Shootingg Kids

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I know that when you are shooting kids at school without notice that you have to shoot them out of focus for their protection. But is it the same if you shoot them like at a family water park or like Six Flags?


Lil' Photog

Well-known member
You do not legally need consent to put anyone on for "bona fide news"

However, if they let you inside the school, many schools themselves ask you to not show faces. That's not a law, that's just school's request.

*BUT* there's another side to this. If you are doing a story on a school closing, you'd be able to show kids up the wazoo because it's just generic. If you are doing a story about some kid bringing a gun to school and the reporter says "A 16 year old male brought a 9mm to class..." and you are showing the face of some kid in a VO, you just linked that kid to a crime they didn't commit and legal action can be brought against your station and they will most likely be paying some money.

This is true for all stories/subjects, but children are offered even more protection.

If a news station is permitted access to an amusement park to do a story, everyone is fair game unless stated otherwise.

In saying this, I'm assuming you are a news shooter working for a news operation. If you aren't taking pictures for private use (family photos, etc.) then (this is most states from what I understand) you are not required to get permission in a "public area" as long as you are working on a "bona fide newscast, news interview, news documentary, or on the spot coverage of a bona fide news event."

Everything else requires permission if the person's featured in a product. That's why commercial shows (COPS when it was in production, any MOS-TV show deal, Girls Gone Wild) are required to get people to sign those forms. No permission, they have the right to not have their image be sold...

The reason news doesn't have to worry about this is that we aren't selling a product of that person and directly making money off of their image. That's the basic explaination.

Terry E. Toller

Well-known member
Lil Photog is correct. As long as it's for news, no problem. It is just a polite thing to respond to the request of the school. Those out of focus shots on the playground don't hurt the story.

I once notified a school principal that I would be shooting pictures of kids walking home from school for the Daily Press newspaper in Victorville, CA. The principal told me I could not! I left his office and hit the street where I started taking pictures. He called the cops and the cops threatened to arrest me for STALKING children!!! My publisher went after the principal and threatened a lawsuit for defaming me and the paper. He was fired!

Still a good idea to let them know what you are up to, even off of their property.

<freedom of the press>

Reminds me of an interesting story.

I was in Hartford, shortly before the '96 Presidential debates doing a shoot for one of the national news programs. Anyway, one story we did was about what Hartford was like as a city. You know, mid-size city with big city problems. One part dealt with their public school system. We stopped at one local schools and starting shooting some b-roll from the street. All either soft focus or shots of legs, backpacks and such. As we were rolling the Principal comes running out saying we aren't allowed to shoot without permission. We replied, we were within our rights to do this shoot. He looked at our license plate which was from Rhode Island and said, "I don't know what the laws are like in Rhode Island, but you can't do this in Connecticut."

Ahhh, freedom of the press only in certain states? It's great that this is a man educating the children of Hartford.


Here's a good one. I was shooting generic downtown video. The manager of an Urban Outfitters across the street ran out to tell me that I wasn't allowed to take pictures of the exterior of the store! The worst experience I had with this was on an assignment in the LA area. I've never had so many people in the space of three days tell me I couldn't shoot. I've never seen a city so paranoid of cameras.

<cinehead w/ no password>

Another one...
A few years back I was doing a freelance gig, shooting a sales video for a local wire manufacturer.

So, I'm across the street from the factory getting some exteriors, and this woman roars up in her car demanding to know what I'm doing and telling me I can't shoot the building. Well, she never identifies herself and being a grumpy news photog, I told her it was none of her business (I really didn't say it quite as nicely as I am here).

So I finish, and go inside to meet the salesman that I'm shooting the video for. The can barely contain themselves from laughing. I said, "What's up?" They said, "I guess you just met the owner's daughter"

I guess they all wanted to say something like that to her as well, but were afraid to.


My understanding is that if you are on private property then you need the permission of the owner.
If it is a public place.... then everyone is fair game. But then again.... this is Canada... land of media suppression. :eek:


Well-known member
Here in Cleveland, there is this statue/fountain that is in a public area near the Key Tower office complex. I was shooting it one day, for a beauty shot, from a public sidewalk when their security comes running out and screaming at me that I can't shoot that statue/fountain without their permission. I told them, that I was on a public sidewalk, the park was public property therefore I could shoot it, and then told them to go bother the tourist who was taking pictures of his wife in front of the thing.

I kept rolling the whole time as the one security guy tried to cover up my lens. I moved, and they kept after me. So, the camera came off the sticks, and I went towards them asking them for their names and bosses names. They started to backpedal and told me to "Just stop taking their picture.."

Very surreal. I never heard anything about it, if they complained to my station.


Well-known member
Here in Aussie, you can,t film kids at school without parental consent. So if u turn up to a school on the day, you need permission from the principle or better still, shoot soft.

The silly thing is that I can go outside the fence onto the footpath and shoot what I like as I am not on private property. The law has changed here also to protect those who may seek refuge from the media in their homes. You cannot film a person in their window if you are on the street as the law says that its feasable to think that you are safe in the confines of your own home and its private property.
It's never been tested in court and most of the time you shoot anyway and let the producers worry about what they use.


Originally posted by Newshutr:
So, the camera came off the sticks, and I went towards them asking them for their names and bosses names. They started to backpedal and told me to "Just stop taking their picture.."
Works every time....some people are more afraid of cameras and being on TV than guns. It is your greatest defense weapon, so if you're not doing anything wrong then NEVER stop rolling!
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