Photo Attorney

Aug 17, 2005

Photography Is Not A Crime - Your Rights

Since 9/11, security issues have affected everyone's life. While photographers should be respectful and understanding of those concerns, we also can protect our rights by knowing them. Here are 10 tips on your right to take photographs:

1) In general, if you are in a place with public access, you may take photographs of whatever you want, including children, bridges, buildings, homes, airports and accident scenes. What you do with those photos depends on a variety of issues, but you always can take the photograph.
2) Property owners may restrict your activities, including photography, while on the owners' property, but owners may not keep you from photographing property from another place.
3) Photography also can be restricted as follows:
a. By commanders of military installations for national security interests
b. By the Department of Energy for nuclear facilities
4) You may photograph anyone in public areas except where there may be an expectation of privacy (such as in restrooms and dressing rooms).
5) You may not block public access areas or create hazardous conditions for photography or any purposes.
6) Anyone, including security guards and police officers, may ask questions about your photography activities, but you do not have to respond. Some states require that you identify yourself to a police officer when asked.
7) Harassment and coercion by anyone is illegal.
8) Persons other than law enforcement personnel generally do not have the right to detain you unless you commit a felony or other crime in that person's presence.
9) Persons other than law enforcement personnel do not have the right to confiscate your film/digital card. Police officers may take your film/cards when making an arrest or when they have a warrant.
10) If your rights as a photographer are violated, contact an attorney to understand your remedies and restitution options.

Take my advice, get professional help.