Photographing people in public places in Pennsylvania is considered a form of free expression and generally comes under the protection of the First Amendment. Pennsylvania, along with all other states, has no specific laws that ban photographing people in public places where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. Bans on photography can be enforced in private settings, however, using other Pennsylvania state laws, such as laws against trespassing, harassment or invasion of privacy.
Pennsylvania Laws on Photography and Trespass
Pennsylvania has strong criminal trespass laws that can be invoked to prohibit photography of people where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Pennsylvania Code Title 1 Section 3503; Criminal Trespass, forbids anyone from entering a private residence or business for any purpose without permission. Although the law does not specifically mention photography, a ban on photographing people on private property without permission is implied. Places such as school grounds, for example are considered private and have wide latitude to forbid cameras and photography on their grounds.
Pennsylvania Laws on Invasion of Privacy
Pennsylvania Code Title 18 Section 7507.1; Crimes and Offenses; Invasion of Privacy, forbids photographing people without their knowledge or consent when they are in a private place, even if you are not violating any other laws. An example would be someone standing on a public sidewalk and taking a photograph of a private residence by putting the camera over a fence. Do not attempt to photograph anyone if they are in a place, such as their home, where they have an expectation of privacy. This law also forbids photographing intimate parts of a person in a public place without their knowledge. Such laws are popularly know as "upskirt" photography laws.
Pennsylvania Laws on Photographing People for Commercial Use
Photographing any person in Pennyslvania in public areas without violating trespass, privacy or harassment laws is allowed, but publishing these photographs for commercial purposes always requires a written model release. Commercial purposes includes commercial (stock) photography, advertising photography and art photography.
Pennsylvania Laws on Photographing People for Journalistic/Editorial Use
In Pennsylvania, journalists and citizens have the right to photograph people in public places and publish the photographs for editorial purposes without obtaining a model release. If a journalist or citizen uses fraud, deception or unlawful means to gain access to a person or place not available to the general public, the laws of trespass or invasion of privacy can be enforced.