Street Photography Laws (Know Your Rights)

Street Photography Laws

Street Photography Laws: What, when, how?

There are no laws governing street photography, but there are rules that you should follow to make sure your images are safe for publication. Most photographers have a reasonable understanding of the law, which is why it can be so difficult to make money out of street photography without breaking the law.

Street photography can be both a hobby and a way of earning a living, as long as you stay within the confines of the law. However, in many countries it is illegal to photograph people in public without their permission. To gain consent, you need to explain what you are doing and obtain written consent before photographing your subject. If you are taking photos in the UK you will have to obtain a ‘still’ or ‘portrait’ license. This applies to all the images you take of your subject, including those taken on the street or taken with your mobile phone or camera.

Street Photography Laws

For the sake of safety, it is advisable to ask your subject for written consent, as verbal consent is not legally binding. Photographs of people on the street cannot be published without their consent and you may be liable for any copyright infringements. If you find yourself in the situation where someone accuses you of taking their image without permission, then they can file a complaint against you with the local police.

There are some exceptions to this rule: for example, if the person you are photographing has given permission for publication. It is also legal to photograph an event, such as a wedding, or when you are using a still or portrait license to take photos of people in a public place.

When photographing people in public, it is very important to give them space and make sure that they do not feel uncomfortable. In some countries it is illegal to take photos of people in public without consent and there have been reports of people being arrested for doing so. There are even laws regarding how close you should be to your subject. In the US state of Texas, for instance, you must keep a distance of at least 10 feet (3 m) from your subject. The reason behind this is that you need to have enough space to take a photo without anyone getting in the way. You could also be breaking the law by using a telephoto lens if you don’t have sufficient space to get away.

In some countries, like the UK and France, photography in public is prohibited at all times, but in others, such as Spain, it can be restricted at certain times of day, such as early in the morning or late at night. For example, in London it is prohibited to photograph any living creature between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm. Some cities, such as Boston in the USA, are covered by specific regulations. There are also restrictions on when photography is allowed in different places, such as government buildings or private clubs.

The best way to find out about photography laws in your own country is to ask a local photographer, who should be able to help you out. A good starting point would be the British Standards Institute, which has a searchable database of all photographic laws in the UK. You can also check with your local police or the courts for the latest information.

As long as you don’t take photos in public without consent and you stay within the boundaries set by the law, you can make a living from street photography.

 Is taking street photography legal?

Street Photography Laws

Taking pictures of people on the street has been the subject of much discussion. In the past few years, people have argued about what is acceptable and what is not, and what is right and what is wrong.

We think that taking pictures of people is fine if you are doing it in an unobtrusive way that does not involve making contact or asking them to pose. If you are interested in photography, there are many books available to help you learn more. You could start by reading about photojournalism, or even art history. There are some great photographers and their work can be studied at art museums, such as The Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

You may also find it helpful to talk to someone you trust. They could point you towards some of the best examples of street photography, such as the work of Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Joel Meyerowitz and others.

Can you take a photo of someone without their permission?


You can take photos of people in public, so long as they are not doing anything that would be considered offensive to others, and it doesn’t affect them in any way. People who give consent can be photographed by anyone, including you, as long as you don’t use the picture for commercial gain and don’t sell it.

If you want to take a picture of a person, ask them if they’d like you to. If they say yes, make sure they’re aware that you have a camera. Don’t try to take pictures without their knowledge. It’s a bit sneaky and you run the risk of them not being happy about what you’re doing.

When taking photographs, use a zoom. It helps you take better pictures, especially of people who are not looking at the camera. Also, remember to set the flash to ‘auto’, not ‘off’ or it will wash out the color and make people look very pale. When you’re finished, put the memory card back in the camera and delete the image you didn’t like.

Don’t use your phone to take photos. You may be able to take photos using an app, but many apps have their own privacy settings which may not be suitable for people’s privacy. Your phone is probably the most likely thing that someone would object to, so it’s worth taking a moment to think about whether that’s something you want to do.

If the person doesn’t want to be photographed, you’ll need to find another way of getting their photo. You could ask them to write a message or take a selfie, or even ask a friend or relative to photograph them instead.

 Do street photographers ask permission?

Street Photography Laws

This is a tricky question because it is about etiquette. When I was living in London, I used to photograph on the street. I would ask people if they were OK with me photographing them and I would always include their name in the picture if I felt that it would be a nice touch. People often said yes and that was great! However, some people did not want their photo taken. And that is fine too, but I was not able to work out whether to ask permission or not. In the end I decided to ask and find out what they wanted. But it didn’t stop people saying no – sometimes it does happen and they are right to say so. It can be difficult to tell if someone has been taken by surprise or if they have just changed their mind.

The best thing to do is always ask first and make sure that you are comfortable with what you are doing. If it’s a group of friends then you should check they all agree before you start. This is also the case when photographing celebrities and models. Always check with them before you take their photograph because it may not be your place to do so.


In conclusion, I recommend that you make sure you have permission from everyone involved in any photograph you take.

If you are interested in learning more about street photography, you should check out my blog post on how to shoot photos without getting arrested.

You can also check out our other articles about street photography. It’s got some great advice about when and where to shoot and how to improve your street photography.

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