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  1. #1
    Mtb'ing and taking pics :)
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    Question regarding random person/street photography

    Perhaps this is my own personal hangup, but when I'm out on the street and I see something I want to take a picture of, but it includes a person or people, I always feel weird about taking someone's picture without their consent. And if they notice me, I don't take the picture.

    How do others get around this? Do you just take the shot and consent be damned? Or do you ask first?

    I'm sure I've missed some great shots because of this.
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  2. #2
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: Question regarding random person/street photography

    That's what zoom lenses are for, isn't it.
    I try not to get caught or maybe pretend to be shooting something else.
    The pics aren't any good if they're looking at you, anyway.
    Keep Shooting!

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  3. #3
    Surfs Mtbr Naked hollis's Avatar
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    Re: Question regarding random person/street photography

    on the street in public?
    I just smile, say hi, and click away.
    There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer. ~Ansel Adams

  4. #4
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    Re: Question regarding random person/street photography

    Have a good look at the 'Capture a Stranger' thread, if you haven’t already seen it ... Capture a Stranger

    The images where the photographer has looked the subject in the eye are very engaging. They tend to be more engaging than secretive candid images. Street photography is not an easy theme if you're not comfortable. It is the photographic theme with the highest failure rate, even possibly higher than failures from both wildlife and sports photography combined.

    I like to look people in the eye ... I'm not one for shooting people in the back or sneaking shots from my hip. Although I've seen a zoomed image called 'Stalking' that is an extraordinary image of the rear of a subject ... http://wries.deviantart.com/art/Stalking-103834721

    There are no hard and fast rules ... apart from feeling safe and staying safe.

    It is intimidating shooting people in public, just shooting 101. When people are in a group (considered to be 3 or more), the dynamic changes. You will have to find the style that best suits your personality and read the signs.

    Recently I took a trip to Melbourne and I shot street photography quite solidly for 3 days, at one stage of my trip. At the end of the 3rd day, I found myself standing next to people shooting them, each time they would look at me, the shutter fired.

    One thing that I do is, I acknowledge that I've taken their shot and I give them a card if it seems appropriate, and tell them that if the shot is good they can find it on my DA site.

    Here in Australia, people are mostly interested in what I'm doing and very friendly generally, I think it is because I explain what I've just done and I talk to them freely and tell them what I intend doing with the shot, “If the shot has worked,” I always say.

    I'm going to Sydney this coming weekend to do street photography. Where I live there are very few people. I'll read the signs in Sydney. I'm from Sydney. Sydney is an angry city where there is a lot of shouting. I see it every time I visit. It isn't happy smiling faces that I'm after in Sydney. I must admit, I can't wait.

    Shoot to a style that feels comfortable for you. Take care ... and shoot heaps.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 02-19-2009 at 03:12 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator Didache's Avatar
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    Re: Question regarding random person/street photography

    It all depends on the type of candids you are after. For myself, I actually don't want people to be aware of me - I like them to be almost "props" moving through the urban landscape, or stationary to provide scale or interest. I find that two things help:

    a) A certain confidence in knowing that you are doing nothing wrong or illegal in any way. So long as you are discreet and not intruding on people, you have every right to do what you do and can be confident about it.

    b) For my style I find it most helpful NOT to look directly at them. I look at the wall I want them to move past, etc - as long as I don't make direct eye contact with them, they won't be alarmed.

    Of course, others will have different styles of street photography and different rules will apply.

    One of the nicest (to me) compliments I got was from someone on this forum (I forget who) who said that I seemed to have developed the art of invisibility. That sums it up, for me anyway.

    One example attached.

    Cheers
    Mike
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Question regarding random person/street photography-088.jpg  
    Mike Dales ARPS
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  6. #6
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    Re: Question regarding random person/street photography

    I know what you mean Mike about not engaging people ... the images are more like something from the past and have a charm about them that in your-face-photographers do not find.

    Last month I took my first ride on public street transport in over 30 years. I noticed that no one on the tram, looked at each other. For the 20 minutes that I was on the tram, not one passenger that I notoiced, made eye contact with anorther person. Half of the travellers has ear phones on their music players ... so they shut out the world as well. I don't think people cared what I was doing, if they even noticed.

    'Breaking The Tram Rider's Law' ... I did. I looked at people. Big cities are totally odd, and filled with a culture of fear?





    I like to find props and use them very carefully ... 'The Council Workers'.





    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 02-20-2009 at 02:52 AM.

  7. #7
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Question regarding random person/street photography

    I use several techniques but I most enjoy going in close (with wide to short telephoto lenses) to capture the intimacy of the moment.

    Sure drawing attention to one's self can be a bit unnerving to some. But I think if you are upfront, honest, and friendly about it, a vast majority won't care if you ask to take their picture. Besides, it's much more productive to be able to work the scene - in an unobtrusive way without directing it, yet the poeple know you're there and can ignore you - rather than trying to get off one sneaky lucky shot.

    I posted several in the "capture a stranger" thread but these I don't think I posted there. All these are complete strangers and with consent (be it spoken or unspoken) before the shot was taken.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Question regarding random person/street photography-birdman_4029.jpg   Question regarding random person/street photography-jazz-ribs_5921.jpg   Question regarding random person/street photography-street-vendor.jpg   Question regarding random person/street photography-young-lady.jpg  
    Please do not edit or repost my images.

