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Image & Video Galleries => Street & City => Topic started by: Midphase on March 17, 2013, 05:52:52 PM

Title: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Midphase on March 17, 2013, 05:52:52 PM
I'm not being facetious, but more than once now when taking out my camera in public places I've gotten threats from passers by and general dirty looks.

Just recently, here in Los Angeles a guy who was just walking by my shot (not the actual subject of it) threatened to beat the crap out of me if I was taking his picture. On another occasion in Texas, while taking some photos of an abandoned house, I was approached by two guys who started giving me a hard time.

Keep in mind than in most instances I'm not pointing my camera toward a complete stranger to grab a close up or anything of the sort, just pointing the camera in general directions without focusing on any one person in particular. Nor am I shooting in bad parts of town.

Any advice on how to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation? How do you guys handle a hostile person who threatens you if they suspect that you've just snapped a photo with them somewhere in it?

Do you try to conceal your cameras (kinda hard to do with a large body like the 5D)?

I'm all ears about both advice and any stories you're all willing to share as to a similar situation which happened to you.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on March 17, 2013, 06:09:08 PM
Don't take photos of people in public unless you get signed permission.  Many people are concerned about their photos showing up on the internet, and its a valid concern.   If there are children with them, you could end up in trouble.



 In some countries, you will end up in jail by photographing people without permission.




Claiming that you were not actually photographing anyone, is not going to be believable, if a person sees a camera pointed their way or toward their children.



As more and more so called street photographers take photos of people and children without their permission and post them on the internet, we will move closer and closer to totally restricting the use of cameras in public places.



[\soapbox]
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: RS2021 on March 17, 2013, 06:21:05 PM
LOL...concealing the camera will make them even more mad if they are the confrontational type. So don't do that.

In some ways the size of the camera matters I think.

I have griped here on the "obviousness" of some lenses and bodies...while I own a one series body and have since 1DsII, for street work or even events I prefer smaller bodies and inconspicous lenses.

Other than bodily threats like those you describe, there is such a thing as being in someone's face even if they are cooperative.

Smaller the foot print, the better. And even the 5D's or rebels really don't meet that criteria in the strictest sense.

A Coolpix was gifted to me and I find it is less troublesome than the 5D3, but really don't use it much. Its like a cheap toy. The 1Dx on the street is really asking for attention, and certainly an overkill.

I came close to ordering the RX1 couple of weeks ago... yes, shocking I know... but the moment passed. But I can't say I am completely cured.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Midphase on March 17, 2013, 06:28:30 PM
Don't take photos of people in public unless you get signed permission.  Many people are concerned about their photos showing up on the internet, and its a valid concern.   If there are children with them, you could end up in trouble.

Hmmm...ok....not sure where you got that information. At least in the USA, taking photos of public places, even if they include people in it is absolutely legal and does not require any special permission or a signed release form.

http://photorights.org/faq/is-it-legal-to-take-photos-of-people-without-asking (http://photorights.org/faq/is-it-legal-to-take-photos-of-people-without-asking)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_law)

http://content.photojojo.com/tips/legal-rights-of-photographers/ (http://content.photojojo.com/tips/legal-rights-of-photographers/)

Anyway...back to the topic at hand, any advice on how to get someone off your back if they are overly sensitive?
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: JoeDavid on March 17, 2013, 07:57:59 PM
I've had the police called on me before as a "stalker" even though I was just photographing the exterior of a church  in a downtown area on a Saturday.  The police were pretty amused when they arrived but I wasn't. 

My advice is to pick up a fellow photographer when you go out to shoot.  It is weird but apparently two people with cameras is fine but one is suspicious these days...
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Murdy on March 17, 2013, 07:58:52 PM
Don't take photos of people in public unless you get signed permission.  Many people are concerned about their photos showing up on the internet, and its a valid concern.   If there are children with them, you could end up in trouble.


Lol - are all your posts this ill-informed?

Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Nitroman on March 17, 2013, 08:00:51 PM
I often have to shoot in public places and understand your concerns. It's frustrating but as sad sign of our times ...

I was in the Californian desert near Twentynine Palms (Joshua Tree NP) taking this pic and i got hassled by some douche. Was just minding my own business and got verbal abuse.

I also work a lot in towns and cities shooting tourism imagery in UK and i find the more professional you look, the less hassle you get off the public. However, the more pro you look the more likely security are to hassle you. It's a double edged sword.

You could try wearing one of those luminous yellow waist coats so you look official. Everyone assumes you're doing a job, especially if your equipment looks pro and you use a tripod.

Not much else to suggest myself i'm afraid ... Just smile and be friendly.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: risc32 on March 17, 2013, 08:09:21 PM
Don't take photos of people in public unless you get signed permission.  Many people are concerned about their photos showing up on the internet, and its a valid concern.   If there are children with them, you could end up in trouble.


Lol - are all your posts this ill-informed?

Well, i can't speak for mt spokane, but he might not be talking legal action. I'm sure there are many people out there that won't hesitate to lay their hands on you if they feel you are up to no good. That goes 10x when their kids are involved.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: RS2021 on March 17, 2013, 08:17:08 PM
My advice is to pick up a fellow photographer when you go out to shoot.  It is weird but apparently two people with cameras is fine but one is suspicious these days...

Truthfully, one or two photographers wouldn't help if the person is not happy with being photographed... and they are entitled to refusing.

Best policy is to stay in a spot and ask politely or gesture if they mind if you took a picture...expect a vast majority to say no or not even answer or turn their back.

This is why most of today's "street" photography has moved into exhotic places where the poor locals are not going to know what happens to these pics and who may be looking at them in pity or with scorn or indifference. Sad in some ways, that they don't get to choose as we do or may not have all the information, but that is the sign of our times.

In the US, particularly in big cities, people are less sensitive if you keep your distance. 135L comes in handy.

In smaller, mid size cities, small towns, or suburbs you should fully expect to be challanged if you don't ask for their permission.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: CharlieB on March 17, 2013, 08:19:28 PM
Don't take photos of people in public unless you get signed permission.  Many people are concerned about their photos showing up on the internet, and its a valid concern.   If there are children with them, you could end up in trouble.  In some countries, you will end up in jail by photographing people without permission.  Claiming that you were not actually photographing anyone, is not going to be believable, if a person sees a camera pointed their way or toward their children. As more and more so called street photographers take photos of people and children without their permission and post them on the internet, we will move closer and closer to totally restricting the use of cameras in public places.[\soapbox]

Totally untrue - except for the "in some countries" part.  I'm sure there are some countries that prohibit such activity.  Countries like North Korea and Iran for instance.  Here in the USA, if its seen from a public place, its ok to shoot.  There is no expectation of privacy, whatsoever, in public.  The only "caution" is what is, and what is not, public.  For instance, a public park, is public.  A theme park, is not public - its private, with paid admission.  I got ejected from the Palm Beach County Fair one year for taking pictures.  That is, the Fairgrounds is public, but the event is private, held by private company that rents the public Fairgrounds for their private event!  And so it said, on the back of my ticket stub, in fine print "... no commercial photography..." amid the rest of the clutter in about 2pt type.  The cops said because I was shooting with medium format equipment, I was considered a commercial photographer.  I didn't push the issue... left quietly, as I was pretty much done for the evening anyway.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: RS2021 on March 17, 2013, 08:23:04 PM
Again, a small foot print helps...

People seem to be more accomodating of iPhones rather than big zooms pointed directly at them.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: SiliconVoid on March 17, 2013, 08:33:04 PM
I know it sounds like social interaction 101, but:
Smile, wave, gesture to the camera, say hello, ask how the person is doing, depending on the subject or scene perhaps even ask in advance.

