Photographers have wide latitude to take photos in public. They can even use a device such as a zoom lens to photograph action within public view or photograph private property viewable from public property. One situation in which taking photos in public might become problematic is if the photographer uses aggression or harassment to get photos of celebrities. Such paparazzi behavior can lead to criminal and civil charges of assault and false imprisonment against the photographer.
When Do Photographers Need a Film Permit?
Setting up a professional, commercial photo shoot on public property may require a permit from the city or municipality. Each local jurisdiction has its own process for issuing permits so start your permit quest by contacting the city or municipality’s film office. One potential stumbling block for some photographers to getting the permit is the requirement to have insurance.
How Can a Professional Photographer Use Photos of People?
The permissibility of publishing photos of other people depends on whose photo you have and how you want to use the photo. Here are some very general guidelines.
Taking and then publishing your photo of a person when the photo is directly related to a report on a newsworthy item is usually permissible. Publication does not violate the person’s privacy or pub¬licity laws.
You need the person’s consent prior to publishing the person’s photo in a commercial or advertising context. Otherwise, you violate that person’s publicity rights.
You cannot violate a person’s privacy rights by surreptitiously photographing the person when the person reasonably believes he has privacy.
It is never a bad idea to have a signed release from the person whose photo you want to publish.