Photo/Imaging Educators - Professionals - Students
Subject: Re: PHOTOFORUM digest 5917


According to legal advice AND senior police officers, the best advice on taking photographs is pretty well much the same in the UK as in America. The problem is that sometimes the Police officer does NOT know the legislation! In certain places so-called security guards seem to think they know better and assume an "authority" which they do not have. The difficulty can then become one of controlling your own reaction so as not to create a different offence!


Youtube has many many examples of this.


Here are two in U.K. which really made me laugh!

Pumped up security guards


And London Police support photography in a public place


I've never been stopped or question over my use of a dSLR with a big zoom lens! But I don't use a tripod which cause some security guards to become paranoid. 



1. You can make a photograph of anything and anyone on any public property, except where a specific law prohibits it.
e.g. streets, sidewalks, town squares, parks, government buildings open to the public, and public libraries.
2. You may shoot on private property if it is open to the public, but you are obligated to stop if the owner requests it.
e.g. malls, retail stores, restaurants, banks, and office building lobbies.
3. Private property owners can prevent photography ON their property, but not photography OF their property from a public location.
4. Anyone can be photographed without consent when they are in a public place unless there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
e.g. private homes, restrooms, dressing rooms, medical facilities, and phone booths.
5. Despite common misconceptions, the following subjects are almost always permissible:
* accidents, fire scenes, criminal activities
* children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
* bridges, infrastructure, transportation facilities
* residential, commercial, and industrial buildings
6. Security is rarely an acceptable reason for restricting photography. Photographing from a public place cannot infringe on trade secrets, nor is it terrorist activity.
7. Private parties cannot detain you against your will unless a serious crime was committed in their presence. Those that do so may be subject to criminal and civil charges.
8. It is a crime for someone to threaten injury, detention, confiscation, or arrest because you are making photographs.
9. You are not obligated to provide your identity or reason for photographing unless questioned by a law enforcement officer and state law requires it.
10. Private parties have no right to confiscate your equipment without a court order. Even law enforcement officers must obtain one unless making an arrest. No one can force you to delete photos you have made.
These are general guidelines regarding the right to make photos and should not be interpreted as legal advice. If you need legal help, please contact a lawyer.


On 31 January 2012 09:25, Dan Mitchell <danmdan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> But not police, psychiatrists, people, children, Harrods and other buildings
> that are "copyright", military officers, barracks, military vehicles, ships,
> aircraft. Or near airports, if fact it is quite difficult to take
> photographs in the UK without breaking the law, public parks have an
> anti-photography policy also, telephoto lenses are banned. And remember that
> photographing buildings that are homes could result in prosecution too.
> Rule: Always ask for written permission before pressing the shutter release
> button!

This is simply not correct - my original note stands.  But I emphasise PUBLIC places - e.g. on the public street or pavement (sidewalk), as parks and shopping malls and the interior of shops and buildings in general are most often not "public", but "private" property.  It is important to know the difference and to know your rights.



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