With so much going on in the world these days it’s often a hard task keeping up with rules and laws regarding where you can and can’t take photos. You’ll find they vary in each country and it’s important that you do some research into the matter before taking shots in foreign countries as trouble could ensue if you don’t follow local laws.
Photographers have rights and if you know them you shouldn’t let them be abused. Many people hand over their cameras and images when they aren’t required to by law.
In America, you have the right to take photos of anything in a public place and may also take shots in private places if you have permission from the owners. Some areas may be off limits, but there will be signs notifying you of this.
U.S. courts allow people to photograph things such as accident scenes, law enforcement officers, transportation facilities, public utilities, commercial and residential buildings, public officials and criminal activities.
Most places that are relevant to national security, such as nuclear facilities and military installations, won’t allow you to take photos for obvious reasons. However, many people still take them from a distance.
Many photographers are confronted by employees or security guards of organizations when taking photos, but this shouldn’t be done if you’re in a public place.
Be aware that shopping malls and other stores are private property. The police may also request you stop taking shots if you’re endangering anybody’s safety.
You don’t have to reveal your identity or explain what your photos are for when taking them in public places unless state law requires you always have to identify yourself. However, harassing photographers in some states is also a crime.
Nobody has the right to ask for your camera or equipment unless they have a court order. If they do so under a threatening manner, they could be punished by law. Confiscating your equipment is viewed as theft and it’s a violation of your civil and constitutional civil rights.
If anybody threatens you, including the police, you should report the incident to higher authorities as soon as possible.
If asked to give up your camera equipment you should ask for the person’s name, who they work for, and what legal basis they are using. Unpleasant situations can occur, so you need to use common sense. Remember, other nations may be different, so make sure you check into their laws.