Etiquette for photographing strangers

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by RaptorRex, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. RaptorRex

    RaptorRex TPF Noob!

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    What is the general rule for taking pictures that encompasses strangers. Of course anybody in a tourist area knows they'll have their pic taken but what about in a downtown street? Or what if the stranger is the topic of your picture?

    Do you ask? but that spoils the picture.
    Just take pics without asking? Point & Shoot & Run? :D

    How do you handle it?
     
  2. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Depends on the situation and location.

    For me, being outgoing and happy works most of the time. If I want to go into stealth mode then I have a 28mm manual lens that I use at it's hyperfocal and set the camera to manual focus to get rid of the AF lamp and shutter priority for exposure in changing light -straight manual exp for normal light- and shoot from the hip (literally).

    If you would like to shoot film, get a TLR. For some reason people ignore you when you are looking down at a camera, it's when you bring it up to your eye that they threaten to stampede.

    mike
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So many people like sneaking around. I prefer to just blend in. People see the camera, often too late. I am quick but take care to attempt to compose the shot, and very few people get upset. If they ask what you are doing, politely tell them, heck give them a business card :)
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    LOL Garbz, I don't know where you live but in some places it's not safe to be shooting photos of people. The annoying part is that usually the people who are doing something they oughtn't are the ones that are most interesting. ;)

    mike
     
  5. nomade

    nomade TPF Noob!

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    I don't think there are general rules/etiquette for that, it depends on where you are and who you are shooting.

    I usually get shy and don't shoot people, and sometimes i shoot a street photo for a child for example, a street child, or a begger, or any such situation, i feel ashamed and i don't post them or show them to anyone.
    I feel like taking advantage of their situation and weakness, their inability to ask me not to do that.

    When i walk with my manual cameras people are aware i am there, and i shoot whatever i want, in Egypt though, young men harass girls and i remember getting thrown with a brick once, i remember someone pulled the camera and dropped it from my hand another time, but i remember also people asking me to "shoot" them, other people greet me with a smile, ask me if i am a pro or a journalist, and i say yeah yeah(whatever).

    I understand people of particular conditions like poverty won't like it, so you get hurt and i am not kidding.

    But if you are carrying a big big camera and seem like knowing what you do, people seem to ignore your existence.

    It varies from person to person and from a place to the other, i'd smile while taking photos, it makes people more comfortable holding that gun, i'd nod at someone and this someone could ignore me, attack me, or smile back.

    If i wanna take photos if someone i won't take permissions, because it'll spoil it, i won't share photos of people who ask me not to, or people who probably didn't ask but would like to. I will smile and be polite, and i will not try to offend people by holding a camera against them.
     
  6. kaboom

    kaboom TPF Noob!

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    Just do it, and bear the consequences... i've had my roll confiscated by the cops twice in china, and in spain another two people threatened to take me to the cops if i didn't hand in the roll.
    One of the times i was really pressed for time, it was only the 6th picture of the roll and the 5 previous ones weren't particularly exciting. The one i had just taken was though, so that was a shame. Since i just couldn't stay there and argue i gave him the roll and told him to **** off.
    The other time i wasn't in any sort of hurry so we went to a cop who politely told the guy that he had no right to confiscate my roll since photographing anything on the street is perfectly legal.
     
  7. Kyuss

    Kyuss TPF Noob!

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    I've been thinking about this subject since I've gotten my new camera and have been looking for things to shoot.

    Near my house is a community swimming pool. It's Olympic sized and the colors around the pool look like it would make some interesting shots. I walked by there the other day and there was a swim team there practicing. It was an all girl team, so I turned around. I just feel uncomfortable shooting strangers...

    Places that I will shoot strangers are in a big city. I think that among a bunch of people, especially tourists that also have cameras, people are less likely to call you out and ask what you are doing taking their picture....even if they notice! So, I'm planning to take a lot of candid shots next time I'm in the city.
     
  8. RaptorRex

    RaptorRex TPF Noob!

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    I'm in China now and I'm pretty careful about the pics I take...never of government buildings or police or those machine gun toting bank guards.

    But I'm wondering, with a digital camera they can't take the film. Do they just take the whole camera?
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Lol true. I wouldn't try this in the USA.
     
  10. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In three decades plus of shooting, I have never had a problem with street shots. I just act like I know what I'm doing with confidence and I've not been questioned. I do avoid shooting buildings that have a copyright. In the Cincinnati area we have several places that will shoo you away if you have a pro looking rig. One place, a shopping plaza will even have security approach you if shooting with a cell cam. But I just avoid those places and shoot what I want without much of a look. I admit I don't walk the slums with camera in hand at night. No sense in tempting fate.
     
  11. bakuretsu

    bakuretsu TPF Noob!

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    I realize this thread is technically about etiquette, but here is a really great overview of the legality of photographing by Andrew Kantor. It's just about the most succinct and understandable guide I've found yet. It probably doesn't apply outside of the US.
     
  12. eddiesimages

    eddiesimages TPF Noob!

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    The only problem I have ever had with photographing people without permission was in Jamaica. There are lots of interesting people there to photograph, but several times I have been approached by a person demanding money, since I just photographed them. Maybe its just the culture there that they don't want their picture taken without permmission.
    I would also be very careful not to thake photographs of children without the parent's permission.
     

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