Your rights as a photographer…

I thought this was worth adding to my web site. Due to the fact that I was run off the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

Your rights as a photographer:

  • When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police. Such photography is a form of public oversight over the government and is important in a free society.
  • When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about the taking of photographs. If you disobey the property owner’s rules, they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply).
  • Police officers may not generally confiscate or demand to view your photographs or video without a warrant. If you are arrested, the contents of your phone may be scrutinized by the police, although their constitutional power to do so remains unsettled. In addition, it is possible that courts may approve the seizure of a camera in some circumstances if police have a reasonable, good-faith belief that it contains evidence of a crime by someone other than the police themselves (it is unsettled whether they still need a warrant to view them).
  • Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances.
  • Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations. Professional officers, however, realize that such operations are subject to public scrutiny, including by citizens photographing them.
  • Note that the right to photograph does not give you a right to break any other laws. For example, if you are trespassing to take photographs, you may still be charged with trespass.

If you are stopped or detained for taking photographs:

  • Always remain polite and never physically resist a police officer.
  • If stopped for photography, the right question to ask is, “am I free to go?” If the officer says no, then you are being detained, something that under the law an officer cannot do without reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to commit a crime or are in the process of doing so. Until you ask to leave, your being stopped is considered voluntary under the law and is legal.
  • If you are detained, politely ask what crime you are suspected of committing, and remind the officer that taking photographs is your right under the First Amendment and does not constitute reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

Special considerations when videotaping:

With regards to videotaping, there is an important legal distinction between a visual photographic record (fully protected) and the audio portion of a videotape, which some states have tried to regulate under state wiretapping laws.

  • Such laws are generally intended to accomplish the important privacy-protecting goal of prohibiting audio “bugging” of private conversations. However, in nearly all cases audio recording the police is legal.
  • In states that allow recording with the consent of just one party to the conversation, you can tape your own interactions with officers without violating wiretap statutes (since you are one of the parties).
  • In situations where you are an observer but not a part of the conversation, or in states where all parties to a conversation must consent to taping, the legality of taping will depend on whether the state’s prohibition on taping applies only when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. But that is the case in nearly all states, and no state court has held that police officers performing their job in public have a reasonable expectation. The state of Illinois makes the recording illegal regardless of whether there is an expectation of privacy, but the ACLU of Illinois is challenging that statute in court as a violation of the First Amendment.
  • The ACLU believes that laws that ban the taping of public officials’ public statements without their consent violate the First Amendment. A summary of state wiretapping laws can be found here.

Photography at the airport

Photography has also served as an important check on government power in the airline security context.

The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) acknowledges that photography is permitted in and around airline security checkpoints as long as you’re not interfering with the screening process. The agency does ask that its security monitors not be photographed, though it is not clear whether they have any legal basis for such a restriction when the monitors are plainly viewable by the traveling public.

The TSA also warns that local or airport regulations may impose restrictions that the TSA does not. It is difficult to determine if any localities or airport authorities actually have such rules. If you are told you cannot take photographs in an airport you should ask what the legal authority for that rule is.

The ACLU does not believe that restrictions on photography in the public areas of publicly operated airports are constitutional.


Choosing a photographer

Choosing a photographer can seem a little overwhelming, because there are so many photographers with varying levels of experience, price ranges and philosophies. I am a career professional photographer and have been for a lot of years. I have had the privilege of serving many clients. In that time, I have heard the good and bad from customers about their experiences in portrait photography. I hope you will find the following information helpful.

Why Choose a Professional Photographer?

Think about all the time, effort and planning that goes into gathering everyone together for a family portrait, wedding, etc… These photographs can be a memorable treasured keepsake to enjoy throughout your life – but only if your photographer has the talent and skill to mentally focus, shoot and capture those defining moments. You do not want to risk diminishing your memories by hiring anyone other than an experienced photographer that you can trust. There is a common misconception that anyone with a good camera can take good pictures. The reality is, not everyone knows how to use their equipment properly. Yes, the camera equipment is important, but even more important is the talent behind the camera. Serious photographers also invest in current technology and software in order to be well prepared.
Here are a few tips:

1. Meet with the photographer – They should take the time to listen to what you want, and ask questions so they can get to know you. A photographer needs this information to create images that tell the story of who you are. You want a photographer who is flexible enough to meet your needs. For example, many families make their portraits more memorable by choosing a favorite location. Remember, you will be working very closely with this person. You should feel comfortable and totally at ease with them and they should be professional in their demeanor. This is especially critical of your wedding photographer because they will be following you around for each event. You do not want to be flanked by someone you find irritating, annoying, or offensive.

