You may have seen some of the most unflattering photographs of your favorite celebrity and wonder how in the world they allowed a picture like that to be taken. However, there are certain laws that dictate when and where you can be photographed without your permission. If you are not aware of those laws, you might one day find a photo of yourself and wonder who took it and how.
Taking photographs without the permission of the subject is allowed on public property, including places like a park or city street. However, some public domains post signage banning photos including mass transit depots, government buildings and courthouses, according to Lawyers.com. Despite the legality of taking photos in public, it is still always best to get written consent from the photo subject before snapping the camera.
Reasonable Expectation of Privacy
Even in public places, there are areas in which are person is considered to have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This includes public bathrooms or dressing rooms, hotel rooms, locker rooms and other areas where privacy is considered a prerequisite to entry. Violating these areas may result in a civil infraction, and the person against which the offense was committed has the right to file suit against the photographer in question.
Going onto private property without permission is trespassing, even if it is only to take a harmless photo. In fact, if you both trespass and take photos of someone on private property, they have the right to sue you for an invasion of privacy; since private property is not a public domain, the individual in question has the right to expect a certain level of privacy, particularly if they don't consent to the photograph.
It may seem like a trivial issue -- and a positive thing -- to take photos of children on a school playground or at the local community center; however, without the permission of their parents, this is against the law. The reason for this is that no kind of consent can be given by children under 18, as they may not understand the implications of their consent.