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We'll tell you how to take pictures of people in public, how to shoot artwork and animals, when to acknowledge copyright and trademarks, how to safely sell your photos and what your rights are when dealing with police vs security guards.


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Members of the public do not need a permit to shoot in public places and, apart from some notable exceptions, you can shoot private buildings or property as long as you're standing on public land. There are some 'prohibited places', which it is an offence to take photos of such as factories, dockyards and mines owned by the Crown. Some public places also have bylaws preventing commercial photography, such as in Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and some Royal Parks. But if you're not taking photos for commercial gain or causing an obstruction, you're unlikely to be restricted.

That's not to say you won't draw some attention. Stake out a street corner with an SLR, long lens and tripod, and you might be approached by over-zealous security guards, keen to see what you're up to. Be courteous and polite, but be aware of your rights. It can be hard to discern if you're on public or private property, as a lot of private property isn't clearly marked.

Unless you're absolutely sure that you're on the public highway, it pays to be cautious. If you're on private land and the owner asks you to leave, failure to do so will be classed as trespass. They can use reasonable force to make you leave the land, but this doesn't include grabbing or smashing your kit. Also note that it's a criminal offence to commit trespass on railway or military property, and some politicians' and Crown property in the UK.

The Essential Guide to Photography and Copyright Law

Be careful when you're out and about in the country with your camera, too. Most fields, and all farmland, in the UK are privately owned. If shooting within the boundaries of a farmer's field without permission, you'll risk trespassing, unless you're on a designated and marked public footpath.


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  • Shooting a field of flowers from the public road is fine, even though they're on private property see our 25 flower photography tips for beginners. You can take photographs at train stations for personal use. Any commercial photography requires prior permission from the train operator or Network Rail.

    The Essential Guide to Photography and Copyright Law

    Flash photography is banned, and you may be asked not to use a tripod, too. Personal photography is fine, but you must not use a flash or a tripod on the platforms. If you want to spend longer than 15 minutes taking pictures, or you want to sell the pictures, you need to apply for a permit. Airports are private property, so restrictions apply.

    Book Review: The Photographer’s Legal Guide

    Generally, only photos for personal use can be taken in the terminal lounges. Most civil airports have viewing areas outside the boundaries, from where you can shoot aircraft. Are you breaking any law when you're taking pictures of people in public? Probably not, but the position under UK law is uncertain. There are currently no general privacy laws under UK law, but the UK courts must take into account the European Convention on Human Rights, which gives everyone the right to respect for their private and family life.

    As this is an area of law that has been developing rapidly over the last few years, it is hard to be certain what will constitute an infringement. The key issue is whether the place the image is taken is one where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

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    For example, it has been suggested that the right of privacy of a child could be infringed by publishing a photo of them with their parents in a public street. It is therefore advisable to be careful when taking photos intended for publication, even where the subject matter is in a public place. Failure to obtain a model release for the use of an image will certainly make it harder to sell the picture to stock libraries. No matter where the image was taken, retouched, or printed, if the image is shown in NY, it needs to satisfy the crystal clear NY statutes. What matters is where it appears, not necessarily where the image was shot.

    Generally speaking, you are required to obtain the written permission of a subject for his or her inclusion in any image used for advertising, promotional, or trade purposes—regardless of whether the photo is used by a for-profit or not-for-profit entity. In this respect, a photo employed in a Red Cross advertisement is no different than an ad to sell Dell computers.

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    Images from wedding and portrait work should be released if you intend to use them on your website, in your blog, as a display in your studio, for self-promotion, or in a mailer. Images used for editorial or certain fine art uses generally do not require a written model release. In the event your subject objects to such use, a court may closely—and we mean closely—scrutinize your fine art credentials.

    This book contains a lot of useful information about legal rights of the photographers, it has even some info about workers compensation claim. I bought it for my son, he loves photography since childhood, he is talented and some people suggested him to start making money with his camera.

    Photographers should take care of these legal issues so that they can avoid all sorts of legal troubles. However, they should also stay informed about legal assistance available to them, for instance, if they get detained they should go for state bail bonds. Log in or register to post comments. FFF Submitted by jaquline on April 12, - 3: This book contains a lot of Submitted by dinacociug on April 16, - 6: Photographers should take Submitted by leonardo85 on July 31, - Latest Trending Photos Videos.

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