2. View samples of their work – This will give you an idea of both the style and quality each photographer provides. Look for a style of imagery that “speaks” to you. A good photographer should have the ability to capture mood, emotion, and sentiment within their photographs. The images should stir you in some way. Many people are choosing photographers who specialize in a journalistic approach of photography for their wedding portraiture, (this is a more candid and natural style). There is, however, a place for those traditional staged shots of family groups… but those in the group should look like they are having fun, even Aunt Ethel!
3. Artwork and Additional Services – Just as important as the captured image, is the artwork performed afterwards. This is where the current technology of the camera, computer and software gives the photographer his edge. It is amazing the difference even a small amount of experienced artwork can make to a finished portrait. For example: swapping heads, adding family members, slimming, removing braces, and so much more. Click on “Artwork” at the left for a presentation of “before” and “after” images. Also, ask the photographer about their other products and services such as custom announcements, unique wedding albums and sign-in books, special framing, photo restoration, personalized collages, hard-bound portrait books, or even salon services.

4. Ask about experience: A strong background in art, as well as photography is very beneficial. This strongly influences the quality of your portrait. Second: Ask how long they’ve been working in the field. This lets you know that they will conduct themselves professionally on the job, especially with the intensity of a wedding. If you are on a tight budget, hiring a less experienced photographer could save you a little money. However, the old adage, “You get what you pay for” is most often the case, and the best advice is that this is one area where you should not intentionally skimp.

5. Check references – A friend’s recommendation is helpful in finding a good photographer. However, you should still ask for references or testimonials of their work. You want to choose a photographer who is consistent in their quality.

6. Communicate – The photographer should have a clear understanding of your expectations. When you meet with the photographer discuss the services provided and the fees involved. If it is a wedding, ask for a copy of the wedding contract. This is for your protection as well as the photographer’s. Make sure you read and understand the contract, because this helps avoid any future misunderstandings.

Speaking of weddings, there are a couple other things that you should know:

If you’re dealing with a studio that employs a number of different wedding photographers, be sure you are viewing the samples of the actual photographer who will be assigned to your wedding. You’d be surprised by how often studios show prospective clients the work of photographers who will have nothing to do with their wedding!

Also, understand how reorders of photos will be handled. Traditionally, photographers have always kept the negatives, meaning that any additional photos you may want in the future would have to be acquired through the studio. This is the best way to maintain control over the quality of finished portraits and to ensure the best in printing, coloring, and artwork. Because the wedding day is so important to you, some photographers will now allow you to purchase the digital candids from that day. It is important to know precisely what your package price includes so you can accurately compare the cost of one photographer to another.

At Scott Hancock Photography, to ensure your portrait success, we request a consultation with you which enables us to discover the possibilities that are available. In this complimentary consultation, we discuss possible settings available in the studio, outdoors, and location sessions. We’ll also talk about what clothing would be most appropriate. I cannot emphasize enough how important this will be for your portrait’s success!


Buying a Digital Camera

Before you buy your next digital camera, READ THIS!

The advent of the digital camera is an amazing accomplishment!  Digital cameras offer so many awesome features, that hobbyists and pros alike enjoy using them. They offer better portability, weighing much lighter than their heavier 35mm and other counterparts. And they boast these fine features: No handling with flash and film. Digital cameras save you a lot of time and money with no developing. Quick reloading of memory cards makes changing cards over film a breeze. The more technology advances, the less expensive digital cameras become. You can afford a good digital camera at any department store. Digital images also allow for instant viewing so you can immediately delete what you don’t want, eliminating the waste of film and developing.


Functionality of Images

Digital photos offer so much functionality, too, which is a big reason why digital cameras are so popular with people of all ages; amateur, intermediate and professional. At main events like weddings, baby arrivals, birthdays, graduations, office parties, anniversaries, holiday events and other fun times, you can snap digital shots and tell right away if they’ve turned out blurry or crisp. And you can tell if you’ve totally missed the angle and chopped off someone’s head! (Oops!) Simply delete unwanted shots, and still have plenty of time right then and there at your special event to snap re-takes. No more missing the good times! Then load your photo files into your computer or laptop, and BINGO! Instant email attachments to all your family and friends in a click. Or load them into an online photo album and send a link to everyone. You can also burn the files onto a CD and take them into a professional photo-lab. There’s so much more to learn about digital photography. With over 30 years experience of being a professional photographer, I know how important it is to have the right camera.


Fixed lens


What camera are you going to get?

Changeable lens

I am not going to go into a lot of detail here, there is too much to consider and this is a personal choice.  Some things to consider:

• Find a good NAME BRAND, one that you know has been around for awhile, and they don’t just put their name on another manufacturer’s camera.

