Welcome to a new series of articles dealing with knowing your rights, in this article it’s all about photography.
I have seen many videos on YouTube, many articles read and many people get themselves into all kinds of trouble.
When out and about with your camera remember two things, (1) public land (2) private land.
On public land you can do whatever you want (within reason) if you want to take a picture of a building fine! go and take as many pictures as you like of a train or an aircraft, get doing some great photography on wildlife and improve your skills.
No one can tell you to stop and you are not going to ge into trouble with officer dibble, so long as you are not taking pictures of children and women for sexual gratification.
You also do not have to give any details about yourself to anyone and more importantly you do not have to show anyone images or video footage on the camera, one trick police use is they would ask to see the camera, with “Oh thats a nice camera can I have a look at how good it is as I am a photographer and thinking of buying one” in normal circumstances you would not give the camera, under pressure you may fall for it! once he has your camera, your mobile or whatever its gone! do not fall for it! stand your ground if your in trouble.
I suggest to remove yourself from a park or place where lots of kids and mums are as in these times some weird people are roaming around and it is completely right that they are suspicious, more so with someone with a camera even if he is pointing it to the sky! of course you are in a public place, but if you are doing the wrong things then you deserve all you get.
Because of the Facebook vigilante groups, many of these people have no real knowledge of the law and so go out as if they are officers or something, it is very bizarre, these are the people that cause the greates problems in society, whilst trying to combat crime, they actually cause it, and ofen get themselves into Trouble.
Running events are fine, you can snap away all you like, including cycling events, however at football grounds things change, I have encountered many security staff at Old Trafford asking why I am with my camera, its a little bit paranoid however the safety of the fans and everyone else is of paramount importance and I am one that agrees with the checks, do not get angry with any security guard, keep calm and listen, remember you are on private land and often you will be fine to do some photos and video.
Police and emergency services have enough on their plates at the moment without people taking photographs of them, the only time I will photo police is when I am at a crime scene and even then I will not point my camera at a police officer, on YouTube I see people doing videos of police cars even the bloody car park! OK they are all on public land, police cannot do anything! but they could add-on things that could get you into trouble, my advice is if you need a shot of a police car, station or whatever …get it, you do not have to stay for hours, just get the image or video and leave.
On private land things change, you no longer have the same rights as when you are on public land, you will need permission from the owner to take photos of record video, this includes all shopping areas, inside shops, bars, clubs cinemas, government buildings, airports…
In some cases you may not be approached and in others the owner could get nasty, if they do get nasty, keep calm and walk away, if you stay all that will happen is the man or woman will get further stressed and call police and you don’t want that, if police are called and you are caught, the owner can ask the officer to remove you and in some cases even take you down to the police station.
Always get permission on private land if you can.
You can take pictures of houses on public land, however not aimed at a window or door, the owner can tell police that their privacy has been breached, the likelihood is that there could be kids in the house, although on camera you did not capture this, the owner can claim the kids were at risk, and anyway its weird so my advice is not to be doing this.
Photography is the best thing you could ever do, pick up a bridge camera or a DSLR even a point and shoot, get outside and enjoy capturing the moment, the images could last a lifetime.
You do not have to fall foul of the law, or upset people enjoy your your photography with with the advice given above, stay safe and happy snapping.
Take a look at some of my pictures HERE for some inspiration.