The advent of digital cameras has made photography much more accessible to everyone. It’s so easy with your digicam or smartphone to snap a photo of just about anything anywhere. But is it always legal to do so? I’ve written before about the legal aspects of posting your photos on your blog. But what about actually taking the pictures themselves? While I’m not a legal expert and this post is not meant to provide legal advice, I do believe that all photographers (or anyone with a camera) should be conscientious of “No Photography” policies.
Recently, findlaw.com featured an article on just this topic. It did trigger a number of memories of situations I’ve encountered in the past. I remember way back, I went to this museum where I was able to take photos of many of the pieces on exhibit. A few years later, I went back to the same museum, saw a very interesting exhibit, pulled out my camera—and was greeted with a stern voice from one of the women workers there, “No picture taking please!”.
As a photographer covering expo shows, I’ve also been questioned by some exhibitors as to why I was taking pictures. Heck, I was once in a dog clothing store that expressive forbid taking any photos.
So can someone actually prohibit you from taking pictures in public? Again, I’m no legal expert, but from what I gather from the article on findlaw.com and other resources, the answer is yes. While generally, you’re free to take pictures in public, a private business can prohibit you from photographing the premises or their products. While “No Photography” policies can sometimes be a pain, I can certainly understand the other side of things. A company should have the right to protect their property just as we photographers need to protect our work.