• Study the WARRANTIES.  If this camera is going to be used for generating an income, you should consider getting the extended warranty to cover yourself.



• FIXED LENSES OR MULTIPLE LENSES? Multiple lenses will give you more variety of shots but can cost considerably more.  Here again, you need to consider how the camera is going to be used.  For general family use, the fixed lens is fine.

• The wider the RANGE OF ISO, the better. Shooting in low-light levels is easier with a higher ISO (1600 ISO).


Lower ISO for more detail (100 ISO).

• Built-in FLASH is not as versatile as an attachable flash where the flash head is positional.  Here again, cost is a factor.  For general family use, the built-in flash is fine.

Large or small sensor

• HOW MANY PIXELS DO I NEED? This is probably one of the hardest things for a consumer to consider.  The more pixels you buy, the better the detail – but the more it costs. Personally, for family use, I would want an 8 megapixel camera.  4-6 megapixel cameras are fine for 4×6 – 5×7 snapshots.  I wouldn’t push it further than that.  As a professional photographer, I have no idea in some cases what size of portrait a client is going to want. They really don’t know what size they want until after they see it.  So, what if it’s the most amazing photo they’ve ever seen of themselves and they want a 30 x 40 inch portrait out of it? How are we going to produce that with a small megapixel camera?Currently, for my clients, I am shooting a 16.87 megapixel camera. Pretty much nowadays, most professionals prefer a minimum of 10 to 20 megapixels and up.  So where does that leave you?  Well ask yourself this question: what size of image would I ever possibly make? An 8 x 10, 11 x 14 or 16 x 20?  Will I be able to tell the difference between  2.0 and  4.0 megapixels? Are the additional details and original image sizes important to me?

So the final thought is: More megapixels equal more detail!

Scott Hancock



Giving more than what they expect.

I really enjoy helping my clients have the best experience when it comes to their portraiture needs.

First; I find out exactly what they would like to have done.

Second; I show examples of my work and we explore all the possibilities in order to create the best solution.

Lastly; We set a plan in motion and then get to work!

… Ultimately, my goal is to create an experience and products that are far beyond my customers’ expectations!

Please go to my testimonial page and find out what several of my clients have said.

Looking for a photographer…

I talked to a client who had a bad experience…

…which brought me to this;

Every year there are more photographers joining forces in Utah.

So finding one that is good and reliable is tough thing to do if you are new to the area.

The best way is to ask for referrals and then check them out.

You don’t want one who is here today and gone tomorrow.

Scott Hancock


Photographers Galore!

I’m beginning to think that there are more diverse photographers photographing everything from individuals, family, weddings, kids, infants, babies, seniors, commercial, etc. in Utah than anywhere else in the US.

There’s so much amazing and diverse talent in this geographical area than anywhere else.

Trying to find that one and only photographer that fits your personality and needs and price has got to be the most difficult thing anybody can take on.

Sometimes we rely upon friends and relatives who have recommended a particular photographer. But even then, sometimes that one photographer just doesn’t fit the bill.

There’s also the consideration of how long one photographer’s been in business over another; whether they have 10, 20, 30 years of experience. And how about the equipment they use, whether using film or digital, and the quality of the equipment. How reliable they are producing your order on time, or at all, in some cases.

There are so many different scenarios that you can’t really know about. It can be scary. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories where people still haven’t received their wedding photos which were ordered several years ago. Then there’s the photographer who just started his business, and you as one of their first new clients, discovered they just went out of business after shooting your wedding. If you’re lucky, you haven’t had any of these experiences.

I wish I could say what would be the best thing for you to do, but it’s a very personal thing. I would suggest that you ask for testimonials, find photographers who have been in business at least 10 years, look at a lot of their current photography, and make sure you like the products that they offer. (Namely the type of albums they use, frames, bound published books, canvas wrap portraits, Christmas cards,etc.) Another thing to consider is that he or she has a studio to shoot in. In Utah we have four seasons and sometimes you can’t always shoot outdoors. Now I do know of clients who would have you shoot everything outside no matter what time of year! Of course that’s not a bad thing LOL 🙂 Most importantly, make sure you go in and meet the photographer.

With the advent of the Internet, checking photographer’s web sites is one of the most convenient things I can think of to help you select a photographer. Looking at their galleries will help you decide if they shoot what you like without having to go to each and every studio.

Hopefully the work is current and consistent with everything he/she shoots and that his best is not just a small percentage of the bulk of his work.

The bulk of my photography found on my web site is current. There are a few images I keep around because they have become more like logos, identifiers, or icons to my business. But most everything in my galleries are within the last two years, so that should give you a good indication of what I am currently shooting.

