Over the weekend, one of our local papers ran an excellent editorial about photographer’s rights. If you photograph in public often as many iPhoneographer do, the chances are good that someday you will be stopped and questioned by security or law enforcement. Unfortunately, in these times, this is something that as artists we must be prepared to face.

We’ve covered this before, but it’s always a good subject to revisit, both as a refresher and for those who’ve just discovered iPhoneography and mobile photography.

In general, it’s legal to photograph most publicly visible areas. It may not always be a good idea to, but for the most part it is legal. Use your best judgement. Just because someone can’t be an a–hole doesn’t mean they won’t be one. And without a court order, no one can confiscate your camera or force you to erase your photographs.

I’ve run into this problem in the past while photographing downtown Los Angeles. Apparently, Downtown LA is scenic enough for TV and film but not so much for a couple of tourists. We were nice, answered the questions, and after a few minutes were sent on our way with a promise that we wouldn’t photograph the exterior of the PG & E office building downtown. It was uncomfortable.

The Dallas News story is a good primer on your rights as a photographer, what you can do, and more importantly what can be done to you for taking photos in public. Enforcement is sometimes illegal and frustrating, but it’s good information to know what you can photograph and your protections are under the law.

Law enforcers can and should be vigilant for real threats. But people engaging in photography of places that are visible to the naked eye from public property are rarely cause for police intervention. It is time for law enforcers and their chiefs to better understand national security law before attempting to enforce it.

Click here for the full story on DallasNews.com. This story may only be live for a limited time. The News tends to put their stuff behind a paywall.