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It's Legal to Photograph Your Franklin TN Home from Public Property

This Neighbor Photo concept seems to be an issue that arises when you blog or film for listings for real estate marketing purposes. This post raises interesting points about permissions and about the far reach of photos once they have hit cyberspace. Removal is not eradication even with the best of efforts. There are some good points in this post.

It's Legal to Photograph Your Franklin TN Home from Public Property

It's Legal to Photograph Your Franklin TN Home from Public PropertyAs a Franklin TN REALTOR®, I often photograph homes, parks, restaurants, festivals and businesses located throughout town. These photographs are used for the purpose of promoting Franklin TN and the homes in the area on my blogs and websites.

Today, I was contacted by a homeowner. While Googling her neighborhood, she found a picture of her home on what she thought was my website. I was able to quickly determine she was on my ActiveRain blog. She immediately told me she had not given me permission to photograph her home. She wanted to know how I got the picture.

I explained that I photographed her home from the street and that permission was not required. I said it's legal to photograph your Franklin TN home from public property. I further went on to explain that there was no address, car, person or child in the photograph. There was no way for an observer to know the address or her name. There was nothing that would lead anyone back to her home.

She requested that I remove the photo. While I was under no obligation to do so, I immediately took the photo down. However, even though that photograph has been removed from my blog. It is out there in cyberspace forever. I have no way of removing it from Google images.

I often photograph homes to have as a representative of neighborhood homes for market reports and neighborhood write-ups. There is nothing illegal about photographing a home. As long as the home is photographed from public property, I am not required to have a photo release.

The following is provided by NewsLab Resources - The Photographer's Right:

The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs. Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks. Property owners may legally prohibit photography on their premises but have no right to prohibit others from photographing their property from other locations. Whether you need permission from property owners to take photographs while on their premises depends on the circumstances. In most places, you may reasonably assume that taking photographs is allowed and that you do not need explicit permission. However, this is a judgment call and you should request permission when the circumstances suggest that the owner is likely to object. In any case, when a property owner tells you not to take photographs while on the premises, you are legally obligated to honor the request. 

The photo in question was shot from the street. I did not need the permission of the property owner to do so. Legally, I was perfectly within my rights.

In this particular case, I did remove the photograph because I was able to easily identify it and had another I could put in its place. However, I have hundreds of photographs of homes throughout Franklin and Brentwood on my websites and blogs. Since I don't record the address of the homes I photograph, I don't have anyway to identify them. In some neighborhoods, I literally have photographed hundreds of homes. It may be impossible to locate a photo and, therefore, would be unable to remove it.

If you are a Franklin TN homeowner, I want to assure you that I never photograph an address, person, child or vehicle. There is nothing on my website or blog that would lead a person back to your home. While you may immediately recognize it to be your house, most people would not. Especially, when there are hundreds of homes in a neighborhood that look very much like yours.

In this age of technology, homeowners should know:

It's legal to photograph your Franklin TN home from public property.


Tammie White, Realtor® in Franklin TN
Cell Phone: (615)495-0752

This posting and the contents written here are the intellectual property and opinions of Tammie White of Benchmark Realty LLC


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Comment balloon 2 commentsCheryl Ritchie • August 23 2013 06:07PM


Hello Cheryl,

Great reblog, I had missed this post the first time around!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 6 years ago

Cheryl, thanks for the re-blog. I take so many neighborhood photos this was bound to happen sooner or later. Homeowners really need to understand no laws are broken when this is done.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 6 years ago