I have found the least objectionable approach is to make sure you do not project yourself on the street in an act of 'surveillance', you should instead look for a place to sit for a little bit, at least stop, engage someone while you continue to observe what is going on around you.

(You will still encounter those who maybe do not like the way they look, do not want someone to know they were where ever it was you saw them, etc.. nothing you can do with that.)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: unfocused on March 17, 2013, 08:48:40 PM
I can't seem to put my fingers on it right now, but I recall a story by a photographer who took part in a workshop with Gary Winogrand, one of the greatest street photographers of all time.

Basically, if I recall, whenever a subject noticed Winogrand (which was hard not to have happen as he was not a small guy) he made a point of smiling at his subjects. The effect was disarming and he was obviously very successful in capturing the poetry of the street. Cartier Bresson took somewhat the opposite approach, sizing up the situation carefully, figuring out what he wanted to shoot then quickly moving the camera to has eye and getting the shot. He was small and tried to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Occasionally, we are all going to run into the goofball who takes it upon himself to lecture or harass you. If it's just an individual, just walk away, maybe with a "sorry, didn't mean any harm." If it's a police officer (and you are in the U.S., Canada or Europe) just tell them you are a hobbyist taking pictures. Be polite, but don't feel you have to surrender your ground or your equipment. You aren't doing anything wrong.

Streets are public places. There is no need to ask permission. There is no "right" to privacy in a public place. It gets a little dicier on private property. Most shopping malls, etc., won't let you photograph on their property. I've even seen security guards run off news teams from television stations. It's kind of a grey area, since they are inviting the public in and once you invite the public in, there is a case that can be made that the property is no longer private. Again, just apologize and move on.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: jdramirez on March 17, 2013, 09:01:04 PM
Be bigger and badder than everyone else.  hit the gym & be prepared to hit harder than the next guy if it comes down to that.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: RS2021 on March 17, 2013, 09:04:41 PM
Be bigger and badder than everyone else.  hit the gym & be prepared to hit harder than the next guy if it comes down to that.

HAHA! Completely unfair but totally practical.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Chuck Alaimo on March 17, 2013, 09:06:32 PM
Don't take photos of people in public unless you get signed permission.  Many people are concerned about their photos showing up on the internet, and its a valid concern.   If there are children with them, you could end up in trouble.

Hmmm...ok....not sure where you got that information. At least in the USA, taking photos of public places, even if they include people in it is absolutely legal and does not require any special permission or a signed release form.

http://photorights.org/faq/is-it-legal-to-take-photos-of-people-without-asking (http://photorights.org/faq/is-it-legal-to-take-photos-of-people-without-asking)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_law)

http://content.photojojo.com/tips/legal-rights-of-photographers/ (http://content.photojojo.com/tips/legal-rights-of-photographers/)

Anyway...back to the topic at hand, any advice on how to get someone off your back if they are overly sensitive?

this is true.  And even in the case of children, no model release is necessary unless the shot is to be used for advertising.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on March 17, 2013, 09:19:49 PM
.
If you read the Christian Bible, you'll see that any time an angel appears to a human, the first thing they say is "Fear not."

That's important advice for anyone taking pictures in public. And I especially counsel that you do not heed the words of posters here who are ill-informed, don't seem to understand the concept of a free society and apparently live their lives in fear. The only time you would need a release for someone you've photographed in a public place is if the image will be used for commercial purposes.

Your question is vague so I'm not sure what the answer is for you. To say you're "...just pointing the camera in general directions without focusing on any one person in particular" is a bit suspect in itself. A camera requires focus, and I don't know anyone who takes pictures randomly without some point of focus. If that's all you're doing, get a pinhole camera -- nobody will even know what it is.

I do a lot of photography in public places, and I have general guidelines I follow. You'll find accomplished street photographers will all tell you generally the same thing.

1. Fear not. If you look tentative, it triggers apprehension in other people. The merely assertive may ask what you're doing. The aggressive and/or angry types may threaten you or at least try to intimidate you. If you're out there to take pictures, look like you know what you're doing and go about it in a businesslike manner. Don't look like you're afraid or like you're doing something you're not supposed to be doing.

2. Dress appropriately. If you're dressed in some extreme fashion, it calls attention to yourself for reasons that may make the camera suspicious. Military fatigues and leather are great for photographing streets scenes in the Castro -- it's not going to look so good shooting around Wall Street. Be aware how you're presenting yourself in both dress and manner.

3. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that your best defense is a smile and a casual, personable demeanor. If you're not comfortable talking with strangers, you'll have to overcome that. You may want to explore the science of body language. I know and use gestures and mannerisms that communicate I'm not a threat. But the smile is the most powerful force you have -- use it freely! And keep smiling no matter what!

4. One street photographer I know uses lies if someone challenges him -- whatever it takes. If you're young, say you're doing an assignment for your teacher in class. Tell them you're scouting the area because you want to propose to your girlfriend here one day soon. Tell them you're looking for a place to shoot a big bikini layout for some magazine. If you've taken a picture of a person tell them you did it because they look so great or you love their clothes -- flattery can't be overplayed. Hell, tell them Walt Disney sent you. I've never had to use this tactic, but I've got it ready if I need it. Oh, and don't use this one with the police. If the police want to know what you're doing, be honest.

5. As someone already said, take someone else with you. It doesn't even have to be a photographer. People who will challenge one person rarely want to take on two people.

6. If someone tells you they simply do not want you to have their picture, smile and delete it for them. Show them as you delete it. Whatever it takes to keep the peace. But keep smiling. And for years to come you can tell the story of how you took the greatest photo ever made by man, and you had to delete it. Like all good stories, over the years it will be embellished, and eventually you'll have done it while the person held a "Dirty Harry" 44 magnum at your head!

7. One thing I do that I've never seen anyone do is carry what I call "Who the hell are you?" cards. They're standard business cards with a Web address, phone number, etc. I hand them to anyone I talk with on the street. (No physical address. Use a disposable cell phone if you don't want to use a real number.) Often I invite people to look at pictures I've taken of them on the Web and contact me if they want to use them or have prints -- making sure to say I'm not selling anything. Very few people have ever contacted me. What I've found is the mere existence of something they think is a business card instantly makes me legitimate. It's silly, as you can get a box of decent business cards for $10 from Vista Print, but it sure works. Again, whatever it takes to keep the peace.

8. Be aware of children. Nothing gets people excited faster than thinking a stranger is photographing children. While it is plainly legal in the U.S., to take pictures of children in public places, we've become a paranoid society, and it's better to self-censor yourself a bit in this regard.

9. Know and understand your legal rights. Here's the ACLU guide for photographers. This is applicable in the U.S.


Taking photographs of things that are plainly visible from public spaces is a constitutional right – and that includes federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties. Unfortunately, there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs from public places, and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply.

Your rights as a photographer:

1. When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police. Such photography is a form of public oversight over the government and is important in a free society.

2. When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about the taking of photographs. If you disobey the property owner's rules, they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply).

3. Police officers may not generally confiscate or demand to view your photographs or video without a warrant. If you are arrested, the contents of your phone may be scrutinized by the police, although their constitutional power to do so remains unsettled. In addition, it is possible that courts may approve the seizure of a camera in some circumstances if police have a reasonable, good-faith belief that it contains evidence of a crime by someone other than the police themselves (it is unsettled whether they still need a warrant to view them).

4. Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances.

5. Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations. Professional officers, however, realize that such operations are subject to public scrutiny, including by citizens photographing them.

6. Note that the right to photograph does not give you a right to break any other laws. For example, if you are trespassing to take photographs, you may still be charged with trespass.

