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Photography on  London Underground

This seems to be an area which causes a great deal on confusion, so I hope that what follows will clarify what you can or cannot do on London Underground premises.

The problems often seem to arise as a result of a lack of knowledge on the part of some staff; much is made about the question of commercial photography, and if this is what you wish to do then permission must be obtained. More details of how this can be obtained is available on London Underground's web site here, but personal photography is not included in this.

I know that many of you travel extensively across the system, often armed with cameras.

So, it's appropriate that at this point I clarify what you can and can't do with a camera on London Underground.  I stress that if you're taking photographs for your own use (i.e. non commercial) this is permitted. What you must NOT do though is:

  • Go outside areas available to the public.
  • Use flash; if your camera has an auto flash facility you MUST turn it off
  • Use tripods.

If a member of staff requests that you stop taking photographs providing you are sticking to these guidelines politely request that he or she speaks to his or her supervisor so that they can be made aware of the regulations on this subject!  If they need guidance, the matter is addressed in the 'Conditions of Carriage', the relevant part is Section 4.5 on page 6 - these can be viewed here, but do, please, try to avoid sounding like a 'know it all' - that will not help your case!

Please bear in mind though, particularly at times of 'heightened security' that the request to stop photographing may be driven by genuine concerns.  If this is the case I would strongly recommend that you comply with the request.

Above all I would urge the use of common sense; if this is exercised, confrontation will be avoided.

Update added 12 May 2004

Interestingly I note that a recent Traffic Circular (the weekly bulletin issued to staff) has issued a reminder to staff that the situation concerning photography is, indeed, as I outline here, so hopefully this will help address any problems you may encounter.


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