I’m always looking for new and innovative ways of photographing my clients, so.. the convenience of my studio helps me a lot in the diversity.

Some people think my outdoor portraits are from the canyons when actually they’re right here around my studio.

Another little niche that’s been an integrated part of my business for over 25 years is the makeovers we do right here in my full-service hair salon. We offer glamour makeover photography.


Correspondence with an up and coming photographer.

I’m a senior in high school, I do Hair and Photography as well. I am doing a project and it involves researching what I want to do for a career. My question was ” How can I successfully own my own hair and photography Business” I Googleed it to see what I got and your name showed. I was wondering if by any chance I could ask you a few questions about it? It would be greatly appreciated. And help me a great deal with my project.
Thanks for your time.
Lexie Bennett 

Do you want to email me or drop by the studio? Scott

Ha ha, I live in Washington. I could just e-mail some questions if that’s not to much trouble?

On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 10:22 PM, Lexie Bennett wrote:

Ok, thank you SO much!! I have to do a ten page paper on this to graduate. The more you write the better. You don’t have to finish it right now if your to busy. Thank you so much again!

1) Tell me what your profession is: Photographer

2) What made you want to start this particular career: I enjoyed Photography, but I was schooled in graphic arts, old school, so I needed to do something else when old school graphics became out dated.

3) What are the benefits of owning your own business: Just being my own boss, but you really need a business background or payout allot for someone else to do your business, and you concentrate on the creative end. 

4) What were some of the biggest challenges: Getting the word out, getting clients in front of your camera, sales, taxes, advertising, etc.,   ( you need to shoot, to create the income, to support your career…)

5) How is it financially ( does it support you well ) : Currently all photographers are having a tough time for several reasons, economy for one, everyone is being more cautious about spending money, being that this is a luxury, we suffer.  Plus allot of ernest individuals think they are photographers because they just got a 10 megapixel camera and go shoot their cousins wedding… sorry if this is sounding disappointing but with your natural energy and desire you can sway people to use you services, I have had a very successful career its just slower now.

6) Did you set up a business plan: A basic plan with allot of desire and getup and go!

7) Did you take any class for hair, photography or business: I was in the graphic arts industry and so I studied the master painters from the past, learning about light and design, etc., photography was a required course in graphic arts back then, not now,  Thank goodness for my sake.

8) What is the best way to get started: Passion and shoot allot. Study your work and set the goal of higher percentage rate of successful, salable image content, every time you shoot. study and plagiarizer all the great photographers. Something really helpful is become friends with photographers on Facebook. Allot of good work at your finger tips to view and study…

9) Would you recommend this career why or why not : Only if you have a passion, I, at this time, can’t think of anything else I would want to do except my passions, I like the creation aspect of anything.

I wouldn’t recommend this to a novice as a trade, unless their passion is really strong. but if you can’t see the shot when you look through the lens, then don’t go into this as a trade, get a job to survive and do this as a weekend warrior photographer (just my partial opinion).

10) How long did it take you to start it up: It took 5 years to break even, but I was an upholsterer at the time and was able to sustain myself for that period and then I quit and went full time as a photographer but during that time I honed my craft to be more readily acceptable to the masses (you know, those who have money).  🙂

11) Is it home-based or do you own a separate building: Its a turn of the century federal styled house, converted to a studio and is currently on the national historical registry, and See #5 above.

12) Is it just you or your family too: My wife is the main business operator and everything that she needs to be to keep the studio going, we also have a part time employee. we booth rent our salon, with four chairs.

13) What would be your biggest suggestion for someone who wanted to do this: Again, passion and additional income (job) to support your desire of getting you career going, or someone who believes in you and are willing to financially support you while you get going.

14) Is the studio and salon set up kinda close (what’s the set up of the location): Click for a studio tour

15) Why do you prefer owning your own business over working for someone else: I don’t know, My Dad owned his own business, but shadowing someone (established photographer) will give you an edge, I have student come to my studio every semester from the nearby colleges and high schools to mentor.

My question is “How can I successfully own a entrepreneurial business combining my skills in hair and photography?” It will all fall in to place, start shooting your clients as portfolio pieces to shoe hair clients and then expand and have them as photo clients as well! Offer your hair and do makeup to photographer for opportunity to shoot with them and pick their brain, etc…

If you can think of anything else to help me answer this question it would be great! I’m not so sure of what the first steps that I would need to take like financially or anything so any help would be greatly appreciated. =)

Lexie Bennett

I hope this is some what helpful, all this was off the cuff, May I add this to my blog?


GOOD LUCK!!!!!! 🙂
Scott Hancock