And keep smiling!!
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: RS2021 on March 17, 2013, 09:32:06 PM
4. One street photographer I know uses lies if someone challenges him -- whatever it takes. If you're young, say you're doing an assignment for your teacher in class. Tell them you're scouting the area because you want to propose to your girlfriend here one day soon. Tell them you're looking for a place to shoot a big bikini layout for some magazine. If you've taken a picture of a person tell them you did it because they look so great or you love their clothes -- flattery can't be overplayed. Hell, tell them Walt Disney sent you. I've never had to use this tactic, but I've got it ready if I need it. Oh, and don't use this one with the police. If the police want to know what you're doing, be honest.


Distant star,  I had no idea about this side of you ;D ;D
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Hobby Shooter on March 17, 2013, 10:01:59 PM
I try my best to get candid shots, but sometimes I do want to come closer, then it's a matter of communicating, either via a simple smile or walk up and ask. Sometimes when I'm in a market or so, I walk up very close and often even sit down with the people. It takes any tension out of the situation and I can capture very nice photos from the seller's perspective. If I'm on a distance, I'll sort of point to the camera and say OK?, normally people will accept you taking their picture.

Be yourself and be nice and polite, that'll sort the most problems.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: fugu82 on March 17, 2013, 10:04:13 PM
All good advice. I would add that maintaining a keen awareness of the presence of folks who may take a physical level of offense at your activities [as in gangsta types and wannabes, and big, mean drunks] is essential. And anything involving kids. I had a gun pulled on me many years ago, by a small-time punk, while I was unknowingly taking pictures of his kids, so it can get worse than a beating.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: RS2021 on March 17, 2013, 10:04:23 PM
Cartier Bresson took somewhat the opposite approach, sizing up the situation carefully, figuring out what he wanted to shoot then quickly moving the camera to has eye and getting the shot. He was small and tried to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Cartier-Bresson, funny you should mention someone I quote in my status line here....was discreet in every aspect of street... including his Leicas which are naturally less threatening than a larger dSLR. Later in his career, being diminutive, with grey hair and balding head,  he was even less threatening.

http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/08/10-things-henri-cartier-bresson-can-teach-you-about-street-photography/ (http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/08/10-things-henri-cartier-bresson-can-teach-you-about-street-photography/)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: gary samples on March 17, 2013, 10:21:55 PM
I don't do a great deal of street shooting but if I did I would use very long glass out my car window For fast getaway if needed LOL
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: RS2021 on March 17, 2013, 10:27:04 PM
I don't do a great deal of street shooting but if I did I would use very long glass out my car window For fast getaway if needed LOL

Now that would be stalking! LOL
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Hobby Shooter on March 17, 2013, 10:39:10 PM
I don't do a great deal of street shooting but if I did I would use very long glass out my car window For fast getaway if needed LOL
And keep a gun visible so people won't get to near you.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Don Haines on March 17, 2013, 10:43:46 PM
So I drive into the darkest corner of a parking lot way out in the middle of nowhere....set up the telescope, mount the camera, and am happily snapping away when I hear a LOUD voice say "SIR... STEP AWAY FROM THAT CANNON". I turn around and see two policemen and say "how can you tell I'm shooting Canon in the dark?" The closer policeman then says "SIR: STEP AWAY FROM THAT WEAPON". After a few tense moments they realize that I am not sitting with a cannon getting ready to lob projectiles at our nation's capitol but instead trying to photograph Saturn's rings.

Moral of the story: You can get into a lot of trouble when people with guns mistake what you are doing.

Second moral: Police can't tell the difference between a dobsinian telescope and a cannon in the dark.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: gary samples on March 17, 2013, 10:49:20 PM
the reason I like to use long glass party's and things you get candid shots with out getting in  there face most of the time they never see you shooting !
 shooting a cross the street works but like I said I Just shoot friends I don't want beat down  !!
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: jdramirez on March 17, 2013, 10:51:45 PM
Be bigger and badder than everyone else.  hit the gym & be prepared to hit harder than the next guy if it comes down to that.

HAHA! Completely unfair but totally practical.

In fairness, I don't do much street photography of people and especially of kids, but I primarily focus on candids.  But I suppose I just lull those who tacitly give me approval by circumstance into a sense of comfort. 

I have done some "field photography" of events and most people assume you are "working" and they accept the photographer because it furthers their cause.  Here are a few examples.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: jdramirez on March 17, 2013, 10:53:20 PM
Here's one more of a chick who had missed her to chance to stand up for women's rights but isn't going to miss it this go 'round.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: RS2021 on March 17, 2013, 10:58:07 PM
135L is the longest I have used on the street...last time sitting on the sidewalk bench with a bagel and coffee. But frankly it is not my favorite way to shoot street...it is too distant and one of the more alluring parts of street photography is the immediacy. And interaction with the subject(s) is frequently part of that equation.

Body language as others said before is important...both your own and reading others. And a smile does go a long way.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: gary samples on March 17, 2013, 11:02:23 PM
better then four years of kung fu
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: RS2021 on March 17, 2013, 11:38:35 PM
This looks to me like a great technique from HCB...but not as easy with any of the dSLR's I own. As much as I love Leicas, the manual focus is not gonna be practical for me.... RX1 seems more and more attractive.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: drmikeinpdx on March 18, 2013, 12:15:19 AM

I attempted to use this HCB technique with the 40 pancake lens on my T2i and walking around the city streets in a trendy district of Portland, OR on a cloudy day.  I switched off the autofocus and used the zone focus method.   I got a lot of blurry images from camera motion.  I probably should have used a higher ISO and shutter speed.

I also noticed that a few people gave me dirty looks.

My second attempt at street photography was in the busy central courtyard of a local college at noon on a sunny day.  I put the 55-250 (stabilized) lens on my T2i.  I was able to sit on a decorative boulder and photograph people in the courtyard from a considerable distance without any problem.  About 80% of the images looked good.  I did not keep the camera on any one person too long, but I noticed when I reviewed the photos at home that some of my subjects were looking right at me.

Street photography is not a simple thing.  I imagine it gets easier with experience.

I've never been hassled by anyone when I am photographing buildings, scenery or pretty models outdoors.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: J.R. on March 18, 2013, 12:23:26 AM
Get someone along with you on the photoshoot. Put them in the frame where there are other people involved - trouble goes down dramatically because others realize that you have a "specific human subject". Anyone else who happens to be there becomes largely incidental.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on March 18, 2013, 12:38:47 AM
135L is the longest I have used on the street...last time sitting on the sidewalk bench with a bagel and coffee. But frankly it is not my favorite way to shoot street...it is too distant and one of the more alluring parts of street photography is the immediacy. And interaction with the subject(s) is frequently part of that equation.

This goes to the essence of it for me.

I read comments about using long lenses and trying to hide what you're doing and having some means to escape; I wonder why anyone would take pictures of people if they're afraid of people. What's the purpose? Hell, go take pictures of buildings or cars or something you don't have to fear.

Honestly, I don't think you can be good at classic street photography if you don't genuinely like people or at least have some feeling for them. And if you fear people, I don't know why you would be taking pictures of them.

As RS says, there is immediacy and interaction -- that's the intimacy of real street photography. And like all human interactions, some will be great, most will be good and a few will be not so wonderful. That's life. You can use a camera to celebrate that or you can use a camera to aim at it and run away before anything meaningful happens.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: DocMo on March 18, 2013, 02:05:05 AM
If I'm "touring" and want to capture some street shots, I use my LX-7 and keep it slung over my shoulder, lens cap off, AV, and cued up. I have my shoulder strap adjusted so that the camera rests at the perfect angle for me to just press the shutter casually without having to raise it or compose.  Of course, many shots will miss and often I will need to straighten and crop after, but I can get some great shots this way and no-one knows I'm even taking pics. For example, I'm in China at the moment and here's a pic I took a few days ago SOOC.

