Right Moves: Privacy Laws

Myrna Kresh

Myrna Kresh, has 30 years of experience working with emerging and established photographers. Formerly the Executive Director of the Advertising Photographers of New York, Myrna energized and expanded APNY’s Assistant and Emerging Photographer Programs and has a profound understanding of what it really takes to make it as a pro. Myrna is an industry insider, producing and representing visual artists, in their commercial and personal projects.

Dear Right Moves,

Am I legally permitted to photograph strangers in public places? Are city and state parks considered public places?

On The Street

Dear On The Street,

Yes, you can photograph strangers in public places, unless you do it to such an extent and in such a way that you become a harasser or nuisance to the public, instead of a photographer. City and state parks are generally public places. Figuring out what is or isn't a public place is usually easy, but not always. If the public is allowed free and unrestricted access to a place, like streets, sidewalks and public parks, it is probably a public place (although parts of sidewalks and what appear to be public parks may be privately owned). Once you go indoors, you are probably no longer in a public place, and some person or entity can probably make the rules, including restrictions on making photographs.

Standing outside a store and taking a picture for publication of someone inside, either through the door or store window, is probably not a violation either. Standing in a store with glass windows and doors is not a situation that would give someone a reasonable expectation of privacy.

To submit your advice questions to
Right Moves, send an email to myrna@myrnak.com.



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