Taking Pictures in London/UK

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by rfosness88, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. rfosness88

    rfosness88 TPF Noob!

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    Hey,
    Im going to London for a day to take pictures on the 18th, I was wondering if they have any special rules about taking photographs in public? I read some articles like taking pictures with police officers in it is now illegal or something...read that on Gizmodo.com a few months ago i think.

    Any thoughts? Asking if its the same as in Wisconsin/USA, I dont want my camera confiscated!!!

    Thanks,
    Richard Fosness
     
  2. KevinDks

    KevinDks TPF Noob!

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    No, it's not illegal exactly, the existing anti-terrorism laws were just extended as this article explains, to "target anyone who 'elicits or attempts to elicit information about (members of armed forces) ... which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism' ".

    Reading that kind of thing might give you the impression that you'll be arrested the moment you take your camera out, but I take photos in London most weeks and I've not experienced any problems.

    Kevin
     
  3. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

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    As Kevin says, you shouldn't have any problems as long as you don't look suspicious. I have a few photography friends who've regularly snapped the cops ( and other emergancy services ) doing normal stuff.

    Flickr: Wendelius' Photostream

    For example one of my friends.
     
  4. rfosness88

    rfosness88 TPF Noob!

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    great, thanks guys!
     
  5. Michael Touchette

    Michael Touchette TPF Noob!

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    I'm going to London this summer and have been doing some research and such as well. I've heard that it is looked down upon taking pictures on the tube, while not necessarily illegal. It seems that you should be fine taking tourist pictures, its more the British citizens taking pictures of police, on the tube, etc. that they believe to be shady. This is just my impression though, so take it with a grain of salt..
     
  6. pm63

    pm63 TPF Noob!

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    It's getting worse, but still not as bad as it could be. Basically, you're allowed to take photos of pretty much anything. It's not what you're taking photos of, but where you're standing when you take the shot. If you stand on any public area or any private property on which the owner has given you authorisation to shoot, you're good. The only exceptions to this rule could be seisitive areas/military installations, but you shouldn't really have a problem. It's true that that legislation has recently come into being that states that you can't take photographs of police officers. I don't suspect you'll need to, so just try to avoid that.

    One important thing to note is that under the anti-terror laws, the police have the right to carry out a random stop and search of you, taking down your details such as name and address etc. If this happens, don't worry about it, they just get put on some record (supposedly) for a certain amount of time, or until the government has their next IT screw up ;) This is likeley to happen if you're taking photos 'seriously' i.e. spending a lot of time on composition, using a tripod etc, and has happened to me on a number of occasions. One time my friend was using my camera near the US ambassadors' house in Regents Park, just before the then President of the US George Bush was due to fly in and stay there for the duration of his trip in London. Another time, me and a friend were taking photographs in Parliament Square, spending a lot of time and using tripods, and the police pulled up in a van and did the whole anti-terror thing. It's nothing to be worried about really, you still have the right to shoot there, but equally they have the right to take your details down. If any other officers stop you for the same reason that same day, you can just show them the copy of your details you're given to show that you've undergone the process already.

    Here is a downloadable PDF of UK Photographer's Rights:

    UK Photographers Rights

    Don't be put off by it. Have fun in London, it's a very exciting city. :thumbup:
     
  7. Jaszek

    Jaszek No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Haha imagine living in New York City and going to school about 100 steps away from ground zero. Yesterday everyone was just staring at my 70-200 but I think the cops saw me too many times there so they're used to me
     
  8. rfosness88

    rfosness88 TPF Noob!

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    thanks for all the info, so when they took your details down did they search you?
     
  9. pm63

    pm63 TPF Noob!

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    They didn't search me as such, but asked to see some of the shots I had been taking. I'm not sure if I had a legal obligation to oblige, but I did anyway in the interests of avoiding confrontation. There was nothing sensitive on there anyway, just the long exposures I had been taking of Parliament Square.
     
  10. iriairi

    iriairi TPF Noob!

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    Okay, so if you were a terrorist, would you really stand around for a while with a tripod drawing attention to yourself? I know they are the rules, I just don't always get the logic...

    I will now back away and return the thread to its rightful owner...
     
  11. rfosness88

    rfosness88 TPF Noob!

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    I better delete all my porno shots then! haha

    thanks for the info guys i'll post some pics on sunday when I come back.

    I'm only going to be there for 18hrs...but it should make for a good change in scenery from miles and miles of corn fields in Wisconsin.

    my round trip plane ride will be 18 hrs too lol... it'll be worth it since i usually get a free upgrade to first class ;)
     
  12. TheLionKym

    TheLionKym TPF Noob!

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    We commissioned a professional photographer to take pictures of the buildings we manage in the City of London and he said for the first time in his life he was stopped and questioned but then always allowed to get on with his work. He said he was polite and informative explaining to the security officers what he was doing and showed them some of the pictures he had taken.

    Hope this helps

    ****************************************

    luggage suitcases internal frame backpack
     

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