If I'm home based, and I want to shoot a protest or rally or even just some street, I'll use my DSLR gear and throw a name-badge lanyard on. I've got all types of badges from conferences and events at work - none of them have to do with photography. But nobody reads the badge, it just looks "official". People very rarely question what they perceive as "authority", no matter how informal. If I am questioned, I just state that I'm capturing some candid photos of "the event", "the local population", "the citizens of Chicago", and then I follow with "would you like to be in a shot?". I took some candids at a Native American rally a couple months ago and one of the guys actually gave me his facebook name so I could send him a shot. After that, I got about 10 candids of him throughout the rally and was sure to follow up by sending him the pics. He ended up reposting and changed his profile pic to one of my shots. It worked out great.

So, basically, what others have said. If you have to go stealth, use a nice compact. If you bring out your real gear, act like you know what you're doing, smile, talk, invite, and shoot.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: jdramirez on March 18, 2013, 10:25:27 AM
If I'm "touring" and want to capture some street shots, I use my LX-7 and keep it slung over my shoulder, lens cap off, AV, and cued up. I have my shoulder strap adjusted so that the camera rests at the perfect angle for me to just press the shutter casually without having to raise it or compose.  Of course, many shots will miss and often I will need to straighten and crop after, but I can get some great shots this way and no-one knows I'm even taking pics. For example, I'm in China at the moment and here's a pic I took a few days ago SOOC.

If I'm home based, and I want to shoot a protest or rally or even just some street, I'll use my DSLR gear and throw a name-badge lanyard on. I've got all types of badges from conferences and events at work - none of them have to do with photography. But nobody reads the badge, it just looks "official". People very rarely question what they perceive as "authority", no matter how informal. If I am questioned, I just state that I'm capturing some candid photos of "the event", "the local population", "the citizens of Chicago", and then I follow with "would you like to be in a shot?". I took some candids at a Native American rally a couple months ago and one of the guys actually gave me his facebook name so I could send him a shot. After that, I got about 10 candids of him throughout the rally and was sure to follow up by sending him the pics. He ended up reposting and changed his profile pic to one of my shots. It worked out great.

So, basically, what others have said. If you have to go stealth, use a nice compact. If you bring out your real gear, act like you know what you're doing, smile, talk, invite, and shoot.
I hate people posng and smiling for me.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: RS2021 on March 18, 2013, 10:52:01 AM
I attempted to use this HCB technique with the 40 pancake lens on my T2i and walking around the city streets in a trendy district of Portland, OR on a cloudy day.  I switched off the autofocus and used the zone focus method.   I got a lot of blurry images from camera motion.  I probably should have used a higher ISO and shutter speed.

T2i, even with the shorty forty, would be rather bulky and obvious IMHO.  ISO in the ~1600 range and AF helps, at least for me. Much of what I do is with 35L and you have more latitude when the aperture is set higher and the shutter speed is also higher (so high ISO is key)...higher shutter speeds help reduce blur in a bustling street and higher f/stops provide deeper DOF so more of the street context is in focus. Looking for "bokeh" in hardcore street work is silly. I don't always try for the "sharpest" shots...it is a lost cause in street.

I also noticed that a few people gave me dirty looks.

Nothing riles them up more than surreptitiousness that is revealed. :) Dirty looks is not the worse so be thankful and you just smile and behave appropriately if confronted. As distant.star said, fear is useless and actually could set you up for more trouble than if you were bolder.

Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: J.R. on March 18, 2013, 11:17:48 AM

Nothing riles them up more than surreptitiousness that is revealed. :) Dirty looks is not the worse so be thankful and you just smile and behave appropriately if confronted. As distant.star said, fear is useless and actually could set you up for more trouble than if you were bolder.

+1. There is no middle ground in such a situation - shoot without fear and the usually the worst outcome will be that someone will ask you (maybe not nicely) to bugger off.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: bluegreenturtle on March 18, 2013, 11:25:09 AM
Weird - I shoot video constantly on streets and public places, and include people all the time.  I'm not inconspicuous - I've got a huge video tripod with a fluid head on it.  Nobody, other than drunks and crazy people has ever said a word in all the years I've been working.  Occasionally people ask about my project, but they are friendly and interested.  I just spent 2 weeks in downtown LA shooting and the only attention I attracted was from another videographer.  Who was very friendly. 
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: emag on March 18, 2013, 11:47:31 AM
After a few tense moments they realize that I am not sitting with a cannon getting ready to lob projectiles at our nation's capitol but instead trying to photograph Saturn's rings.

Moral of the story: You can get into a lot of trouble when people with guns mistake what you are doing.

Second moral: Police can't tell the difference between a dobsinian telescope and a cannon in the dark.

When I was a younger man with a full head of dark hair, Pope John Paul II visited Guam while I was stationed there.  Some friends and I were set up on a hill overlooking the podium he was to speak from, I had a Pentax ME on my orange C8 (2000mm f/10) to take photos.  Not long before he arrived, a van pulled up and several armed federal agents came over to see what I was up to...I'd been spotted by security folks who were on higher ground.  Showed them it was a telescope and camera, the lead agent radioed in that all was okay.  We went back to beer and waiting.  Who knows how things would go down today.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: bornshooter on March 18, 2013, 11:57:23 AM
Don't take photos of people in public unless you get signed permission.  Many people are concerned about their photos showing up on the internet, and its a valid concern.   If there are children with them, you could end up in trouble.



 In some countries, you will end up in jail by photographing people without permission.




Claiming that you were not actually photographing anyone, is not going to be believable, if a person sees a camera pointed their way or toward their children.



As more and more so called street photographers take photos of people and children without their permission and post them on the internet, we will move closer and closer to totally restricting the use of cameras in public places.



[\soapbox]
sorry but this is nonsense real professionals have been taking photos of strangers for years i cannot believe you would say this.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: bornshooter on March 18, 2013, 12:01:50 PM
Here is a street shot of a girl in prague a complete stranger let me tell you good looking girls love the attention :-)
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8376/8567842987_58d7c2f153_c.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/36538298@N02/8567842987/)
blonde on the streets of prague (http://www.flickr.com/photos/36538298@N02/8567842987/#) by Lseriesglass (http://www.flickr.com/people/36538298@N02/), on Flickr
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: bornshooter on March 18, 2013, 12:04:39 PM
here is one from the uk i was practically right in this girls face with the 5dmk3 but she was in a dream world and never even noticed me lol
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8435/7993216701_2ccb35d89e_c.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/36538298@N02/7993216701/)
Rock chick (http://www.flickr.com/photos/36538298@N02/7993216701/#) by Lseriesglass (http://www.flickr.com/people/36538298@N02/), on Flickr
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: J.R. on March 18, 2013, 12:06:32 PM
Here is a street shot of a girl in prague a complete stranger let me tell you good looking girls love the attention :-)


I guess you are right but trouble starts when their boyfriends don't like it.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: bornshooter on March 18, 2013, 12:07:32 PM
Here is a street shot of a girl in prague a complete stranger let me tell you good looking girls love the attention :-)


I guess you are right but trouble starts when their boyfriends don't like it.
i have never had problems yet..but when the time comes a smile really does work :-)
and keep in mind if they attack you they are in the wrong you sue and get a few grand out of it lol
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: J.R. on March 18, 2013, 12:09:11 PM
Here is a street shot of a girl in prague a complete stranger let me tell you good looking girls love the attention :-)


I guess you are right but trouble starts when their boyfriends don't like it.
i have never had problems yet..but when the time comes a smile really does work :-)

 :D +1
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Bruce Photography on March 18, 2013, 12:24:59 PM
My advice is to pick up a fellow photographer when you go out to shoot.  It is weird but apparently two people with cameras is fine but one is suspicious these days...

