Is it okay to take pictures to people you don't know, and post these to the internet?

tecboy

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I have seen some photographers taken pictures on random people. Some of them were not happy. It is okay or not okay?
 
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tecboy

tecboy

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Is it like stalking? What if this person finds out that his photo is on the internet, and he doesn't like it and sues me in court?
 

tirediron

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Laws vary, and a lot depends what you do, however as long as you are not using the work commercially (ie for advertising), then you're reasonably safe. If you're concerned, check with a lawyer who deals in IP law.
 

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I agree with Tirediron. Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and your best bet is to ask an attorney in your local area rather than a bunch of people on an internet forum.

That said, *IF* you were shooting in a public place where the subject would not have any reasonable expectation of privacy, and *IF* you are not trying to sell the photograph they you are REASONABLY safe. If you are on private property, or in a place where the subject WOULD have a reasonable expectation of privacy, OR if you try and sell the photograph, then you are on shaky ground.

The laws are sometimes vague because the circumstances are sometimes vague and there are all kinds of weird people in the world. For example, say you shoot photographs at a county fair that is on public property. Subjects there would not have any reasonable expectation of privacy so they are fair game. Now suppose that, for whatever creepy reason, you park yourself outside the women's bathroom and try to get shots inside while the door is open*. In that case the subjects would most assuredly have a reasonable expectation of privacy even though they were on public property.

* - No, I've never done that. No, I've never even THOUGHT about doing that. I heard it somewhere years ago as an example of why the excuse of public property is not always a valid excuse.
 

Tailgunner

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I agree with Tirediron. Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and your best bet is to ask an attorney in your local area rather than a bunch of people on an internet forum.

That said, *IF* you were shooting in a public place where the subject would not have any reasonable expectation of privacy, and *IF* you are not trying to sell the photograph they you are REASONABLY safe. If you are on private property, or in a place where the subject WOULD have a reasonable expectation of privacy, OR if you try and sell the photograph, then you are on shaky ground.

The laws are sometimes vague because the circumstances are sometimes vague and there are all kinds of weird people in the world. For example, say you shoot photographs at a county fair that is on public property. Subjects there would not have any reasonable expectation of privacy so they are fair game. Now suppose that, for whatever creepy reason, you park yourself outside the women's bathroom and try to get shots inside while the door is open*. In that case the subjects would most assuredly have a reasonable expectation of privacy even though they were on public property.

* - No, I've never done that. No, I've never even THOUGHT about doing that. I heard it somewhere years ago as an example of why the excuse of public property is not always a valid excuse.

Does parking outside a Hooters around closing hours count? I was parked next to a Hooters last night setting up my camera for some night time building shots when a several Hooters girls started walking by as I snapped off some sample shots. I could only imagine what they would think if I started snapping shots of them but I didn't.
 

SCraig

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Does parking outside a Hooters around closing hours count? I was parked next to a Hooters last night setting up my camera for some night time building shots when a several Hooters girls started walking by as I snapped off some sample shots. I could only imagine what they would think if I started snapping shots of them but I didn't.
Nope. Hooters is private property, not public, even though it is open to the public. Public property would be roads, parks, schools (maybe), basically anything, within reason, that your tax dollars go to support. Sometimes you can get away with things like that if you are parked on the public street shooting into the private parking lot, but not always.
 

Gavjenks

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Does parking outside a Hooters around closing hours count? I was parked next to a Hooters last night setting up my camera for some night time building shots when a several Hooters girls started walking by as I snapped off some sample shots. I could only imagine what they would think if I started snapping shots of them but I didn't.
Nope. Hooters is private property, not public, even though it is open to the public. Public property would be roads, parks, schools (maybe), basically anything, within reason, that your tax dollars go to support. Sometimes you can get away with things like that if you are parked on the public street shooting into the private parking lot, but not always.

This is incorrect. As long as the parking lot does not have a sign saying not to be there or to photograph, then you can go there on purpose, take photos of girls walking out, and publish them up until a staff person or owner tells you to stop, with no laws broken or liabilities incurred. (You can publish the ones taken before told to stop indefinitely.)

