Can I Take your Photo? Photographer Rights

I remember a discussion going on in one of the photography groups I belonged to, about what are we allowed to take photos of. It started with news of a guy who was arrested for taking photos on the street. Here are some of my experiences.

My son learned that he could not have his photo taken in from of a federal prison. (He didn’t a picture of himself in front of a federal building). In front the Social Security building was no problem.

At a swim meet I noticed one guy who didn’t seem to be filming the swim meet. When everyone was standing up cheering, he was sitting down. Between events he was standing up filming. My first reaction was he must be filming the girls in their bathing suits. (No, not bikinis!) At the end of the event I was shocked to watch the dude follow my 16 year old son, with his video camera focused on my son’s rear end. I was steaming! Almost started a ruckus but decided to check further into the situation.

First I asked my son and he said yes, the guy goes to every swim meet, in town or away, and filmed the boys in their speedos. The boys weren’t happy about it, what could be done, it was in a public place. They “accidently” knocked him down at one time, thought of doing something to his car.

I called a friend in the police force and asked what could be done. The guy wasn’t following them into the locker room which would be a big NO NO! My friend reminded me that our swim events were on private propery “sort of”. Property owned by a college. That the guy probably had a previous record and as such not allowed near children. His actions were enough to alert campus security, and the coach.

I called the coach, and he talked to security. When meet continued the next day, there he was, filming the boys as they warmed up on the pool deck in their speedos. Security picked him up for questioning and searched his car while the sheriff department searched his home. Such enough, his house was full of child porn! Busted! No longer allowed near any swim meets.

I’d been taught that it was polite to ask permission before taking a photo, esp. if it was of a child. Puts the parents at ease. Offer a copy of your photo. Sometimes you see a shot don’t have time to ask first.

Today I bumped into an article on photographer rights. Good read.

2 thoughts on “Can I Take your Photo? Photographer Rights

  1. Good for you for following up and checking that guy out. He must have made your son and the other guys on the team feel awfully uncomfortable. Glad to learn he’s no longer a problem.

  2. Wow, Heidi! Great job, Lady! I hope there are many more parents out there like you paying attention.

    Yrs ago in the 80’s my daughter and her friends were approached in the mall and offered an “opportunity” to be “models” by some guy. Even brazen enough to invite them out to his van in the parking lot to take a few pics.

    No internet back then to aid in awareness, but I was an avid documentary follower and had seen several programs warning of such. So, had already had a talk with my kids (early teens at that time) and explained these things to them.

    Thank God for that because when this guy approached these girls, that knowledge gave my then pre-teen daughter the impetus to forcefully speak up right then and there to protect herself and her friends and send the creep on his way.

    A couple of her friends almost didn’t listen, but she stood her ground with them and convinced them to listen to her. I’ve always been proud of her guts and gumption over this deal.

    We also reported him to the authorities who kept an eye on him but couldn’t nab him on anything. Evidently he realized he was being watched and eventually left our small city in the midwest. I’ve often wondered if he was ever caught, charged, and convicted.

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