+1 on that.  I got tired of photographing southern CA coastline and beaches and I moved to northern CA where there are fewer people.  Everyone in southern CA wants to pretend they are stars and out of thousands of people at the beach, they are the only ones being photographed.  Boy what egos especially if they are young guys with their girlfriends so they can show off how macho they are.  I'd keep my phone handy to dial 911 if the situation develops badly.  I've never been physically attacked but I would press assault charges if I was.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: robbymack on March 18, 2013, 12:58:26 PM
whats the old adage?  "You kill more bee's with honey."  Seriously though it's rather simple, don't be a d*ck and you should be fine.  If someone asks you not to take a photo of them oblige.  If they ask you to delete a photo of them oblige.  Don't go all 007 and shoot from cars or behind bushes with long lenses into sensitive areas, be a man and walk right up to them.  I've found most folks are more than ok with it if you approach them with a smile and tell them you like their look.   
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: dstppy on March 18, 2013, 01:27:58 PM
From the original poster's description, if it kept happening to me like that, you can try carrying a copy of the 'photographer's bill of rights' and explain it to them that you meant no offense.

Alternatively, you could carry cards for an anger-management therapist . . . or possibly get business cards from the local police station before going out shooting after explaining that you're getting hassled, ask them to call and have it explained to them.

The world is full of jerks, and full of ways to deal with them.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: RS2021 on March 18, 2013, 01:42:46 PM
From the original poster's description, if it kept happening to me like that, you can try carrying a copy of the 'photographer's bill of rights' and explain it to them that you meant no offense.

Alternatively, you could carry cards for an anger-management therapist . . . or possibly get business cards from the local police station before going out shooting after explaining that you're getting hassled, ask them to call and have it explained to them.

The world is full of jerks, and full of ways to deal with them.

I think that would only antagonize them more...a genuine smile and cooperation always is the best route on the street.

Having said that... I absolutely love your status line ;)

"Canon Rumors is presently creating photographer shortages in Middle Earth (all the trolls emigrated here)"
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: serendipidy on March 18, 2013, 02:24:02 PM
So I drive into the darkest corner of a parking lot way out in the middle of nowhere....set up the telescope, mount the camera, and am happily snapping away when I hear a LOUD voice say "SIR... STEP AWAY FROM THAT CANNON". I turn around and see two policemen and say "how can you tell I'm shooting Canon in the dark?" The closer policeman then says "SIR: STEP AWAY FROM THAT WEAPON". After a few tense moments they realize that I am not sitting with a cannon getting ready to lob projectiles at our nation's capitol but instead trying to photograph Saturn's rings.

Moral of the story: You can get into a lot of trouble when people with guns mistake what you are doing.

Second moral: Police can't tell the difference between a dobsinian telescope and a cannon in the dark.

LOL...great story! ;D
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on March 18, 2013, 03:18:03 PM
.
As soon as you do anything that appears either defensive or antagonistic, the tension level goes up -- and that's the last thing you want.

Smile confidently and make nice. Or, as it says in the old poem, "Desiderata,"

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.



From the original poster's description, if it kept happening to me like that, you can try carrying a copy of the 'photographer's bill of rights' and explain it to them that you meant no offense.

Alternatively, you could carry cards for an anger-management therapist . . . or possibly get business cards from the local police station before going out shooting after explaining that you're getting hassled, ask them to call and have it explained to them.

The world is full of jerks, and full of ways to deal with them.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Ellen Schmidtee on March 19, 2013, 12:43:39 AM
Weird - I shoot video constantly on streets and public places, and include people all the time.  I'm not inconspicuous - I've got a huge video tripod with a fluid head on it.  Nobody, other than drunks and crazy people has ever said a word in all the years I've been working.  Occasionally people ask about my project, but they are friendly and interested.

I think the tripod has a lot to do with it. It's so big, the photographer is perceived as working openly, and as a pro.

My suspicion is the public has a certain perception of small camera might be spy, big camera might be paparazzi, but the tripod is reserved to studio or news photographers (= good old pros).
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: DocMo on March 19, 2013, 12:46:29 AM
I hate people posng and smiling for me.


Yeah well, this subject didn't even know I had a camera - that was the point of my whole story.  ::) This wasn't a "posng and smiling" shot. It was a street candid of a woman trying to entice the sale of her street yams. (Wait, that didn't sound quite right.)

Slate.com just published an interesting article about street photography in the 70's: http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2013/03/18/paul_mcdonough_new_york_city_1968_1971_documents_the_quirky_nature_of_new.html (http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2013/03/18/paul_mcdonough_new_york_city_1968_1971_documents_the_quirky_nature_of_new.html)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: verysimplejason on March 19, 2013, 01:46:23 AM
I used to bring my 500D + 28mm/50mm when I do street photography.  One time, some guy got pissed and I can easily see some people sneering at me or covering their faces once they've seen me shoot near them.  From then on, I just used my G11.  People suddenly are more trusting.  They don't shy away from my camera.  They even pose when I asked them nicely. 

Conclusion?  It must be my camera.  :)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: verysimplejason on March 19, 2013, 01:48:00 AM
Here is a street shot of a girl in prague a complete stranger let me tell you good looking girls love the attention :-)


I guess you are right but trouble starts when their boyfriends don't like it.
i have never had problems yet..but when the time comes a smile really does work :-)
and keep in mind if they attack you they are in the wrong you sue and get a few grand out of it lol

not when they can sue you first... :)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: jcns on March 19, 2013, 02:09:31 AM
it's pretty simple in my opinon.
I shoot with a 50d and 24-70 2.8 so it's hardly a stealth thing
Be courteous, polite, apologetic, and comply regardless of region, country.  I have shot in Japan, across Canada, Mexico, Brazil, across USA.
You are going to get a range of reactions from people, even varying reactions in the same area.
If someone intimidates me, I apologize and put the camera away and walk away.  No shot is worth offending anyone or getting in a fight or a brawl.
Are you earning a living shooting street shots? 
I have even deleted the picture in front of the person to show that I am not going to do anything.
If you publish a picture of someone without a release and the subject finds out, they can come after you.  Find a good lawyer.
Easy to defuse a situation.  I am never defensive nor aggressive.  Show respect, apologize, delete the picture if requested, and walk away.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: TAF on March 19, 2013, 02:28:23 AM
In all the years I've been taking photos out and about, I have only once had someone come up in a belligerent manner.

Fortunately, I saw him approaching, guessed at his intentions, and when he got close, I politely asked him to please step aside so I could get a clear shot of the building I was photographing.  The obvious anger disappeared from his face, and he stepped aside.  And I took the picture.

One thing to keep in mind if the situation really goes to h*ll - your 5D3 with 70-300L weighs 2 kgs (4.4 pounds), and is on the end of a 3 foot tether.  In cave man days, that would have been all you needed to feed the family...or deter a saber tooth tiger.

The likely damage to the camera is probably not covered by the warranty.

