We Shoot People! - London's 1st Street Photography Group Message Board › Am I allowed to photograph people in a public place?

Am I allowed to photograph people in a public place?

Linda
user 13734081
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 5
Many people are unaware of what their rights are when it comes to photographing in a public place. This makes many people afraid or nervous to go out and do what we enjoy doing - which is be creative and express our artistic side.

I came across this recent documentary clip which was filmed by the London Street Photography Festival who do annual events every year. I hope you will find it informative and also give you some confidence when you next go out shooting!

http://www.youtube.co...­

Cheers,
Linda

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Paul C.
user 11995747
London, GB
Post #: 1
Great job in highlighting the problem which appears to be a combination of paranoia obscuring common sense and just plain ignorance of the law. Also, it demonstrates that a sensible and calm dialogue will usually resolve any potential conflict - unless you're talking to robot...!
Mike R.
user 28945372
London, GB
Post #: 1
I was asked by a security drone to stop photographing a building near Embankment recently (I was photographing reflections in the glass for about 20 seconds). The guard said I couldn't take photographs but couldn't tell me why, so I just carried on and left when I'd finished.

Actually I'm more concerned about photographing people, I know by law you can do that in a public space but a) I don't want a confrontation and b) I don't want to ruin anyone's day...
Linda
user 13734081
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 6
As Paul rightly pointed out, it is complete paranoia and a big lack of common sense. I mean a potential terrorist doesn't plonk a tripod down and start snapping away in the middle of central London for one thing!

In regard to photographing of people, yes it is a different thing - its not against the law, but its just down to people's OWN paranoia or personal choice on whether they mind you taking a photo of them. The way I and most street photographers get around confrontation, is to either smile or say thanks if they clock you. If they ask why you took their photo - give them a compliment and/or get photography cards printed up and hand one to them - that way any paranoia goes out the window and they leave the situation feeling flattered!
Julie K.
Julie70
London, GB
Post #: 36
I was asked by a policeman "not to take photos" in a London Station (Waterloo) unless I ask the Station Director the right to do so. We were two photographers and went to the Station Director who, after a time came and told us "this is public space, you can take photos, if they tell you again not, send them here".

In regard of the street and people, yes, a smile goes long way, I sometimes ask and show the result, or do not ask and show the result, give my card and tell them they can take the photo from there. Many are very happy with that. At my beginnings, seven years ago in Paris, I even printed and went back to give them, when it was possible.

As to candid images, I use no click and no light and most of the time people does not know even I have taken it. Yes, a smile or taking fast another image goes long way.

It happened three time, people recognized themselves or someone known by them and send me a happy email, thanking me I took it - for ex. at Trafalgar Square Wedding day, last year, or near Opera House in Paris, and that from far away places in the word!
Linda
user 13734081
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 8
Great stuff Julie. Nice to hear some positive stories on this subject matter. You just need to know your rights and avoid ignorant jobsworth security people! biggrin
A former member
Post #: 5
Really interesting video thanks for sharing. With regards to photographing people I just wanted to add my two cents in and say that I agree with Mike here. For me I feel that if somebody doesn't want to be photographed (regardless of their reason) then that decision should be respected - end off. Plus the thought of being the cause of someone's upset makes me feel quite uncomfortable. There are plenty of people out there who don't mind being photographed so just find someone else. I photograph people in public spaces quite often for my fashion blog and get all sorts of reactions - mainly positive though, as mentioned before, people tend to be flattered. Photographer's card are definitely an essential when out on the streets, tend to make people feel more reassured.
Linda
user 13734081
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 9
I totally agree with you Amy. The main art of Street Photography is reading people's body language and moods and if you know someone looks uncomfortable or just doesn't want their photo taken, simple move on. The best technique of street photography is to photograph them without them even knowing that you took their shot in the first place, but if they do, give them positive vibes - a smile, a compliment, a card, etc to make them feel reassured :)
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