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In a para-pharmacy in Porto, I was stopped from taking a photo of a product in their store. (I was going to use it to look up the product online to see if I could switch out the power cord when I got back to the U.S.) I was confronted by an employee and told I couldn't do take photos there. She requested that I delete the photo and watched as I did.

Another time I was in a chain supermarket and took a photo of the beautiful fish counter that was more of an art shot. I was going to post it on Instagram. Again I was told not to do that, along with a scowl that suggested I should know better.

I'm curious why this is not allowed? I wasn't photographing people, just dead fish...

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    I'd also suggest that this question might be better answered on the Photography.SE
    – Peter M
    Commented Jun 23, 2022 at 20:00
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    Or possibly Law with a "Portugal" tag.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 23, 2022 at 20:25
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    I've seen notices asking people not to take photographs inside stores in the UK, Australia, and some places in the US too in recent years. It's not restricted to Portugal. One possible reason is to stop you, or someone else, checking if you can get a product cheaper elsewhere.
    – user25730
    Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 2:45
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    Most probably, it is to prevent from online bashing.
    – mouviciel
    Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 10:17
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    @mouviciel - this is not a new issue. It's been the case since long before the internet. I used to do this as part of my job across many retailers & unless you were wearing the correct Visitor badge [or even if you were], often you'd be asked what you were doing & why. There is no 'right' to take pics on private land. It's still down to individual companies, of course, but these days in supermarkets you'd be hard-pressed anyway to tell the difference between those 'taking photos' & those using the shopping app to scan barcodes to save queuing at the till ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 25, 2022 at 11:09

1 Answer 1

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It is pretty common worldwide to have an employee or security guard complain if you take a photo in a store, even if you were well-meaning and your objective merely was an artistic shot. This isn't limited to Portugal per se; I have been scolded in many other countries as well (the US, France, Italy, Spain, South Korea, and India immediately come to mind).

If you pay close attention, some chain stores and malls have a "no photo" logo on or near the entryway door (next to a "no smoking" logo and/or other prohibitions); you will want to avoid/use more discretion in those locations in particular. If you're not a frequent photographer, these often are easy to overlook.

Photography & Other Prohibitions Use more discretion in stores that explicitly tell you not to take photos at the entry, which is common in chain stores and malls.

Based on personal experience, it seems that you are more likely to receive a complaint in an area where there are many tourists or no tourists. In an area with many tourists, photography may be so frequent that it annoys the staff and they pay extra attention. In an area with no tourists, photography can be unusual enough to attract concern from security.

Demanding you delete a photo is rather extreme, though. In this specific case, the employee probably thought you were price checking. I have been scolded in similar situations for taking this kind of casual photo to send to someone else to confirm the correct product to buy for them or let them choose from two dozen alternatives because what they requested was unavailable, etc. Obviously, sending a quick photo via chat app is more convenient than leaving the store and coming back; clearly the intent is positive. If the staff complains, it can mean that the price is too high and you should buy somewhere else.

In practice, should you wish to photograph inside a store and it's not an Instagram friendly type of place that encourages it, you need to also be clearly shopping at the same time to attract less attention. Do your best to not photograph customers or employees and make it clear that you are not doing so — that would be rude if nothing else — and be both quick and discreet. In many cases, you only will get one shot; use it wisely!

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 4:24

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