Oh, and after dark, a full power flash from any decent unit will temporarily blind anyone close.  My Vivitar 283 saved me once or twice on trips to Philly.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Sella174 on March 19, 2013, 04:31:39 AM
One Rottweiler on a leash.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: bornshooter on March 19, 2013, 05:25:11 AM
Here is a street shot of a girl in prague a complete stranger let me tell you good looking girls love the attention :-)


I guess you are right but trouble starts when their boyfriends don't like it.
i have never had problems yet..but when the time comes a smile really does work :-)
and keep in mind if they attack you they are in the wrong you sue and get a few grand out of it lol

not when they can sue you first... :)
sue you for what taking there photo? aren't you aware of the law?i can go in the street at least in the uk and taking photos of who i want if its in public i can photograph anyone whether they like it or not.you guys really have to watch more of bruce gilden eric kim guys like these.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Hillsilly on March 19, 2013, 06:09:53 AM
I'm lucky.  This has never happened to me.  But I'm not a risk taker.  I don't take covert pictures of people who look like they are belligerent, destitute, alcohol or drug fuelled.  I'm just not into that sort of photography and that takes a lot of risk away.  While I take a lot of photos in public places, it is pretty obvious what I'm doing.  If someone is clearly a major part of a photo, I'll get tacit approval beforehand.  If they appear to have a problem, I just move on - I'm not looking for problems.  I'll often have a camera on a tripod and it will be pretty obvious what the focus of the shot is and people realise that the focus isn't on them.  I do have a remote trigger that I use on occassion (admittedly - to get myself in the photo).  But how can I be taking a photo of someone when I'm standing 10m away from the camera?  Do they think I have some sort of telekinetic power?  If so, they should think twice before confronting me!  I also tend to only hang out in fun, touristy type places.  Everyone has cameras. Everyone's taking photos.  Nobody thinks twice about being in the background of someone's photo. 

Depending on the situation, I'd be very suspcious of someone who confronted me over taking their picture.  Even if I felt pressured to delete the photo, I'm sure I'd find a way to sneek a few more shots of them just in case. 
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: CharlieB on March 19, 2013, 07:18:54 AM
One thing to keep in mind if the situation really goes to h*ll - your 5D3 with 70-300L weighs 2 kgs (4.4 pounds), and is on the end of a 3 foot tether.  In cave man days, that would have been all you needed to feed the family...or deter a saber tooth tiger.

Totally off topic... I apologize... but I thought I'd share what was until now a forgotten (repressed?) episode in my life.  When I was a young man, about 19 or 20, the girl I was dating got abducted.  I pretty much went nuts.  After about six weeks of me going insane - the police telling me she'd just left me... they quit looking, I got a message from her.  She was being held in a house - two blocks from the police station.  Both of her captors were gone, and wouldn't be back for an hour.   She could not get out - the windows were barred from the inside - totally normal looking from the street.  There was one un-barred window - very high, close to the ceiling in the rear bathroom.  I stood on a trash can outside and cleared that window with a Nikon F2 with MD-2 motor, and 80-200/4 lens.  Totally cleared as in "no glass left".  She got on the tub and was able to get an arm out, I was able to grab it, and she got out.   We didn't end up staying together long after that, but... over thirty five years later, she's still one of my closest friends, and we see each other several times a year.

Cameras can be handy.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Ricku on March 19, 2013, 07:56:42 AM
People are paranoid idiots. That is all I have to say.

If someone threatend to hit me because I'm taking photos in a public place, I'd gladly fight. ??? My only concern would be  to keep my camera out of harms way, while whooping the aggressor up and down the pavement.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: J.R. on March 19, 2013, 09:42:21 AM
Always carry a tripod ... use as a weapon if necessary :P
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: TexPhoto on March 19, 2013, 09:45:06 AM
Always carry a tripod ... use as a weapon if necessary :P

A Monopod makes an excellent weapon.  I have never had to use mine, but I have twice had to explain to the person who wanted to rob me that I was holding a metal pipe, and was a poor target.

Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: EvilTed on March 19, 2013, 10:11:46 AM
Firstly on the legal issue, Mt Spokane is totally WRONG!!!
You can take anyone's picture, including children if they are in a public place.
You can freely post on the Internet so long as you are not making commercial gain from it.
Just Google for the facts before you listen to the misinformed...

As a street photographer in San Francisco, drawn to the seedier neighborhoods, all I can say is be aware of your surroundings and don't use gear you cannot afford to loose.
Don't get a few beers in you for dutch courage either.

I'm a black belt in full-contact karate and I am very careful, but I've had several confrontations with hookers and crack heads.
My advice is to smile and keep moving.
I tend to see the shot from a distance, frame it in my head and move quickly to take the shot and get out again.
There's no time to gawk about like a tourist taking snapshots...

ET
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: EvilTed on March 19, 2013, 10:13:30 AM
Always carry a tripod ... use as a weapon if necessary :P

A Monopod makes an excellent weapon.  I have never had to use mine, but I have twice had to explain to the person who wanted to rob me that I was holding a metal pipe, and was a poor target.

That's the kind of stupid advice that gets people killed.
The one you don't see is the one that stabs you in the back!

ET
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: insanitybeard on March 19, 2013, 10:24:49 AM
One thing to keep in mind if the situation really goes to h*ll - your 5D3 with 70-300L weighs 2 kgs (4.4 pounds), and is on the end of a 3 foot tether.  In cave man days, that would have been all you needed to feed the family...or deter a saber tooth tiger.

Totally off topic... I apologize... but I thought I'd share what was until now a forgotten (repressed?) episode in my life.  When I was a young man, about 19 or 20, the girl I was dating got abducted.  I pretty much went nuts.  After about six weeks of me going insane - the police telling me she'd just left me... they quit looking, I got a message from her.  She was being held in a house - two blocks from the police station.  Both of her captors were gone, and wouldn't be back for an hour.   She could not get out - the windows were barred from the inside - totally normal looking from the street.  There was one un-barred window - very high, close to the ceiling in the rear bathroom.  I stood on a trash can outside and cleared that window with a Nikon F2 with MD-2 motor, and 80-200/4 lens.  Totally cleared as in "no glass left".  She got on the tub and was able to get an arm out, I was able to grab it, and she got out.   We didn't end up staying together long after that, but... over thirty five years later, she's still one of my closest friends, and we see each other several times a year.

Cameras can be handy.

Fascinating story, did the cops get those responsible?
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: J.R. on March 19, 2013, 10:31:42 AM
Always carry a tripod ... use as a weapon if necessary :P

A Monopod makes an excellent weapon.  I have never had to use mine, but I have twice had to explain to the person who wanted to rob me that I was holding a metal pipe, and was a poor target.

That's the kind of stupid advice that gets people killed.
The one you don't see is the one that stabs you in the back!

ET

Either your comment is incomplete or stupid as you say it. You mean if any punk walked up to you and asked for your stuff, you would simply hand it to them? :o

Surely if someone approached me with a knife I'd gladly give up my gear as long as I was left alive but for the average brat ranting on the beach, it works as a deterrent.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: bvukich on March 19, 2013, 10:55:55 AM
Always carry a tripod ... use as a weapon if necessary :P

A Monopod makes an excellent weapon.  I have never had to use mine, but I have twice had to explain to the person who wanted to rob me that I was holding a metal pipe, and was a poor target.

That's the kind of stupid advice that gets people killed.
The one you don't see is the one that stabs you in the back!

ET

I refuse to be a target, and I refuse to be a victim.  If someone wants my stuff, they had better arrive in force, and fully willing to face death; most aren't, they just want an easy target.  I've got 13+1 reasons I'm not the one they're looking for.

