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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    32

    USA/NYC Photography Policy/Guidelines

    Hi all,

    I am going on vacation to NYC next week and I wanted to ask if there are guidelines what I am allowed to photograph? I read somewhere that taking photos of bridges/government buildings etc is not allowed and causes problems with police , this would be bad - especially for Brooklin bridge and Public Library...

    I would appreciate to read what you know about this. (And if you have a suggestion where to go in NYC, I wont say no )

    Thx
    Student

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Kanagawa, Japan
    Posts
    267
    I think it depends where you are and who is watching, but agree that things are a bit over the top right now.

    If a man points a gun at you, don't take the photo. :-)

    I stayed in NYC for a month in 2007 for a surgical procedure. I didn't see any 'no photo' signs or people being told 'not' to take photos anywhere - at least that I can recall. I'm pretty sure I took photos of the post office and other public landmarks. The only bridge I photographed may have been the East river bridge, but I did that from my hospital room. My wife had no problems taking photos of the Statue of Liberty on a tour, among other landmarks.

    I would guess if you are at a location where photos are prohibited, there should be a sign or a policeman. You can ask the policeman politely.
    "No matter where you go, there you are."
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,931
    "Move along sir you can't photograph this public building for security reasons. If you want memories of it please refer to Wikipedia and Google Street view."


    If you are a tourist and you are taking tourist type photos in public places you will have no problems at all unless you set up a tripod and light stands in Times Square at rush hour. If you have an upskirt camera mounted on your foot in the subway you will deserve the thrashing you will probably get.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Head north 'til you smack a polar bear, then crank it back 50 miles.
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    440
    Not an American (northern neighbor), but since I see pictures of bridges in NYC (and other cities) all the time, I'd say someone was pulling your leg. I don't think I'd snap shots of CIA HQ or anything, but overall, freedom is pretty much intact.
    Critique most definitely desired...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    295
    I have read about a few isolated cases of photographers with lots of pro-looking gear being harrassed by over zealous city enforcement agents insisting that permits were required, but NYC is of course a major tourist destination - thousands and thousands of tourists must take literally millions of pictures everyday... go have fun and take pictures of whatever you want.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    32
    Tanks for your replies.

    I think at the major tourist attractions it should not be that much of a problem and since I don't travel with a upskirt camera (an SLR tied on my foot, well that certainly would draw attention to me ), tripod or lots of pro-looking gear, I don't think that it should cause trouble.

    @KIWI: who the hell need light stands at times square? The whole crossing is a huge light stand.

    If I am not sure if photographing is allowed I will simply ask someone that looks official . Anyway I think that there are so many tourists taking photos at the touristic places that it doesn't matter if I be an additional one.

    Again many thanks to all

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,931
    Quote Originally Posted by student View Post
    @KIWI: who the hell need light stands at times square? The whole crossing is a huge light stand.

    Ah yes but is the light the correct type and in the correct places?
    If for example a Vogue fashion shoot was being done in Times Square there would be light stands everywhere. There would also have been permits obtained and probably a Police cordon around the area where the shoot was taking place.

    The basic point is that as long as you are hand holding a camera in a public place you should be fine. Problems can occur when you use tripods and other equipment that causes disruption to either pedestrian or traffic flow.

    Just remember one thing. Nobody including Police can force you to delete images that you have taken. If somebody tries to tell you that must must delete images make a judgement call but you are within your rights to tell them politely to get nicked.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    554
    i was in NYC regularly a few years back when I lived in Canada, never had anyone tell me I cant take pictures, the only place people looked at me a bit funny was on wall street... understandable I thought.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1
    Hi, NYC resident here.

    You're allowed to photograph anywhere you choose except, like the others say, where you need to set up a tripod, etc. I had my wedding photos taken at Grand Central Terminal and Central Park but it was professionally done and he had a permit.

    However, you're not allowed to take photos while driving through the various tunnels (Brooklyn Battery, Lincoln, Holland) and driving on the bridges. You can walk on the Brooklyn Bridge and take photos though.

    Almost everywhere you turn are landmarks, historical sites, or at the right time of day, a great photo op.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    295
    Quote Originally Posted by K1W1 View Post
    Just remember one thing. Nobody including Police can force you to delete images that you have taken. If somebody tries to tell you that must must delete images make a judgement call but you are within your rights to tell them politely to get nicked.
    Is this really true? I am not doubting you, just wanting to make sure. Do you have a link to somewhere that verifies this? I remember I took a picture of my buddy getting pulled over by the police, and the cop saw me and told me to delete the the picture. I did and then put the camera away immediately. I have always wondered how that worked.

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