What are the laws on street photography in the UK?

I have only recently started to act upon my passion for photography (im 14). I am experimenting with different types of photography to see what I enjoy most. I have done some wildlife, plants, landscapes etc.. but i have not tried to do any street photography yet because I am worried about any laws that state that I cant photograph people, especially children.

So, are the any laws that I would have to follow when trying out street photography (IN THE UK) or can I just take them without worrying about anything legal?

I would really appreciate any answers. Thanks:)


oh, and here are some fo my photos if you want to take a look:


Update 2:

^^(the children in my photo's are my cousins, its not a problem)

14 Answers

  • Andy W
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favourite answer

    In the UK you can take photographs of anyone who is in a pubic place.

    Simple as that really.

    There is no difference between adults and minors.

    Oh! and contrary to what everyone seems to think, in the UK there is NO requirement in law for a model release to publish those photographs either commercially or otherwise.

    You could sell them to a company who then used them in an advert.

    The PUBLISHERS could then (possibly) be liable if the person decided it was libelous or held them upto ridicule.

    But there is absolutely NO law in the UK requiring a model release.

    @kevin arli - rubbish - there are no laws preventing the taking of pictures of kids (or anyone else) at swimming pools/playgrounds etc. There are a lot of stupid councils/schools/parents who seem to believe, WRONGLY, that there are privacy laws or it is against the data protection act etc.

    You can only legally be prevented from doing so on private land. So if a school has that policy then if you did so you would be committing a trespass as would be the case in a swimming pool or the like.

    There are NO "pedo" laws preventing the taking of pictures.

  • 9 years ago

    As long as you are in a public place you can shoot anybody (including children). You do not need a model release or their permission, either to shoot them or to display their images for self promotion (online blog, gallery, photo site) nor for editorial purposes (newspaper/magazines). You DO need a model release to use their image to sell a PRODUCT.

    You should not imply anything untrue about any person in an image or you could be sued for defamation (for example, taking a shot of a man outside a massage parlour & implying that he was a customer when he wasn't).

    Do also be aware that there are places where the public have access, but which are privately owned (shopping malls, train stations) - there the land owner can make whatever rules they like about photography.

    Do also use common sense - if someone is harassed or upset by your photography then back off & apologise - don't give street photographers a bad name by persisting where it's not wanted (even though you have a legal right, it doesn't mean that it is always sensibly to exercise that right).

    A lot of wannabe security staff, PCSO's and the Police themselves are clueless about the above - so just watch out for that (although the Met are getting a little better since guidance from the Chief Police Officers Association has been hammered home.

    Source(s): UK street photographer http://www.flickr.com/photos/deepbluephotography/
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Just because the public are admitted or have "free" access does not mean the land is public. Chances are if it is a park or a field that there will be restrictions on commercial filming or photography as it may not be "public" land. You need to contact the council initially to find out if they or someone else owns the land and get the regulations regarding commercial filming. The law basically is that there is no law against filming and photography on public land. There are rules on obstruction etc. so if you are using tripods or other equipment and a load of people then you could fall foul of the police for this reason. a

  • B K
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    In the UK - street photography is completely legal - there is no law stating you can't take photos of particular groups of people - if it were any other way, then photojournalists would find themselves sued left right and centre.

    If people are in a public place (like a street) you can take their photos legally without their permission (that includes children). If the photos are for self promotion, or fine art purposes (like selling prints of your work), or for news, photo journalism, online magazines or blogs - you will have no problems. If you tried to sell the images to a company who used them to promote services or products, then you could find yourself in deep water - you'd need a signed model release form.

    Also not all apparently "public" places are actually "public" - some are privately owned - like shopping malls. Generally you need to avoid being on private property when taking photos.

    HOWEVER, that doesn't mean to say you have to suspend your powers of common sense when doing so. You need to be courteous, if you are close up it's common sense to ask permission to avoid a punch in the face, if people object - don't do it, don't hound people, and unless you want some unwelcome attention - avoid taking photos of children as the main subject of your photo, unless you have permission from their parents (even though this is not a legal requirement).

    If a policeman or member of the armed forces asks you not to take a photo of something - it's best to comply. Avoid confrontations at all costs, unless you are a photo journalist seeking confrontation.

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  • 9 years ago

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_l... should get you started. http://www.urban75.org/photos/photographers-rights... is a bit more accessible.

    By and large you can shoot what you like out on public property but useage of what you shoot can be limited. If, for example, you sold this to a company http://www.flickr.com/photos/macrogirl_13/59935598... you could face a legal battle with the parents of the girl.

    With children you do have your sex and age as an advantage. Most parents will not see a 14 year old girl as much of a threat as they would an adult male photographer.

    Speaking for myself, I'm very hesitant to shoot other people's children. If anyone indicates to me that they don't want their photo taken I'll stop at once. That has worked for me ever since I got into photography

  • 9 years ago

    I am sure you can basically photograph anything in a public place...obviously you wouldn't follow children around to take their picture and be persistent or harrass but a nice scene in the park that contains children is fine...similarly, you cannot trespass to take photo's but there is no law to prevent you taking a picture of a rose bush in someones garden that you can see from a public position...a good thing to know is no one has the right to confiscate your camera without a court order so snap away with common sense I say.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Under British Law we have no constitution, however anything that isn't openly prohibited is permitted. Therefore since there are no laws banning photography, it is perfectly legal to photograph on the streets. However each person also has a right to privacy, therefore you must respect each persons requests to not be photographed. Furthermore, each person has the right not to have their image commercialised, you must ask them to release their image in order to commercialise it, however those used for journalistic purposes may be used without release.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Buy some photographic magazines, Amateur Photography is very good, they have a website, they will know more. One of their photogs was stopped, in public, from taking some pictures, some tourists were stopped by police for taking pictures of a public building, the MI6 one. So, get information, not, "well I think", answers.

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