Photography and Video in Lithuania | True Lithuania
True Lithuania

Photography and Video in Lithuania

In general, any public places in Lithuania may be pictured and taped for private use, whereas in private areas the owner decides what could be pictured.

Under the Soviet occupation, photography was heavily restricted even to the few that owned cameras. Most of these limitations were abolished, but when taking pictures of the key infrastructure (especially the railways) one may still draw some interest from the security, although it is typically no longer that restricted.

Private shops, marketplaces, casinos, and nightclubs usually ban taking images - while this policy may be not explicitly stated anywhere, the security enforces it. While it may be possible to take a quick selfie or picture your friends without generating attention, any longer "photo shoot" will surely attract it. Chain stores tend to especially hate when their price tags are pictured, even if on the background.

Most museums allow photography but some forbid it, while an even smaller minority levy a fee on every camera. Usually, this is specified near the entrance (otherwise, you may ask).

In the case of live events (concerts and professional sports), the rule of thumb is that only the most expensive, important, and popular ones ban taking images. E.g. it will likely be forbidden to take pictures during official international basketball games but allowed during friendly matches or the national league games. Even where photography is banned, an exception may be made to taking pictures using your cell phone alone.

Lithuanians usually don't care that they are photographed in public and they don't expect anything in return for it (this includes women and children, as long as one is not obnoxious). Photography of private areas (even if visible from public zones), such as yards, may cause concern - but it is not very likely. The overall rule of thumb is simply not to be too intrusive and take pictures from a distance or, if a close-up is needed, then ask the person.

It is not advisable to take pictures of drunk people (especially in the evenings) as they may be looking for a fight.

In case you want to publish the pictures, more stringent rules may sometimes apply. Some museums that allow free private photography impose a fee on those who want to publish images (especially for material gain). Additionally, it is forbidden to publish pictures of people without their permission (even if taken in public) if those pictures show them in compromising situations or are used for advertisement.

Drone laws are generally quite lenient in Lithuania. Only the immediate vicinities of the airports and some key government sites tend to be off-limits. The drone regulation map is available here.

Specialized photo stores became rare after digital imagery displaced the analog ones. However, memory cards, batteries, and other photo materials may be easily acquired at electronics stores, common at shopping malls. Additionally, such digital photo supplies are available at the larger supermarkets.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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