Be aware of your surroundings, be safe, don't act like an easy target.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: rowlandw on March 19, 2013, 11:02:52 AM
If you have to get the shot anonymously:
1) Pretend to shoot your associate or wife but actually compose on your subject in the background and crop.
2) Perfect the art of firing a small fast lens at waist level while strolling and looking at something else.
3) Use a remote trigger or wire so your hand isn't even on the camera.
4) You can always frame an obvious view or building and wait for your subject to walk into your frame.
5) Aim at views all around and pretend to shoot as though you were a tourist until people get used to you and occasionally your aim will include a shot of your intended subject.
6) Smaller is better for close work - I use a s100 and a 6D + shorty forty which turns it into a large p&s.
7) I also use a SX40HS for distant subjects - at full zoom your subject won't be aware of either you or it.

If confronted but you need the shot
1) "What's your email address?  I'll send you the image for your own use" - and do it.
2) Apologize and explain you're just a tourist.
3) I keep a dummy card in case an authority wants my card so that I can palm it off if they want to confiscate it (never had to do that)
4) I've shot inside of commercial spaces and been stopped.  However, as my shots are artistic, perhaps showing the pattern of excalators with no clue as to location, they've always let it go but stating their policy against photography.

The funniest incident was a few years back when as a tourist in Copenhagen I was taking shots of the palace lit up at night.  A voice called out to me in Danish to which I replied in English, "Yes, isn't it a beautiful night!"  It was a guard switching into English, "It is not permitted to touch the building."   Turned out I was bracing my camera against a massive granite wall.  Taking pictures was no problem for him.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: kdw75 on March 19, 2013, 11:07:05 AM
If you are going by yourself you might want to keep a pistol on your belt, assuming it is legal in your area of course. I have found people are a lot more polite when they see your armed. Though the police may come and check you out. I personally have never had anyone say anything to me. Maybe it is just because I am a large fella who looks friendly and dresses well. You might also want to tell anyone who hassles you that your on official business and will call them in if they don't stop.

It's funny anyone would care considering how many cameras the government has put up which are taking our pictures as we pass by.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on March 19, 2013, 11:27:27 AM
.
Thanks, Doc. Good read and a great revisit with the streets I knew back in those times.

The Hare Krishna folks seemed to be everywhere back then, and now I can't remember the last time I saw one.

Good to find out about McDonough too; I'd never heard of him.



Slate.com just published an interesting article about street photography in the 70's: http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2013/03/18/paul_mcdonough_new_york_city_1968_1971_documents_the_quirky_nature_of_new.html (http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2013/03/18/paul_mcdonough_new_york_city_1968_1971_documents_the_quirky_nature_of_new.html)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: westr70 on March 19, 2013, 11:54:36 AM
A fascinating read and all good to know.  I was at a street fair yesterday and had no problems taking pictures with my 5d III (24-105) and in fact people were quite obliging.  There was a lot of security there too but I suspect that being at a fair assumed that people would have cameras.  Sort of a tourist thing.  The closest thing to an insult was when a kid asked how I liked my 7D?  Street fairs, parades, and other such events expect cameras, and I think a good place to practice "street photography."  Gain confidence, take your shots, and explore your potential.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Kristofgss on March 19, 2013, 11:59:25 AM
Totally untrue - except for the "in some countries" part.  I'm sure there are some countries that prohibit such activity.  Countries like North Korea and Iran for instance.  Here in the USA, if its seen from a public place, its ok to shoot.
Actually, you don't have to go that far, here in Belgium it is prohibited by law to take pictures in public places of people when they are recognisable. It is even prohibited to take images of three dimensional works of art, unless the creator has died more than 70 years ago. (though the last one is not really enforced and you'd have to be making a profit from your pictures before it comes into play) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_panorama (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_panorama)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on March 19, 2013, 01:44:36 PM
.
Wow, I just noticed this thread has been viewed over 5000 times. Lot of people interested in not getting a beat down!

I want to quote from that Slate piece as it makes an excellent point regarding the mood of people today:

"McDonough said that tackling street photography today versus the 1960s and 1970s is radically different. He explained via email:

'The reaction is different today. Cameras are much more ubiquitous now. In the ‘70s there was a whole different atmosphere, it was much more laid back then. People didn't particularly care if you were photographing them. By today's standards, where there's so much media trying to get information from people, people are much more wary. People see cameras as containing the possibility of exploitation. Everyone is spying. Local government, advertisers—they all want to know what it is you are thinking and doing. People were less paranoid in the ‘70s.'”


One thing I know is that people are on edge. There seems to be a palpable anger just under the surface. This can explain why they might react unpleasantly to someone with no authority who seems to be hitting them with just one more damn affront they can't really do anything about. This is why it's all the more important to smile and be nice.

For me, there is no street photograph ever taken that was worth getting hurt for. If your encounter has come to the point of threatening someone with a monopod, you've already lost. It's now only a matter of tallying up the damages. And with the number of people carrying guns now, the damages can get really out of proportion. As the Patrick Swayze character says in the movie, Road House, "No one ever wins a fight."
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Chuck Alaimo on March 19, 2013, 02:02:58 PM

If you publish a picture of someone without a release and the subject finds out, they can come after you.  Find a good lawyer.


As far as I kow, this is only true if the image is used for commercial advertising purposes.  They can try to sue you of course, but to what end?  To most, the money gained from the lawsuit would be far less than the cost of hiring a lawyer and going to court.  People are sue happy, when they know they can make a buck.  So unless you are making a killing off of selling that photo for a billboard display, the likelyhood of legal action just isn't there.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Hobby Shooter on March 20, 2013, 01:23:23 AM
This is an example of when a smile comes in handy. This is a bunch of awkward teenagers on a street in Phnom Penh last year. The picture in itself is not good at all, I couldn't find room getting out in the street and then missed the composition altogether. But I like it because the guys were just hanging around trying to look bad. When I walked up to them and gave them a smile, they got in position except one guy who ran off. So like several have said already, communication is everything. However I must add that I do like candids also.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Sella174 on March 20, 2013, 08:02:30 AM
If you are going by yourself you might want to keep a pistol on your belt ...

Over here in South Africa that will get you beat up ...
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: J.R. on March 20, 2013, 08:09:41 AM
If you are going by yourself you might want to keep a pistol on your belt ...

Over here in South Africa that will get you beat up ...

In India it will be reported in a hurry and the cops will be swooping in to check your gun license. It'll be worse trouble because the cops here have the habit of - shoot first, ask questions later
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Sella174 on March 20, 2013, 08:26:27 AM
... the cops here have the habit of - shoot first, ask questions later.

Bah, our cops generally do the same, although they usually also shoot second, third, some more (plus a few bystanders) and then return to the station for tea. Questions are optional.

Seriously, over here very few policewomen carry guns and most high-ranking officers neither, as they were violently targeted by drug-gangs for their service pistols. Kung-fu dogs have proven to be better law-enforcement tools than guns.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Caps18 on May 08, 2013, 11:04:53 AM
.
For me, there is no street photograph ever taken that was worth getting hurt for.

I don't know, there have been a few historic images.

Yes, people are getting paranoid.  However, I also try to avoid people in a lot of my photographs though.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Rienzphotoz on May 08, 2013, 11:29:00 AM
.
Lot of people interested in not getting a beat down!
I'm pretty sure everyone is interested in not getting beat down ... After all that is in our best interest :)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Grumbaki on May 27, 2013, 10:04:32 PM
Again, a small foot print helps...

People seem to be more accomodating of iPhones rather than big zooms pointed directly at them.

Once again I'll advocate the other way around. The smaller the gear the sneakier the attempt the shadier you will look.

Obvious behavior, big smile, relaxed and "who gives a damn" attitude would be my tips.

A previously "sneaky" friend of mine changed his ways and he got some very "nice" pictures of an religious extreme right demonstration this weekend...
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: M.ST on May 28, 2013, 01:18:15 AM
You can shoot people crowds in the city without a legal problem. What the people do if they realize that you take pictures is the other problem.

