UK Photography Law
It seems to me that one of the things that most of us take for granted is that people are going to behave in a decent manner – and the vast majority of the time you’d be right. I get it wrong, you get it wrong, we apologise as necessary and make right on our mistakes without the need for [further] prompting. Everyone shrugs their shoulders, no harm done, etc, and move on without the need for drama – the mantra of 99.9% of people you’d ever meet.
But what happens when you meet the 0.1%? Where do you go to from there? Particularly, it seems, as a photographer, where you’ll come across various individuals determined to make your life a misery just because you’re holding a camera in public.
On following one particularly sad case I read on Facebook, I came across a few guides that you might find useful when you’re out on location.
For a general idea of your rights as a photographer, there’s a sort of rough and ready guide to UK photography law that’s useful as a first point of reference.
I’d seriously suggest, though, that you take some of the quite blunt advice this guide gives with a fair degree of caution. Read it in the context of a much more up to date UK Photography Law guide that puts these issues in much more realistic and more detailed context.
Even then, I noticed the UK Photography Law Guide hasn’t been updated since 2009, so a bit more poking around turned up this page that sets out your rights as the best advice for photographers from the Metropolitan Police.
A good example might be that the UK police no longer have any power of stop and search under section 44 of the 2000 Terrorism Act, and can’t stop you filming or photographing incidents or police personal (as long as you don’t get in their way – that’d be obstruction). Other examples abound, like what you can and can’t do in public, what constitutes harassment, photography of – or on – private property, what constitutes trespass, photographing minors and children – just a number of the examples covered.
Give these a read if you have the time as they’re really quite edifying, and just might help you diffuse and deal gracefully with those 0.1% of people and situations.
All the best,
Chasing Rays Photography.