“No photos”

I’m sure this has come up before, but maybe someone reading this can explain why an employee of a local coffee shop would tell a customer not to take photos in the shop where he works. I honestly don’t understand why such a policy exists in this situation. I took a photo of a very nice display of pastries. Why would someone care about whether or not their merchandise has been photographed? In some circumstances, I clearly understand this – taking pictures of sensitive security-type areas (i.e. the Law Court building downtown), taking pictures of strangers without their permission and/or sneaking around taking pictures of people you don’t know deliberately. I also know clothing designers don’t want their designs ripped off and taking photos is an easy way to copy their clothes. Those things make sense to me, but I’m not sure how this is a threat to anyone:

No photos

Anyone can see nicer displays than this in a cookbook or a magazine cover. I can’t see anyone being able to take away any secrets from this. I did do a little bit of research, and found the following information in regards to taking photos in Canada:

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has several points which may relate to photography in public places:

Fundamental freedoms
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

Search or seizure
8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

If anyone has any idea as to why taking photos of merchandise is “wrong”, I’d truly like to hear that. I just want to keep practicing taking pictures. I’d like to be clear on what’s okay and what’s not. I didn’t see a sign in this shop that says “No photos”, but I have seen those signs at the Daiso and The TNT Supermarket AND at the Loony store.

[Source of the Canadian Charter of Rights and great article.]

7 Comments so far

  1. skye (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 11:57 pm

    here you go. http://ambientlight.ca/laws.shtml hope that helps.


  2. (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 8:18 am

    Would you want people taking photos of your stuff? Next time, just ask, first. As for taking photos in stores, I worked at a clothing store when someone walking by just randomly took photos. We didn’t know if he was taking photos in preparation to steal stuff in the future or what.

    The employees are just playing it safe, I think.


  3. Gregg (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 9:17 am

    I’ll agree that it seems weird that they cared that you were taking photos. However, the quote you found neither applies to your situation, nor in fact to the author’s situation. He states that these laws would likely preclude anyone from demanding he not take photos in a public place; but he was in the basement of a private building. Similarly you were in a private store, not a public place. The laws that do apply here are the laws of trespass.

    Still seems weird that they cared, though.


  4. Jonathon Narvey (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

    I agree with Gregg. My policy is to snap the photo and ask questions/press delete later.


  5. bcneocon (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2007 @ 4:40 am

    I find this to be a helpful guide (though it is American) “The Photographer’s Right” http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

    But basically you were in a private business and you have no rights to do anything. Shooting in public, on the other hand, no one can tell you what to do in most cases.


  6. ron (unregistered) on June 4th, 2007 @ 1:39 pm

    The request not to take pictures was unnecessary, but not unexpected (maybe the pastry business is pretty competitive?). The information embodied in the picture (the design and appearance of the each type of pastry) could easily be obtained by purchasing the pastries. The only added information derived from the picture is the manner in which the pastries are arranged in the display – i.e. mixed up and not placed orderly in rows, as seen in other pastry shops.


  7. SlaveToShopping (unregistered) on June 8th, 2007 @ 6:47 pm

    I took a bunch of pictures in the Daiso but did it on the sly cause they have those ‘no photos’ signs. I don’t care about the store or the merchandising in general, I just wanted to get shots of some of the funny products and packaging.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lipglossjunkie/23832646/

    I did get asked to stop taking pictures in theh T&T. I was doing the same thing – photographing packaging on products.

    What’s the big deal…they want me to buy the stuff and take pictures of it when I get home??



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