“You can’t take pictures of us…”

I was shooting a few images for stock in Downham Market when a burly builder working on a site accosted me.

“You can’t take pictures of us without permission.” I explained it was perfectly legal to take pictures from the public highway.

“We have got minors here, you can’t take pictures of them.”  “Where are they? I can’t see them.” He pointed way off to my right, I guessed they were having tea in a hut somewhere! Again I tried to explain the law but he was not interested. I smiled and walked away as I had got what I wanted.

Georgina, my long-suffering wife, asked what had been going on. “I think he’s working cash in hand and thought I was DSS” I explained.

In Britain the rights to take photographs in public places are clearly defined

and the only real restrictions are that you need permission to take pictures in Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square if they are for commercial purposes, obtaining this permission is expensive! There are also some military sites where photography is banned but signs should make this clear.

Remember that railway station, airports and stately homes etc. may be full of members of the public but are not privately owned so you have only the rights they specifically grant. Many parents will get upset if you take photos of minors even if it is in a public place. You may be best advised not to, towards the end of 2013 I was shooting some kids ice skating a concerned parent approached me, I took the easy route, explained who I was and why I was taking pictures and then showed them to him. None were of his child and we parted on good terms. Had I had a picture of his child I would have deleted it, one stock picture more or less is not going to ruin my day.

Children ice skating outdoors in a city centre.
Children ice skating outdoors in a city centre.

For a comprehensive legal review of photography in the UK see http://www.sirimo.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/ukphotographersrights-v2.pdf

 

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