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Let’s talk photography etiquette.

Apr 18, 2018 | creativity

In my years of hobbyist photography, I have only encountered people who were less than friendly twice. Once, was when I was taking the photo of a street scene. There were some buskers in the frame a distance away and one of them marched right up to me and yelled in my face “no photos! no photos!” while waving his violin bow at me. I gave him a huge frown and walked away without saying anything. But my day was ruined because of him. The second time, was an old man who asked me whether I took a photo of him when I pointed the camera in his direction (I was taking a photo of the potted plants next to him actually). The second incident was quite recent, but I thought I would come on here to talk about photographing people in scenes.

As you can probably tell if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, I absolutely love taking photos of my environment. Some people say this is urban or street photography, but I also have tons of cat photos and the like in my library, so I can’t lay say I take photographs of a specific genre exclusively. At this point, I don’t do this for a living nor have I sold any photographs. I have been part of scenes of tons of tourist photos and just recently had someone who appeared to be taking a photograph of me specifically. I wasn’t entirely sure so I didn’t say anything. Plus, he was a tourist in town with his wife and young baby. I have to admit, I did feel a little uncomfortable, which helped me to empathise with my subjects.

However, the question is… when does it get too much? I try to be as polite as possible in such situations. If someone comes up to me nicely to request that I delete a photograph because they’re in it, I’ll do so. However, the experiences I’ve had so far (though few) have actually put me off taking photographs in public spaces. Of course if there’s a bunch of people at a specific location I want to capture, I’m not going to hold back. I think I would be more careful in the future though as I really absolutely dislike being yelled at or confronted with hostility. I’m sure there are thousands of people who have encountered this issue as well but it sure doesn’t make it any easier being the recipient of rude behaviour. If I was doing something completely out of line, I would understand. But I wasn’t. It’s one of those things which you can’t help but resign to having to deal with in the end.

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