If you are a photographer, then it is likely that you are going to be taking photographs outdoors or in public environments. There are many times when photographers have been approached and even arrested by the police and it can be a huge inconvenience to you as a photographer to be accused of breaking the terms of homeland security, when you are actually within your rights as a photographer. In order to ensure that you will not be at risk of being inconvenienced by these hold-ups from any law enforcement agencies and miss your opportunity to take photographs, you should make sure that you know what your rights are, and even carry a list with you of your photography rights so that you can quote them if you should need to.
You are completely within your rights to take a photo of any public places or landmarks. This includes public buildings, roads, sidewalks and even government-owned parks. Unless there is a law that prohibits taking photos of these places, which is unusual, you are allowed to take photos of public places.
If you wish to take photographs on private premises that are still open to the public, then you are allowed to take photos unless the owner of the premises requests that you stop taking photos. If you are asked to stop taking photos, then you must comply.
If you are taking photos of a private property from a public location, for example you are taking a photo of someone’s home from the public sidewalk, then the owner of the private property can’t stop you from doing so. If you are in private grounds however, the owner of the property can prevent you from taking photographs.
If you are in a public place, then you can take photographs of anyone that is in that location. The exception to this rule is if the people are in public places where privacy is observed, for example restrooms and dressing rooms.
If anyone tries to claim that taking photographs in a public location is a breech of homeland security, then they are incorrect. There is no law that states that public photography is a terrorist act or that it poses any security risk to the country.
Unless you have actually committed a crime on private property, which taking photographs is not, then you can’t be detained by a member of the public. You can press charges against anyone who even threatens to harm, detain or take your equipment if you are taking photographs.
The only people that you will ever have to prove your identity or reason for taking photographs to is a law enforcement official or a member of the state who legally requests this information. No one can take any action against you unless they have a formal court order or if it is a law enforcement officer who is making an arrest. You can also refuse to remove any photographs that you have made, as nobody is allowed to force you to do this.
These are basic principle guidelines, and you should always check with a law enforcement agency to ensure that the photographers rules that you have are relevant to you and your work. You should also ensure that the guidelines that you have are up to date too.