I found an interesting article that listed out the general photography restrictions of various countries and would like to share with everyone. To my surprise, some countries that I thought would have very strict regulations on photography turned out to be completely different. The article can be found at: http://www.thelongestwayhome.com/blog/how-to-guides/restrictions-on-photography-around-the-world-travel/
Worldwide Restrictions on Photography
It’s pretty obvious you shouldn’t stick your tourist camera into a private funeral service, or at an embassy. The latter being true as governments can’t seem to sue Google Maps for that at the moment, but they can give the lowly tourist some jail time.
Let’s be a little more general with this. What countries make travel photography easy or difficult?
Countries that make travel photography easy or hard
Here’s a short summary list starting with the best, ending with the worst restrictions in travel photography that I’ve come across: (notice the trend?)
Iran: Yes, surprise, surprise. Keep in mind I am not talking about journalistic rights, nor news photography here. As a tourist, you will be encouraged to take photographs of everything here.
Cameras can be brought into many mosques, and people will more than offer to help you photograph something. Most liberal place for travel photography I’ve been.
Exceptions: Tehran, the capital can be bothersome, photographing women without permission is not allowed, government buildings (and, I would imagine photographing protests, and “that” embassy) are not encouraged either. But after that, as a tourist / photographer / writer I found Iran to be great.
In Iran, being a photographer labels you as an ”artist,” something that’s still highly respected there by the people
Nepal: Taking photographs on the top of the world is one of the better places to do so. No restrictions on photography anywhere, including protests and the odd riot.
Apart from the (U.S.A) American club in Kathmandu which has issues with anyone pointing a camera remotely near them. A great place to annoy them, considering they are located right at the end of a main tourist zone
Pakistan: Take a camera out and be instantly surrounded by people beaming to have their photos taken
India: Plenty of international and domestic camera happy tourists means once again you’ll be ignored with a camera in hand in most places
Spain: Tourist mecca that’s very used to travelers with camera’s pointed everywhere
Germany: Surprisingly free & liberal, photography is still considered an art here
Turkey: Tourism is big here, your camera is no problem
Poland: You’re largely ignored on the streets with a camera, but take it into a ticketed tourist spot and you have to pay extra
Romania: Again, the annoying “extra” fees at tourist attractions. Pay for a ticket, then extra for a camera
Philippines: No problems anywhere. Except that is for the Malls. Special reference goes to SM Mall who threaten to take you away if seen to photograph their mall from their grounds. One is still free to photograph their building from a public road. Though they still like to pretend they are the police, chase after you and claim it’s illegal to take photos of the building. (the company policy states nothing of this kind)
China: Beijing no problem, even the police will pose for you. Outside of Beijing, and the more remote it gets, the police will start to hiss at anyone for stepping out of line. The locals will love you though!
Tibet: Everything is tourist controlled, “travel” photography is encouraged, so long as you don’t flip into video mode an interview a monk. Or soldiers taking them away. Locals have also developed that horrible “1$ for photo” line. Don’t encourage it!
U.K.: Recent laws passed & a confusion in the terrorism act has meant numerous travelers and locals have been arrested for taking photographs of public buildings. Dare you take your camera out on the British high-street without a security detail or the “community” police arriving enforce with 101 questions as to why there’s a camera present in public.
Will the U.S.A. be next? Take your camera to the park as a male and you’ll probably find yourself on the sex offenders list the next day as you try to get out of jail. Yes, the land of paranoia is slowly following the U.K. in restricting photographers for the “safety” of the people.