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  8. #8
    Analog Photographer, Digital World Axle's Avatar
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    Re: Question regarding random person/street photography

    I just take the shot, if they notice, I'll walk over say hi, and show them the shot.

    As for a lens, I usually will use a nice fast prime. My 105 f/2.5 and 135 f/2.8 are great for candid street work.
    Alex Luyckx | Photography
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  9. #9
    Senior Member freygr's Avatar
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    Re: Question regarding random person/street photography

    If it's in public view (from street level), building, art, or persons it's far game! Taking a photo, when your on private property is a all different ball game.
    GRF

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  10. #10
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: Question regarding random person/street photography

    Quote Originally Posted by jodeyh
    Perhaps this is my own personal hangup, but when I'm out on the street and I see something I want to take a picture of, but it includes a person or people, I always feel weird about taking someone's picture without their consent. And if they notice me, I don't take the picture.

    How do others get around this? Do you just take the shot and consent be damned? Or do you ask first?

    I'm sure I've missed some great shots because of this.
    First the legal aspect. France has the clearest, strictest law and lots of jurisprudence examples. What I am about to write doesn't necessarily apply where you are but keep it in mind.

    1. Private property is like hallowed ground. You do not have the right to take pictures of someone who is on private ground without getting permission, both from the person and from the owner of the property, even if you are on public ground. Private ground includes anywhere there are rules and regulations, like "public" parks, "public" transport, "public" buildings, shopping malls, etc. OK so that still leaves you the street

    2. Out in the street, a person is exposed to the regard of others and is not really owner of their image. So you can take pictures of people as long as you aren't a nuisance and create a breach of the peace.

    3. The problem is publishing the image, whether in a book, magazine, competition or on Internet. The person might claim you are slandering them. Or you may be bringing information to a third party who was not present thereby causing damage to your subject (the married couple kissing one another who turn out to be married but not to one another - ouch).

    4. Inevitably people appear in photos of general scenes (try to do a picture of the Eiffel Tower with no people visible). This is acceptable as long as the person is not individualised and picked out

    5. Long tele lenses (greater than 200mm in film terms) are out. This is being a peeping tom, intrusion of privacy

    6. Anything commercial, where you make money out of the person's image - get a model release

    7. There are exceptions. A press photographer has the duty to inform the public. Grandma doing photos of the kiddies in a restaurant is part of a group where it is tacitly accepted that photos can be taken within the group (but not details of the interior of the restaurant)

    OK so how do I do it?

    a) I tend to do photos in the street at events where people accept to have their photos taken. Example = Chinese New Year. People are there to be seen. But only the participants, not the spectators

    b) I adapt my gear to the situation. If what I'm doing is a bit doubtful (political demonstrations) I use a small camera and lens and try not to stand out too much

    c). I am always open. I never hide. My shooting distance is from 5 to 10 feet, with the camera visible. I don't necessarily say anything, I just show interest. If the person turns their back or shies away, I give up. Otherwise I visibly take hold of the camera and do the shot fairly quickly. Afterwards I say thank you and move slowly on (if you turn your back and run off in shame that makes people suspicious)

    d) I am always ready to talk to people. I have a clear idea of my project in mind, and I can always explain to people why I wanted the picture. I usually have a stock of business cards handy so people can pick up their picture on a web site if they want

    e) I rarely publish in any form. I always ask myself if the person would probably agree to what I want to do, if they seemed to be willing to pose, etc

    f) Some subjects are completely taboo. Nowadays I never do pictures of children, people have got paranoid about it. Nor do I do picture of people who or openly agressive or who I suspect will ask me for money. Officials, the police, anything remotely concerning national security where I could be taken for a terrorist or a criminal preparing a crime.

    BTW the shots in this thread - the only ones I would publish would be:

    - the girl who is obviously posing and in agreement
    - the guy with the bird with his back turned (even the car numberplates are just out of view, nice touch)

    For the others - its private ground or the people haven't seen you or they don't seem to be obviously in agreement
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

  11. #11
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    Re: Question regarding random person/street photography

    A couple of different angles, from this past weekend.

    'Disdainful and Overcast' ... a low vantage point when sitting down gives the enhanced disdainful up-the-nose point of view. This Queen Bee, has lost her entourage.





    I took many shots of people walking by the window from an old house in Randwick in Sydney, over the past two days. I took so many shots of people walking by where I was staying, my trigger finger went numb. The looks when people unexpectedly saw the camera was excellent. The timing and focus was everything.

    'No Photos No Photos !!!!' ... then no peeping, no peeping!!! This was the first image that I took in Sydney, and it set the tone for the last two days. Make your luck when doing street photography and chat heaps to those who take an interest in what you're doing ... Jodeyh, it will help put you at ease. I had some excellent conversations with those who stopped at the window ... and chatted about the passing humanity.





    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 02-23-2009 at 01:06 AM.

  12. #12
    banished Don Schaeffer's Avatar
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    Re: Question regarding random person/street photography

    If you take pictures in a private place like a shopping mall, they may ask you to stop or leave. I take photos out the bus window--I'm rarely noticed. But even if I am, I'm gone in a second. I understand the feeling of not wanting to thrust your camera in someone's face. I'm always afraid of getting slugged. But cameras are so familiar now that no one will notice you on the street. Anyway, taking pictures of people hurts no-one. It's just like looking.

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