Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Law & Photography

Above pic my son and a organic apple in Moore State Park, Paxton, MA.

The other day I was in the park in Springfield, MA. a man rode by me on a bike. Click went my camera. Then I was a little worried. What if he didn't want his photo taken, while he was on his bike? What if he could sue me? What if he could make my life miserable, all due to a tiny lil innocent click of the camera? Well luckily he cannot. Number one reason, no one will know it's him. From the angle I shot the photo, you cannot tell it is anyone in particular. Just a person on their bike, riding by a duck pond. Later on I was snapping my children and a photographer, a local photographer was shooting pics of a family and she accidentally got into my photos too. My camera picked up on her, and the family, but since the focus was mainly on my family, she and that family are blurred. Lucky snap again I thought. These thoughts of mine, got me to thinking about ethics and photography. Photography and the law. What is exactly allowed and what is exactly not allowed, when taking photos out in public?

So in doing that little bit of thinking, I started googling. I found a treasure trove of goodies on the net as far as the law & photography. Photojojo got there before me, so here is their take. But basically if you're out and about in the world in public places, anything you see to photograph is fair game. If there is a sign saying no photography, you should respect it and not photograph it. If you don't, you can have a world of problems legally. Things also of this nature like Government buildings are also something one shouldn't photograph. I once took a snap of a Gov building that had cameras on it, aiming at me, nothing happened to me. That was just a old water tower though. Surely no one cares about that old relic. To better illustrate what I mean it's simple. Places of a secured type nature, like the Pentagon or a military base, you should not take photos of these places and post them on the net or elsewhere. We want security and safety in our country, we should protect these kinds of places. If people are punching in their ATM pin--not allowed. People having drinks on the patio of someone's home--OK if they are OK with it. If you have someone over and take photos of them & they don't know it. Totally illegal. You can get into serious trouble doing that. But that's a whole other topic and not something I'm worried about. But in a public space, almost anything is fair game. The Pentagon and places like that a total no no!!

Kenda at the (below pic) Ecotarium

This morning I was reading this article about a man in Boston Massachusetts (not far from me) that was interviewed by the Boston PD after a woman called them on him for being "creepy" and taking photos of children in the playground. He was carrying a camera, but ironically he wasn't taking photos at that time. She the lady who rang the police did take one of him. Ironic and creepy. What boggles my mind is that the Police didn't know the law?? It's totally legal to take photos of people, children, dogs, whoever if they are in a public spot and not doing anything of a sensitive nature. So this got me thinking again. You should know your rights as a photographer, and this is my main reason for this posting. If you don't know, this handy guide here is a good place to start. A lawyer is another good place to get more information. But carrying that handy guide (linked above) should be enough if you ever are questioned.

My Photography (pic above) business shirt & contact information.

I am glad I did some research on this topic. I am fully aware now and comfortable. If I have any troubles in public, I know who and where to refer people, so they can find out the law as well. Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer and you cannot use this information here for legal troubles. Do your homework. Talk to a lawyer if you're concerned. As with all my photography and artwork, it is for sale. Please leave a comment on the blog or contact hskoconnor@gmail.com for my up to date price list.
Thanks for reading! <3 Heather :)

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