Tag Archives: legal

Slightly Off-Topic: Photographers’ Rights

This isn’t really about how to take better pictures, but it’s important enough that I want to share.

Yesterday, while walking through San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood, I spotted a sign in a bookstore window. The sign reminded me of something, so I pulled out my phone and took a picture of it. Just as I finished taking the picture, one of the store’s employees came up to the window and gestured to indicate that I wasn’t allowed to do that.

I didn’t push the issue, but he happened to be dead wrong. In the US, I have every right to photograph the exterior of a commercial building, so long as I am doing so from public property. If I’m on private property, the owners of the property have every right to ask me to refrain from taking photos, and I must do so.

Every photographer should read the following information on photographers’ rights.  It’s even provided as a printable PDF, so that you can keep a copy in your camera bag.  In our current social climate, photographers are being hassled more and more in the name of security, and it’s important to know your rights, responsibilities, and restrictions.

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