TPF Noob!
Jan 3, 2006
Reaction score
Birmingham, UK
It's more than likely just me, but does anyone else get slightly embaressed or shy about taking their camera out and shooting in public?

It's not the fact that I'm embaressed about enjoying photography, it's just that I have a big ass lens and sometimes people look, and I just wish I didn't care. Btw, I am very paranoid and don't have a lot of confidence (unless I have a guitar round my neck :p)..

I saw an advert when I was in the cinema the other day for the new canon camera, and the person on the advert went about a town shooting different things on a busy high street.. It looked as though they had a small lens, 50mm maybe smaller..

I was thinking maybe if I invested in a smaller lens and kept my 28-200mm (my only lens atm) in my bag until i needed it then I would be more confident to get out and shoot..

So i guess my question is, do you feel the same way about shooting in public, or if you did, how did you get over it?

Cheers for any advice,

Nath. :hail:
i know what you mean... especially when your younger and i dont really know anyone my age for 30 miles around me that has photography as a hobby...
Street photography still makes me nervous. I'm working my way up to that. But I love to take my camera out whenever I get the opportunity (gotta wait for those clear skies here in England) and get snapping.

I get more nervous about going out when in the presence of another photographer, for fear of looking stupid or completely amateur. Hence the reason I haven't been to a meet-up yet.
My camera is sort of like my third arm..................so no it doesn't embarrass me at all. Actually when I'm taking pictures in the street I rarely notice what other people are doing as I am only focused on my subject. So I'm guessing what you are feeling is conspicuous so maybe a smaller lens would help you feel not quite as "noticed" but my suggestion would be to do it anyway whether you feel embarrassed or not....the more you do it the less uncomfortable you will be. Good luck with that Nath! : )
I shoot in the park with a huge vintage camera.

People always stop and stare, but they also seem to enjoy the image that the camera and the old man make.

So no it doesn't bother me unless someone asks me not to make their picture, then I usually don't but I wonder if I can find one already made on the post office wall.

Then again, I've been doing this for over thirty five years.
First I am a people person so I like meeting and talking to people. It really charges my battery so I have no problem shooting in public. I have met some really great and interesting people.

I carry an epsonmate in my car plugged into a 12v adapter and I will print them a 4x6 photo and leave it with them. Doesn't matter if I am in Mexico, Chile, Peru, or the states, I always leave a copy with the subject.

It's hard to believe in this day and age but some of the people I have photographed have never been photographed or had a photo of themselves because of the cost. Even candid shots, after I take them, I will show to the person. Most people have no problems and if they do I delete it in front of them and just keep the 99% of the ones that don't have a problem.

Don't be afraid of people unless they have sticks, guns, knives, or bats and look really angry. Just know the area you are shooting at and have fun.
I completely understand.. I do NOT go out much to do photography other then my own yard... Im afraid people are going to wonder WHERE Im shooting my camera or what IM trying to shoot.. Since I do flowers a LOT, Its near a person house.. Are they thinking Im trying to shoot their *Inside* happenings and invading privacy etc... Im trying to do MORE outdoors other then my own yard... You need to just comfortable doing it.. The only way you will is to relax and go out to enjoy it..
i take a lot of pictures in NYC and i do get a little embaressed. At first i started taking a friend with me, so it made me feel less embaressed. but i guess the more you get out there the less you care about what people say.
I personally have never had a problem shooting either large format or 35mm in public. I find that people always treat me as a novelty and find what I am doing is interesting to them. If I'm shooting say architectural on large format, I'm not infringing on their personal space and I in fact use a black cloth for focusing, with red on the outside. I certainly stand out in a crowd. With 35mm size [or digital these days] I usually am using either an extreme w/a or a telephoto. With w/a, often the public don't know they are in the shot and with a long lens, I try to be as inconspicuous as possible. In that case I often use a Nikon 995 with the swivel monitor and then rather than looking though the viewfinder, I'm using the monitor for viewing, and the public don't even realize I am taking their pictures. Being embarrassed makes your position more difficult. Act as though you are doing a job and be in control of the situation. I vividly remember shooting a labour strike for the management to get shots of the persons striking. I knew if I was being sneaky about it, they would be suspicious, so I blatantly went straight up to them and started shooting. They, I imagine thought I was PRESS, and my shooting would enhance their cause. Don't be shy, it only makes you predicament worse. PHOTO GAL & HOLLY are giving good advice, and WEEBERS post is right, do it on your own, be brave. Good luck.
P.S.Nitefly, I was born in Birmingham, but now live in Australia.
Doh – I replied to a very similar thread…but…since the answer would also pretty much apply here:

I've found I pretty much put blinders on in public and enter my own world. I sort of pretend there are no people around. (Sometimes putting on headphones helps in very crowded areas.)

But...a note about that...

I've found that I am most unwelcome when taking pictures in downtown areas. I had security guards approach me on multiple occasions telling me I was not permitted to take photos of their buildings. Even if I was taking a photo of something past the building...if the camera was pointed towards their building...I was asked to leave. Being the smartass that I am...I then became tempted to walk across the street and start taking photos of their buildings and wave. *sigh* The responsible adult in me seemed to then take control and steered me to simply smiling and leaving. (Except when one guard walked out and told me I was not permitted to “Lotter.” To which I had to ask “Do you mean I am not permitted to “Loiter?” To which the flunky responded “You know what I mean. Just because I don’t speak good don’t mean you have to be rude.” I seriously had to bite my tongue and be on my way after that one…
I'm the same, no confidence in taking the camera out, mostly through fear of getting mugged in my area, but I went to the london meet and it was fantastic, people didnt just look at me, they looked at everyone, I even got asked by an asian girl to take her picture.

I since went to my neices bday party with about 80 people in the hall, but I stood there in front of everyone to get those candid shots, I really enjoyed the experience and people at the party thought I was a pro photographer.

My advice is to do what you want to do and don't let others stop you from experiencing the joys of photography. Also the next meet is in London in september, come along it would be goot to meet you.
I'm getting better at it. It just comes from going out a lot really and realising that most people will ignore you. Go to public events where people expect their photo to be taken and start there, take some photos of bands or other people that expect it and your confidence soon rockets.

I really wouldn't buy a lens expecting it to improve your confidence, I know exactly where you're coming from but I think you'll find your the same with any lens! The best thing is to go out more, which is also probably the hardest thing!

Off topic - I can't see your sig Nitefly, can you post a text link to your site as well?

Most reactions