Candid shots of Strangers..Dilemma


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Oct 1, 2010
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I took some candid shots of people on a trip the Seafront yesterday and really enjoyed the results. Everyone was looking outwards at the view and I could dodge about with my camera unnoticed....unlike at home in town where I would be regarded with suspicion and possible hostility. I did feel a little uncomfortable in myself though...I was invading private moments without permission but... If I had asked for permission the pictures would have been staged and lost there apeal to me.:confused:

How do you feel about taking photographs of strangers?
I don't take photos of people without permission in settings where one or two people are clearly the subject of the image and easily recognizable. Three or more pers and/or settings where they're not recognizable? Fair game. Those are just my personal "rules". I believe that people should have the option of being photographed, but I also like candid shots. It's a tough situation, for me at least.
I do it occasionally if I see something compelling. Usually more street performers than anything though.
Am glad to hear I am not alone with this is indeed a tough one. :(
You could always take the picture THEN ask their permission to keep it. Just let them know that you didnt want to ruin a perfect shot by asking them beforehand and that you would like their permission to keep the shot you took and show it to them. If they say no, let them watch you delete it from your camera. :)
This is the kind of photography I love most - candids/ street shots. While it can be awkward at first, you do get bolder. I'm at the point where I just go for it. In fact, some of my best shots have been at that very moment when the person "catches" me taking the photograph. I've gotten some wonderful expressions. I also just get such natural and intimate shots when people don't know that you are taking their picture that it's worth the discomfort to me. Most of these photos are at public venues (such as a carnival, fair, etc) so it's less awkward than, say, looking like a stalker at a shopping mall parking lot or something like that LOL.

My one rule is that I don't take candid/street photography of children. To me, that would make me seem creepy even though my intention would be innocent. As a parent, I would not want ANY stranger on the street taking a photograph of my child as I could never confirm it's purpose and safety.
How do you feel about taking photographs of strangers?

"You can't be a nice Nellie and do photography." ~Weegee

At some point you just have to accept that in order to make these types of photographs. you can't be sunshine and politeness. People who don't understand will think you are a jerk, or strange, or worse. Can't easily educate everyone you cross path withs though, so it is up to the photography to work out not caring about how others perceive them if they wish to thrive. It can take a long time to thicken up that skin, but it does get easier with time.
If they're in public, they're fair game. People are photographed and video tapped endlessly by the "man" in just about every public place in the country. Cameras are a fact of life. I would rather have someone who cares about the image capture it vs. some machine.

If someone asks I don't take their picture, I honor that request.

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