Photographer’s Rights

Photography in Canadian public places, know your rights & responsibilities.

Please know  these guidelines are for personal use of images.

Photographs that include identifiable people will  require model releases whether for commercial or amateur use.

Selling a photograph: the subject material may require permission from the owner. Examples: art work, custom/unique automobiles, celebrities, performances, any subject that can be identified as proprietary of another and/or subject material that is already copyrighted.  Please do your own research – helpful (but not definitive links below)

The right to photograph is different from the right to sell a photograph.

Photographers in Canada have the right to photograph in public spaces.
Know your responsibilities as a photographer.
Carry a printed card or sheet in your camera bag with this information. It can be helpful to assist well intention people who may suggest your photography is not permitted.

Print & carry 2 copies of  Photographers Rights a copy for yourself and a copy to share.

NOTE: The following information is provided as a courtesy – PLEASE do your own research and be comfortable with the information you have.

Photographer’s Rights & Responsibilities
These guidelines are secondary to common sense, manners and respect – remember it’s common courtesy to ask someone before you take their photo.

A. Permission to take a photograph is different than permission to sell a photograph.

1. You can make a photograph of anything and anyone on any public property, (i.e.) streets, sidewalks, town squares, parks, government buildings open to the public, and public places are all OK. Except where a specific law prohibits it – generally a posted sign will advise – lack of sign does not ensure permission to photograph.

2. You may shoot on private property if it is open to the public, but you are obligated to stop if the owner or owner representative (security or manager) requests it. (i.e.) malls, retail stores, restaurants and office building lobbies.

2a. You may photograph at public festivals and public events whether they are on public or private property, paid admittance or not.
The event organizer or their representative (security) have the legal authority to demand that you stop taking pictures – the photographer must comply or typically you will be evicted from the site.
Lack of ‘photography not permitted’ signage does not validate your photography.

3. Private property owners can prevent photography ON their property, but not photography OF their property from a public location.

4. Anyone can be photographed without consent when they are in a public place unless there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. (i.e.) private homes, restrooms, dressing rooms, medical facilities, phone booths & etc. Don’t confuse a ‘festival’ or similar event as a public place – paid admittance or not – see 2A above.

5. Despite common misconceptions, the following subjects in a PUBLIC setting are almost always permissible: accidents, fire scenes, criminal activities, children, celebrities, law enforcement officers, bridges, infrastructure, transportation facilities, residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. – Don’t interfere or cause rescue delays of any incident. Use common sense.

6. “For Security Purposes” is rarely an acceptable reason for restricting photography. Photographing from a public place cannot infringe on trade secrets, nor is it terrorist activity.

7. Private parties cannot detain you against your will unless a serious crime was committed in their presence. The detainers may face serious legal charges.

8. It is a crime for someone to threaten injury, detention, confiscation, or arrest because you are making photographs legally.

9. You are not obligated to provide your identity or reason for photographing unless questioned by a law enforcement officer – most local laws require you to cooperate with the police. Employ common sense and respect – My name is Bill, I’m a hobby photographer.

10. Private parties have no right to confiscate your equipment without a court order. Even law enforcement officers must obtain one unless making an arrest. No one can force you to delete photos you have made.

These are general guidelines regarding the right to make photos and should not be interpreted as legal advice. If you need legal help, please contact a lawyer.

When confronted, threatened with detention or the confiscation of equipment, ask the following questions: * What is your name? * What is the name of your employer? * May I leave? If not, what is the legal basis of my detention? * If equipment is being demanded, what is the legal basis for the confiscation?


Photo & Camera clubs: You may share this and include on your website. All we ask is a LCC acknowledgment.  Thank you, Bill Kellett   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                                                     If you have helpful information on this topic, please email: Bill Kellett Advocate

The above guidelines have been compiled from the links below -thankyou to all.
There is an FREE iPhone app available – search the app store for “photographers rights” it includes Canada, USA & more.

Copyright in Canada

Permission to take pictures in Canada

The Photo Forum/Photography Law in Canada

Sindark /Canadian Photographer Rights

Krages/Photographers Right

Flickr /Discussion

 Ambient Light Blog

  USA   Photography Is Not A Crime 

USA: Homeland Security Says Photography Could Be a Sign of Terrorism

photographers rightsphotographers have rights