Photography in Public Places: A Primer

From: Popular Mechanics

We fight these battles every day. We want to get the images – and often someone doesn’t want those images acquired.

It is normally someone in a uniform of a security or police service telling us to stop shooting. Depending on the necessity, we often have to shift between knocking out a few quick shots – and casually abidingĀ  by their unreasonable restrictions OR truly fighting for our constitutional rights. With deadlines as they are, I normally don’t have time to truly push the issue – just to get exteriors of a building or shots of a business. But when it comes to the recent issues with BP restricting access, important information – that affects everybody – was being illegally blocked.

Popular Mechanics recently put together a simple explanation of our rights to public photography.

“Legally, it’s pretty much always okay to take photos in a public place as long as you’re not physically interfering with traffic or police operations. As Bert Krages, an attorney who specializes in photography-related legal problems and wrote Legal Handbook for Photographers, says, “The general rule is that if something is in a public place, you’re entitled to photograph it.” What’s more, though national-security laws are often invoked when quashing photographers, Krages explains that “the Patriot Act does not restrict photography; neither does the Homeland Security Act.” But this doesn’t stop people from interfering with photographers, even in settings that don’t seem much like national-security zones.”

Read the full story here.

Share your experiences on the FORUM.


  1. Matthew Adams says:

    We fight this fight daily in Las Vegas. The casinos and police are constantly battling photographers over what they DON’T want us to photograph.

  2. Jerald Brewer says:

    #1 rule in such situations is to stay cool & remain polite unless physically assaulted –then all bets are off & keep the camera rolling.
    Many coporations don’t tell their security the rules & let them believe that the U.S. Constitution does not apply to thier U.S. landspace.
    I’ve always had success cooly stating that I don’t think are troops are fighting overseas to have these basic rights violated. That usually stops them dead in their tracks & the bigget protest I’ve ever had to that is that they turn around in a huff & walk away.
    You can’t come off as a smart aleck (as tempting as that may be) & you can’t be a wimp. Angry people usually want you to respond in anger because that gives them fuel for the fire.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.