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Photography Is Not A Crime- Media Photography Tips

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Topic for all things media photography, from equipment, to guidelines, to best practices.


--- Quote ---Know Your Rights: Photographers (From the ACLU)

Taking photographs of things that are plainly visible from public spaces is a constitutional right – and that includes federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties. Unfortunately, there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs from public places, and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply. Learn more »
>> Know Your Rights: See more essential resources from the ACLU
> Article: Law Enforcement Harrassment of Photographers

Your rights as a photographer:

    When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police. Such photography is a form of public oversight over the government and is important in a free society.
    When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about the taking of photographs. If you disobey the property owner's rules, they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply).
    Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photographs or video without a warrant. The Supreme Court has ruled that police may not search your cell phone when they arrest you, unless they get a warrant. Although the court did not specifically rule on whether law enforcement may search other electronic devices such as a standalone camera, the ACLU believes that the constitution broadly prevents warrantless searches of your digital data. It is possible that courts may approve the temporary warrantless seizure of a camera in certain extreme “exigent” circumstances such as where necessary to save a life, or where police have a reasonable, good-faith belief that doing so is necessary to prevent the destruction of evidence of a crime while they seek a warrant.
    Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances. Officers have faced felony charges of evidence tampering as well as obstruction and theft for taking a photographer’s memory card.
    Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations. Professional officers, however, realize that such operations are subject to public scrutiny, including by citizens photographing them.
    Note that the right to photograph does not give you a right to break any other laws. For example, if you are trespassing to take photographs, you may still be charged with trespass.

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A good guide to print. I have something similar I keep in my camera bag that has a listing of all applicable laws associated with public photography and reporting.

Here is an example of a great 'story' photograph captured today by someone with a camera phone, not expensive equipment. The story is far more important than the technology.

The truck was stuck under an over-pass. Yes, the person shooting the photo was lucky, but they also had the eye to see a great composition of the sign on the truck perfectly working with where the truck hit the over-pass.  The image was perfect and the media grabbed it up.

When taking a photograph of an event, always think about the story the photo tells.



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