NPPA Attorney Explains Photographers’ Rights and How to Deal with the Police


The folks over at PDN recently sat down with National Press Photographers Association attorney Mickey Osterreicher to talk about photographers’ rights, police intimidation and how to handle yourself around cops who don’t understand what you are and are not allowed to photograph.

Given that a new confrontations between a police officer and a photographer seems to cross our desks weekly, the video could not have come at a more pertinent time. Educating yourself on your rights, the officers’ rights and how to calmly and politely handle a situation that is quickly going south is crucial info that any photographer who practices his craft in public ought to know.

The main gist of Osterreicher’s message is how to stay OUT of trouble while also getting the photos you need. He also suggests ways to explain your rights to an irate officer without getting arrested. And, on the maybe not-so-off chance you DO get arrested, he explains who to call for legal counsel.

Unfortunately the video is not embeddable, but you can watch the full interview over on Vimeo by clicking here.

  • Kynikos

    Remember how all the smartest, most thoughtful, and kindest kids in your high school class became cops?

    Me neither.

  • harumph

    The one kid in my high school who nearly beat to death two different people on two separate occasions was just elected county sheriff. He only punched me in the face once. I’m sure he’s having the time of his life now.

  • Kynikos

    The guy in my high school who became Sheriff was saying as early as Grade 8 “Just wait til the government gives me a gun”. I wonder if we went to the same school you & I.

    Sadly, I’m betting we didn’t.

  • BigEnso

    Always keep in mind that the rights he is talking about only apply in the US. I have traveled over a good portion of the world and I currently live in SE Asia. Most places the police have much broader powers of arrest, search, seizure, and other things you probably don’t want to think about. Care to try his recommendations with the Cossacks in Sochi? Even in Great Britain photographers have more problems with police than in the US.