Hooters invites the public in freely, including to its parking lot, which means photos are unrestricted unless posted otherwise on signs that refer clearly to the parking lot or "this entire property" etc and are visible to a car entering the lot.

Which I highly doubt.

"Legal" doesnt make you not a creep though
 

SCraig

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This is incorrect. As long as the parking lot does not have a sign saying not to be there or to photograph, then you can go there on purpose, take photos of girls walking out, and publish them up until a staff person or owner tells you to stop, with no laws broken or liabilities incurred. (You can publish the ones taken before told to stop indefinitely.)

Hooters invites the public in freely, including to its parking lot, which means photos are unrestricted unless posted otherwise on signs that refer clearly to the parking lot or "this entire property" etc and are visible to a car entering the lot.

Which I highly doubt.

"Legal" doesnt make you not a creep though

I disagree however I'm not an attorney so I won't argue the point. I do know that once you step on private property a LOT of your rights disappear in a flash. Additionally, laws vary and what is upheld here might not be there. My philosophy for the past 40-odd years has been that if I'm on private property I don't take my camera with me unless I'm certain it is allowed. If I'm not certain I ask first. It's worked so far.
 

ceejtank

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I'm not a lawyer - so take this for what it's worth.. but what I've been told for Massachusetts is that if the person is the subject of your photo, and you plan on selling it, you need them to sign a waiver. However if they're in public, and you just feel like being creepy and taking pictures of people you don't know for your own pleasure? Then it's legally ok.. but you're sketchy in my book.
 

sm4him

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Yeah, the legal aspect, that's one thing, and others have covered it.

But then there's the question of WHY you're taking photos of strangers and posting them. To be sure, there are perfectly valid reasons. Traveler does it and takes some amazing photos of "real life." Many street photographers do it--people can be quite interesting, and so wanting to capture them being interesting seems perfectly understandable.

I'm no street photographer, and I rarely take pictures of random people (heck, I rarely take pictures of the people I *know*!). When I *do* take them, I rarely post them online. BUT, I can tell you what my two main rules would be (aside from making sure you are LEGALLY allowed to shoot whatever you're shooting), and that is:

1. DON'T be Creepy. MOST of the time, MOST people KNOW if something is creepy, so just don't take the shot if you KNOW it's kinda creepy. If you wonder if it's creepy, it's probably creepy. If nine out of ten people tell you it's kinda creepy, it's probably creepy. :lmao:
2. Be sensitive. If it's clear that someone doesn't WANT their photo taken, don't take it (there ARE exceptions of course: for instance, news photos that show someone well-known in some illegal or illicit activity. If I see the Vice President selling cocaine to someone, *I'm* taking a picture of it. And then I'm running the h*ll away from there. :lol: )
But just be sensitive and respectful of others. Also--taking random pictures of kids you don't know is probably not the best idea. Not really any less legal, I don't think, but definitely tops the creep rating for any mom or dad who catches you doing it and could make for some time delays while you explain to the cops that you're not a sexual predator. :D
 

Tailgunner

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This is incorrect. As long as the parking lot does not have a sign saying not to be there or to photograph, then you can go there on purpose, take photos of girls walking out, and publish them up until a staff person or owner tells you to stop, with no laws broken or liabilities incurred. (You can publish the ones taken before told to stop indefinitely.)

Hooters invites the public in freely, including to its parking lot, which means photos are unrestricted unless posted otherwise on signs that refer clearly to the parking lot or "this entire property" etc and are visible to a car entering the lot.

Which I highly doubt.

"Legal" doesnt make you not a creep though

I disagree however I'm not an attorney so I won't argue the point. I do know that once you step on private property a LOT of your rights disappear in a flash. Additionally, laws vary and what is upheld here might not be there. My philosophy for the past 40-odd years has been that if I'm on private property I don't take my camera with me unless I'm certain it is allowed. If I'm not certain I ask first. It's worked so far.

I was parked on a none Hooters parking lot (believe it's City property) located diagonally across the street from Hooters. The girls was walking on my side of the street on the side walk towards a non Hooters parking garage...essentially crossing two different street away from their place of employment. It just so happened to be near a really cool photo opt scene. Anyhow, I didn't take any pictures of them, like I said, I was just setting up my camera.
 

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