Photographing strangers

Forums Forums Get Technical Tips & Tricks Photographing strangers

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #701

    I’m just curious really, how do you scrounge up the courage to point your camera at someone you don’t know and photograph them in the middle of what they’re doing at the time?

    Take for instance the photo below:

    I don’t know them and they didn’t know me. I was just farting around taking photos and then turned around to see the little boy watching his dad feed the peacocks. After the dad heard the shutter click though I got a sort of side look as if to ask what the hell I was doing. 😳

    Have you ever had someone get irritated at you for snapping off a candid? What’s a good way of approaching this subject?


    There was a discussion on this recently on the Sydney Morning Herald site with a lot of good comments about what you should do (for both sides – public place so just shoot or be nice and ask permission fisrt)

    Sydney Morning Herald

    Fortunately I haven’t encountered this problem (I have only had the opposite where they see I have a camera and want photos taken!) but I’m in the camp of you are in a public place then you can’t expect people not to take your photo*.

    * This is assuming you are taking photos for personal use, if it was for advertising /profit then that is different as you could mis-represent those people, plus I think you need releases for legal reasons.


    but when i do i say,

    sorry, you guys were too photogenic to pass up.. email me and i’ll send you the pic gratis, i wont use it for anything myself

    public place, okay to shoot, but expectation of privacy means if you zero in on anyone he can call a cop and -with a court order- get the picture back

    same laws that ‘protect’ you are the ones that upskirt photographers use to get off the hook here and there


    usually, i ask permission first

    i always offer a print, or to send a jpeg if they have email, if i haven’t asked permission first.


    I found that in touristy areas most the time they don’t even know you are taking a pic of them instead of the bridge, beach etc.

    Another good location to take pictures is demostrations. Most want thier pics taken. Probably not a good idea to take a picture of the anarchists though.


    In a public place there is no expectation of privacy so technically you don’t have to ask permission. Besides asking permission kind of ruins the whole point of candid street photography.

    I would however avoid photographing children, it’s just not worth the possible run-ins with angry parents.

    But in general, behave professionally. Don’t try to hide your camera. Act as if it is perfectly within your rights to walk around in public streets and photograph strangers (because it is).

    Someone described it to me like this: “think of the difference between seeing a policeman on the street corner, and seeing a policeman on the street corner SIZING YOU UP.” Don’t make eye contact with people. Pretend you don’t even see them, practice looking through them. They’re just objects in your viewfinder.


    The easiest way around photographing strangers in public is to get a good telephoto lens and shoot quick if you are sans a telephoto lens. Plus if you are quick you get the real moment and they dont react to you… This is tough when shooting w/ a big telehomkin’ DSLR. It attracts unwanted attention (especially when overseas)


    Just a little bit of info about shooting in public. 🙂


    One of my photographer buddies has a copy of this laminated and folded into his camera bag.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.