The ubiquity of camera phones has turned every layperson into a semi-professional photographer, and social media makes it even easier to spread photographs and video over the internet like wildfire. Sometimes, those photos and videos even end up changing the course of history, or igniting a movement. Still, the rules of photography in public spaces apply whether you’re wielding a $5,000 Leica or an iPhone.
For the most part, your right to take photographs and video in public places in the United States is protected under the First Amendment under free speech. This includes snapping pictures of your favorite monument when you’re on vacation or taking part in a little citizen journalism. It’s not as cut and dried as you may think and it’s good to know your rights and the caveats that come with them.