Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Photographers Rights

This is, of course, a huge, multifaceted issue.  With so many things happening in our communities today, we've seen a spike in journalist, photojournalist, and civilians with cameras being put in situations against law enforcement or government officials.  Never a very good place to be.

If you are ever caught in this position, as I've been, numerous times in the past, here's a few points to remember:

1.  Be nice.  Be polite, when you can, and make sure your answers, if you have to give any to begin with, are clear, concise, to the point, and...polite polite polite.

2.  Clear view=clear shot.  This is the basic rule to working in the press.  If you are on public property, and what you are photographing is in plain view, you are good.  Nobody can tell you otherwise.  They can request you not shoot...and by all means, there are times where you extending a little bit of professional courtesy is the right thing to do, but it is not against the law to shoot.

3.  Private property=game changer.  This is where the rules change.  If you are on private property, and the property owner request you not photograph while on private property, then you must not do so.

4.  You must still obey laws.  Shooting photographs...not against the law.  Trespassing on private property...against the law.  Kicking in a window to get into a building and photograph...definitely against the law...and so on and so forth.  Obey the laws.

5.  Nobody can delete or confiscate.  Law enforcement wants a look at your images...there are instances where they can do so...LOOK at your images.  Not confiscate.  Not delete.  Look.  And these are in extreme circumstances, where a major issue was occurring.  This is a rare exception.  For cell phones, a warrant is necessary to search, and this is direct from the Supreme Court.

6.  Its not us vs them.  Remember...law enforcement is on our side.  Police officers and order are to be respected, honored, and adhered to, as much as possible.  They are some of the most valuable assets in our world, as civilians, and as artist, and we should remember that...but we must also remember that we have our rights as well.

Obviously there's many more aspects to this subject, but, keeping these points in mind will help you out quite a bit in the long run.

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