I was asked this week by a client to shoot some images of a shopping centre. This was an outdoor (mostly) centre, privately owned, and managed by a separate management company based on the site.
In general, under the laws of the United Kingdom, you cannot prevent photography of private property from a public place, and in general you will need permission to take photographs on private land. Landowners are permitted to impose any conditions they like upon entry to a property, such as forbidding or restricting photography. The usual restrictions are in respect of photography for commercial purposes.
In this case, I had to seek permission to shoot the images. I started on site, in the centre, with no idea where to go. Seeing a couple of policemen having a chat, I decided to ask them where the management offices were. One of them, kindly took me through to the management suite, hidden away behind all the shops, and the staff here referred me on to the landlords agents, who were based in Manchester.
The agents were great, and were just looking to ensure that the images taken did not show the centre in a bad light.. a phone call to confirm that all was well, and back to the centre to pick up a visitor pass. Security were advised that I was on site, and that I was shooting with full permission… and we were away. Shots done in a couple of hours and back to the office to process the images.
As photographers, we need to know where we stand in relation to copyright and trespass. As a rule of thumb, provided you have permission (if on private property) or you are photographing a subject which is on public land, then there should be no restrictions.
Photographers are being challenged more and more by police, and security guards, as well as members of the public. Although personally, I have never been approached, other than in a a friendly, conversational way, I do know of photographers who have been dealt with harshly – and told that they cannot take images.
There are some great resources on the web – one in particular UK Photographers Rights
Overall, I find that if you are polite, follow the rules, and are considerate of property belonging to others, there is generally not a problem.
Many thanks to GVA Manchester for their permission to shoot on behalf of Stockport Tourist Information.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and experiences…..