What is the etiquette on taking photos of strangers?

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  1. oceansnsunsets profile image85
    oceansnsunsetsposted 6 years ago

    What is the etiquette on taking photos of strangers?

    What are your thoughts, or what is general etiquette for taking pictures of people you don't know in public? 

    I am very sensitive to people getting in my photos, even if they do on their own.  It is as if I am not supposed to take the photo of someone else without their permission.  Perhaps that is just me, or me applying the idea that I hope others would do with me, as I don't prefer to be in stranger's photos.  Curious what others thoughts are.

  2. Ciel Clark profile image80
    Ciel Clarkposted 6 years ago

    Oh, great question-- I have wondered this myself.  I don't ask if I am taking a photo of a big crowd of people, but I do if it is just one person or a small group.  Often I will just raise my camera and my eyebrows at the person to see if s/he nods.  The only problem with this is that you might lose the moment.   You could always take a subtle photo, ask permission for another photo, and if they say no then delete the first sneaky one.

  3. MickS profile image68
    MickSposted 6 years ago

    In the Uk, if you are in a publicly owned place you can take photos of who rs what you want,.  Problems arise if you want to use those pics,  if they are of recogniseable people or places, etc, then you need release forms to use the pics, obtaining those may be the problem.
    I think that it really is just common good manners to ask someones' permission to take his photograph, and honour the decision if that permission is declined.

  4. Maine Photography profile image60
    Maine Photographyposted 6 years ago

    If you're capturing a street scene you don't have to ask if you're in a public space. If you want to take someone's portrait just ask. You will be surprised at how many people will say yes.

  5. Fennelseed profile image66
    Fennelseedposted 6 years ago

    Very good question and this is something I struggle with also. I don’t like strangers taking my photo and for that reason I am also very hesitant about taking photos of strangers. I agree with Mick, it is good manners to ask and to the honour the decision made.

    I spent some time travelling around SE Asia a couple of years ago and had some awesome people photo opportunities presented to me. However I found when I stopped to ask permission the person would then pose for me and I lost the natural spontaneous shot I was after. I like the idea of taking the shot first then asking, but this doesn’t always work either. I was riding a bike past and stopped to take a shot of this barber working in his barber shop, (in Cambodia) an open tin roofed shanty with dirt floor, amazing photo, but the guy became very angry and shook his fist at me, no point asking as he made his feelings pretty clear, hey, I couldn’t make those pedals go fast enough to get away and I felt so guilty I deleted the photo.

    I guess it’s just another hazard of photography, just like the light and other conditions, sometimes you get the shot you are after, sometimes you don’t.


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