In response to the “widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs or video in public places”, the American Civil Liberties Union has published a helpful article that clearly details what your rights are as a photographer in the United States.
Here are the main points you should know:
- When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view
- When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about the taking of photographs
- Police officers may not generally confiscate or demand to view your photographs or video without a warrant
- Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances
- Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations
- Note that the right to photograph does not give you a right to break any other laws
Be sure to read the entire article to make sure you know your constitutional rights.
P.S. It’s a good idea to print out a copy of your rights to carry around in your camera bag. If you want a durable — and more “official looking” — version of your rights to carry around, check out the Photographers Rights Gray Card Set we carry in our store.