Axholme CC

Photography in Public Places

There is no law in the United Kingdom preventing a photographer – whether amateur or professional – from taking photographs in public places. Nor do individuals have a legal right to stop a photographer from photographing them. Thus a photographer is perfectly free to shoot street scenes, landscapes, buildings, people, etc. without breaking any law and with perfect freedom to do so.

This card has been issued by the Bureau of Freelance Photographers to clarify the situation following a number of incidents in which photographers have been wrongly stopped – by police officers, security guards and other officials – from taking photographs. In one particular case, Suffolk Police were obliged to apologise to the photographer after one of its officers wrongly stopped a photographer from taking pictures in a public place.

Photographers should at all times co-operate with the police and should take particular care to avoid obstructing the police or emergency services.

This card is not intended to cover every situation that may arise but is a statement of the general principle – as confirmed by legal council – that except in the most exceptional circumstances, photographers are free under the law to take photographs in public places – whether for commercial or private purposes – without let or hindrance. Every care has been taken in the the compilation of this card, in the expectation that it will be helpful to photographers, but the BFP will not be responsible for any loss or detrimental effect arising from its use.

Copyright – Bureau of Freelance Photographers 2008.


Anyone wishing to print a copy of this statement and glueing it to a piece of card board, then please do so, it may one day help you out of a very difficult situation.