Music and photography/Ethics


TPF Noob!
Nov 9, 2004
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Hi wondering any of you listen to your music (ipod) when you go out looking for things to shoot? I cant live without it. I have to listen to music as i walk around or...well i

Also whats your approach to taking photos of people? Do you ask them if they see you? Or do you just shoot it and move away before they chase you or whatever.
If missed so many good photos cause either the subjects spotted me making me feel anxious as to take the photo or not, or because others are alround making me feel also awkward and aprehensive.
What r the cures to this:)
well, everyone's different, its like driving, some people can talk and listen to music while driving, and others will get really distracted. ive never tried listening to music while out shooting.

and about the shooting people thing.. oh man, i missed such a great shot saturday. i was at this old old boat station, and there was a couple homeless people inside, and then the posts that held up the station and on the other side, a lady was walking towards me all glamorous like. i wanted to use the posts as a dividing barrier and get a sad sort of life on one side, and a carefree, wonderful life on the other. but i was afraid the lady would chase me down or something! i regret it now.. but im still gonna get that shot somehow!!!
Love music when I am in the studio. Music during location work is rarely an option. To compensate I blast the beats before and after. Tunes seem to be a distraction when shooting outdoors.
Always like music playing, especially in the studio (studio translates into black card, coloured bedsheets, home made reflector boards and three desk lamps in the kitchen :mrgreen: ), its nice to have some good tunes going on in the background. I wouldn't personally photograph people without them knowing, not comfortable with that sort of thing.
I always ask permission to take a photo of anyone.

If you are worried about being chased by someone I can only guess that they don't want their photo taken. Put yourself in their shoes. I would be a bit worried if I saw someone taking my photo and then running away if I approached them about it.

I'm not an expert on the law but I would question walking around just taking photos of people who look interesting without permission and not using a model release if you are going to use that photo.

As far as being anxious about taking someones photo, that's why you ask first. You will get more and more comfortable the longer you do it. I have met some great people world wide and had a lot of fun asking and then taking their photo.
i just generally make it known i'm there and thank people for letting me take their photo, though that depends on each person, some just don't want to be disturbed, others may need it if they feel anxiety, people are pretty calm anyways, and if they don't want their photo taken, no big deal

but i always make it known, never hide behind bushes or whatnot, the more of a presence i have, the better imo, staying subtle of course, but nothing wrong with letting everybody know what you're doing by simply letting yourself show visually
for your first point - music it is like this: when I'm walking alone I sometimes listen to it, but often I miss the shots of birds simply because I don't hear them.

And your second question... with shooting people it is like this: I take my cam for example to the parade, I choose one spot and sit there or stand with my camera ready and I observe. If I spot somebody interesting I quicly take a pic and that's all... I don't hide but I also don't chase them. here you don't need a permission to take a pic of somebody. what is more the legacy is also quite flexible so after all you can publish a picture of somebody as long as you do not offend them.
daveyboy said:
Also whats your approach to taking photos of people? Do you ask them if they see you? Or do you just shoot it and move away before they chase you or whatever.
If missed so many good photos cause either the subjects spotted me making me feel anxious as to take the photo or not, or because others are alround making me feel also awkward and aprehensive.
What r the cures to this:)

hi Daveyboy,
I see you want to chat about style of approach rather than law,
but give this article regarding press-photography a look too..

Depending on the situation,

I may ask first (tip: try your request in bad-english / foreign-accent with a 'may I make a tourist souvenir' persona - that can work well with shopkeepers/open air markets/municipal workers etc)..well does in London anyway ;) (I say ''bad-english'', but you know, what ever non-native language is going to work for that get my point i hope)

I sneak candids while appearing to be concentrating somehow on something else...appearing to be preoccupied with something to the side of, and far beyond of the real subject then panning-across and framing what i really want to get. It is possible to desensitize people that you ultimately want to photograph, by standing near them and not photographing anything for a few moments just appearing to be adjusting your camera kit or 'reviewing something on the LCD-display. After a few moments they begin to ignore you - again dont look at them directly - only when you have your eye to the viewfinder. Once you've taken the photos , dont look at them then either, just walk away. This re-enforces the vibe and the reality that it's the location and context you are interested in - not them and their 'personal' business.

If you're really determined to capture somthing classic, you can take waist level pictures too which can be very inconspicuous. Takes a bit of practise.

I think its important to not act cagey. I use a big camera and im very
overt and out-front when im moving through crowds and taking my shots.
I use a support and between shots I have the lens pointed at my chest.
Be relaxed and ignore the self-conscious feeling that can be there.
Talk with the people a bit and hang-out - dont just creep around with a big anonymous lens looking edgy and officious.
! remember - often you wont ever see those people again so go for it!!
It's worth i at the end of the day when you've got some goodwork to show for your efforts.

Other times I blatantly shoot and scoot...:sexywink: ha!

These suggestions are meant for general street-scenes. Obliques shots of
life in public-spaces. Not necessarily for any commercial-purpose. Common-sense and discretion is the main idea. I'm not in anyway
suggesting 'big brother' type surveillance nor invading privacy. I think it's worthwhile not posting random shots of streetscenes with EXIF time-date
info because of privacy also. If you ever publish any dedicated photography of individuals on the net it's definately good-form to have their permission and enthusiasm first.
this thread helped me out a ton because i struggled with the same conflicting emotions on when to take a picture of someone, and when not to. but as for music during photographing, there is something soothing about it. i dunno if you have seen the boondock saints where the detective listens to music to figure out crime scenes...yeah, its lame, but its me. so im totally with you when it comes to music...
Davey, I totally relate. As others have said, though, if you feel funny than just ask. I've found most of the time people say yes, and often are really excited about it.
Also depends, as others have said, on the circumstances. Big public event, I may not bother to ask. But walking around a city and wanting a picture of the old man selling fruit? I feel very intrusive not to ask first. (This just happened to me yesterday in fact. The old man was very happy to pose with his fruit.)
I'd encourage you to get in the habit of trying, I went so long with just still lifes and things b/c I felt 'funny' asking...but I'm getting some great people shots these days.
yea- good one. Another great thing about asking is that during the day you make some friends and it a good social vibe with interesting random conversations.
Music: All depends on my mood. Sometimes I have it pounding away in my headphones, other times, I prefer the sounds of the c ity to be my only music.

People: I don't really like having my picture taken myself, and would definitely find it rather rude and intrusive to have someone take my picture without asking, so I tend to impose that mindset on everyone else. My eye isn't drawn to people as photographic subject matter anyways, so it all works out.

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