Photography Rules, Ethics and Consent in Dubai

3 Mins read

In the era of smartphones and social media, photography in Dubai and across the world has become an integral part of our daily lives. With a simple click, we can create memories of landscapes, and with people that resonate with us. However, the ease of simple clicks and the spontaneous nature of sharing on Facebook or Instagram, or other social media platforms has formulated important ethical regulations, especially in a culturally diverse and digitally connected place like Dubai. Understanding photography ethics, following rules, and obtaining legit permissions are important aspects of photography in Dubai.

1. Sensitivity to Local Culture

Dubai is a melting pot of cultures, with residents and tourists from across the globe. This diversity demands a heightened awareness of privacy and cultural sensitivities when capturing images. In public spaces, it’s crucial to be respectful and considerate of people’s personal boundaries. While capturing candid street scenes can be compelling, always prioritize people’s right to privacy over capturing a captivating shot.

Moreover, be mindful of capturing images in culturally sensitive locations, such as religious sites or private events. These spaces require an even greater level of respect and discretion. Remember that a photograph can inadvertently disrespect traditions or beliefs if not taken and shared responsibly.

2. Prohibition of Photography/Videography of Government buildings or military areas

The U.A.E is very strict with its laws for photography. For security reasons, taking pictures of any government building/entity or military area is completely restricted and is a punishable offense in the country.  

3. Importance of Informed Consent

One of the pillars of photography ethics is obtaining permission, especially when photographing individuals. When photographing people, it is a must to ask for permission before taking their picture. It is important to respect other people’s privacy. Photographing children and vulnerable individuals requires an even higher level of responsibility. Photographing minors without explicit consent from their guardians is not only unethical but could also be against the law.

4. Social Media and Online Sharing

In the digital age, social media platforms provide an online platform for sharing photographs. While sharing your experiences in Dubai is a wonderful way to connect with others, keep in mind that what you post can result in severe wide-ranging consequences. Always be thoughtful about the implications of sharing images online, especially if they include people.

If you wish to share photographs featuring individuals, events, landscapes, or private locations, make sure that your posts are respectful, appropriate, and in line with the culture and values of Dubai.

5. Documenting Public Events and Spaces

Public events and spaces in Dubai, such as festivals, markets, and public gatherings, are often rich subjects for photography. However, even in these settings, it’s courteous to ask for permission before taking someone’s photograph. Additionally, some events may have specific rules or guidelines regarding photography, so be sure to respect those.

When photographing public spaces, be mindful of including people who may not want to be photographed. Frame your shots carefully to minimize the chances of capturing someone who is not comfortable being photographed.


Photography is a powerful medium for storytelling. However, with this power comes great responsibility. In Dubai, a city that incorporates cultural diversity and respects privacy, ethical photography practices are essential. Always ensure respect for individuals’ rights, privacy, and cultural sensitivities. Obtaining informed consent is a fundamental requirement of a photographer in Dubai, ensuring that images reflect the beauty and diversity of Dubai without compromising the rights and dignity of its people.


  1.  Is it allowed to take pictures in Dubai?
    Yes, it is allowed to take pictures in Dubai except in prohibited areas and of other people without permission.
  2.  Is it a punishable offense to take pictures without permission?
    Yes, it is illegal to take pictures of someone without prior consent. There is a huge fine as it would be considered a breach of privacy.
  3.  How much do photographers charge per hour in Dubai?
    Freelance photographers in Dubai charge roughly starting from 500 AED per hour depending on their experience.

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