Photographer's Rights

Who and what you can photograph in the UK

UK Law
The UK has relatively liberal laws regarding photography compared with many countries. Although there are some exceptions, the key principle is that you can photograph whoever and whatever you want, without needing permission, providing you are on public property.

Public vs Private
Many of the incidents in which photographers come into difficulty is that many places which you instinctively think are public property are in fact privately owned. This includes shopping centres, 'public' parks (depending on the attitude of the local council) and the Millennium Wheel on the South Bank in London. There is a trend for public places to become private, particularly in town centres which are developed with new shopping centres.

However, the biggest problem photographers face is the ignorance on behalf of public officials (police officers, Community Support Officers and (especially) private security guards), the owners of property and subjects. Very few officials understand the law and there are plenty of examples of photographer being told by police and community support officers that they are not allowed to take pictures, when in fact they are perfectly within their rights. See here for examples.

Many parents, teachers and even local authorities are of the opinion that a photographer requires their permission to take photographs of their children. There are cases where photographers have been denied permission to take photographs of their own children at football matches, by other parents with children in the game.

The aim of this site is to provide independent and impartial information about photographers rights in the UK.