Photographers, Know Your Rights

As someone who earns a living taking pictures, and frequently does so in public, I’m particularly attuned to issues involving the constitutionality of making pictures in public. So it was with bated breath that I read the Know Your Rights, Photographer post at the American Civil Liberties Union web site. It serves as a reminder that you have the right to make pictures in public spaces of anything that is in plain view. Unfortunately, some law enforcement officers (and, often, private security forces) aren’t up to speed on the legality of photographing in public. So knowing the law, understanding your rights, and learning how to deal with someone who is detaining you can be a valuable skill for a photographer. I recommend that you brush up on your rights at the ACLU web site, and remember that no matter how “right” you may be, if you’re stopped by a police officer be sure to always remain polite and do not physically resist arrest. Knowing your rights might be protection enough.

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