If you shoot single persons in the city without a model release you have a problem. But if the person is not the main subject it´s no problem.

My advice: Ask the people before taking a picture.

For street photography I recommend the Leica M. A 1Dx or 1Ds Mark II with a big lens like the 70-200 2.8 II IS on it is a total overkill. Sometime you have really fun with the people. 
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: bycostello on May 28, 2013, 02:29:30 AM
just be respectful of those around you...
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: readycool on May 28, 2013, 05:12:57 AM
One time I was on a wedding and just taking some food and decoration shots ..and some guy aggressively said something like "don't you take any pictures of me!" :o
How would you respond to that?
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: kaihp on May 28, 2013, 05:44:18 AM
One time I was on a wedding and just taking some food and decoration shots ..and some guy aggressively said something like "don't you take any pictures of me!" :o
How would you respond to that?

"Sure, I'll make sure not to take any pictures of you".
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: alexanderferdinand on May 28, 2013, 07:24:25 AM
Be friendly, smile, try to get "connected" to the people, if they are close.
My small RX100 is very stealthy, a DSLR like a 1 or 5 gets attraction.

Never had any trouble, knock on wood.

The law:  depends on the country. Doesnt help getting beaten, but later..... its good to know, whats "right" and whats not.

To play official: never thought about this, so my ID working for the police would be helpful. And the yellow jacket.
Good idea!!
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: pj1974 on May 28, 2013, 08:10:44 AM
I've lived in 3 different countries for periods of some years each, and have visited many more countries for 'some week to some months' each.

Sad that in some parts of the world there is so much fear about 'street photography'- and indeed even aggression when a photographer is around with his / her camera in hand. I have researched the laws in various countries and know my rights. I also am an official photographer for events (eg some sports events, church events, youth camps, official openings, etc)

Thankfully I've never been threatened, or felt very harrassed. I am naturally a friendly, smiley guy. But stereotypes are difficult, as I'm a non-married middle aged male - so if I'm alone (eg on a beach) some people might think I'm there to capture photos of unsuspecting people ... for sinister purposes, which is far from the truth! :/  Usually though when I'm at the beach I'm with friends - so that does feel 'easier' if I have my camera then, and especially if they have their phones and/or cameras out too! :)

Only once (about 5 or 6 years ago) when I was photographing crashing  waves on quite a remote beach, did one young surfer (read about 20?) stop surfing and come to me and ask if I was taking photos of him and his mates. I said I wasn't, I was capturing the waves and landscape. He asked me not to take photos of them. I responded in a friendly manner: "No worries mate, as I said I wasn't doing that and I won't take any photos of you". However that was the only exception.

When I travelled to Thailand, for example - I used my 7D with 15-85mm most of the time, especially around people (only using my L white glass less often).  I was very thankful to note the friendly and open nature of the Thai people I met. I usually started conversations with people first anyway - that's just my nature.

But I know from various parts of the world - and for some - religion also has an impact on this - photography is much more difficult and threatening. While I prefer visiting 'friendly / safe' places - if in an area of 'photography vulnerability' - I'd probably not take so many photos, and no where there is a feeling people don't like it.

Regards

Paul (now in Australia)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Txema on May 28, 2013, 10:24:04 AM
Don't take photos of people in public unless you get signed permission.  Many people are concerned about their photos showing up on the internet, and its a valid concern.   If there are children with them, you could end up in trouble.  In some countries, you will end up in jail by photographing people without permission.  Claiming that you were not actually photographing anyone, is not going to be believable, if a person sees a camera pointed their way or toward their children. As more and more so called street photographers take photos of people and children without their permission and post them on the internet, we will move closer and closer to totally restricting the use of cameras in public places.[\soapbox]

Totally untrue - except for the "in some countries" part.  I'm sure there are some countries that prohibit such activity.  Countries like North Korea and Iran for instance.  Here in the USA, if its seen from a public place, its ok to shoot.  There is no expectation of privacy, whatsoever, in public.  The only "caution" is what is, and what is not, public.  For instance, a public park, is public.  A theme park, is not public - its private, with paid admission.  I got ejected from the Palm Beach County Fair one year for taking pictures.  That is, the Fairgrounds is public, but the event is private, held by private company that rents the public Fairgrounds for their private event!  And so it said, on the back of my ticket stub, in fine print "... no commercial photography..." amid the rest of the clutter in about 2pt type.  The cops said because I was shooting with medium format equipment, I was considered a commercial photographer.  I didn't push the issue... left quietly, as I was pretty much done for the evening anyway.


My wife and I have been for two months in Iran and only once, near Persepolis, I was politely ask by the police not to point eastward as there was a military post. At Teheran, Qazbin, Isfahan, Kerman, Shiraz, Bam, Mashhad, Tabriz, Ardabil had absolutely no problems taking people photos. Furthermore, we got invited as guests of honor to a wedding in Mashad, to eat on many occasions, and two times the taxi driver refused to be paid. I encountered problems only in Quom but I still wonder if it was due to me being in a different mood or the people. Iran is, by far, the most welcoming country I have been in. (I'm european and only speak english and spanish).
I've travelled extensively and intensively for the last 18 years in Africa, Asia, Europe, North Central and South America and, in my personal experience, the places where you are more likely to get in trouble are: taking photos of the indigenous people of Central America and on many places on the US's midwest.
But this is only my experience.
I try to be polite, don´t feel guilty if I take photos without permission and always smile. When confronted, if needed, I apologize.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on May 28, 2013, 10:24:32 AM
One time I was on a wedding and just taking some food and decoration shots ..and some guy aggressively said something like "don't you take any pictures of me!" :o
How would you respond to that?

Interesting question, and a lot would depend on circumstances.

It would matter who this "guy" was. A wedding guest? Food service staff? Site security or management? Too much to drink? Most likely, if he wasn't integral to my work at the wedding, I'd just say, "Sure, no problem," and go about my business.

If I had a few minutes and wanted to engage him, I might say something like, "You know, I always wonder about that. Some people like to have their picture taken and some people don't. I can never figure it out. Can you help me understand that?"

An even more aggressively engaging stance would be to say, "Oh, good. You know I'm taking pictures all day, and no one takes my picture. Since you don't want your picture taken, will you take mine?" Then I'd hand him the camera and ask him to take my picture next to the wedding cake. If he says, "Go to hell" and walks away, it's over. If he takes the picture, he's now on your side -- he has a sense he's part of your team, that he's made a contribution. And, maybe he likes it and he takes up photography! You never know.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: alexanderferdinand on May 28, 2013, 11:06:58 AM
@ readycool: if I am the pro there (getting paid)and he is a guest I tell this the person which pays me.
I dont want to be the @ss for missing an important shot. This is a problem of the host, not mine.
Being on a wedding means there are people taking pictures.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 12:23:32 PM

If you publish a picture of someone without a release and the subject finds out, they can come after you.  Find a good lawyer.


As far as I kow, this is only true if the image is used for commercial advertising purposes.  They can try to sue you of course, but to what end?  To most, the money gained from the lawsuit would be far less than the cost of hiring a lawyer and going to court.  People are sue happy, when they know they can make a buck.  So unless you are making a killing off of selling that photo for a billboard display, the likelyhood of legal action just isn't there.

So, how do the Hollywood paparazzi get away with it all? I mean, I'm pretty sure they're not getting signed releases from Lohan or the like in the embarrassing pics they take of them....and they DO sell those images for commercial use (TMZ, magazines, etc).

And anyone that gets in the news, they get pics taken and I'm sure they get paid for them, people that are maybe only famous for their 15 minutes, but people sell pics of them, and I'm guessing many don't get model release forms signed.

How do they get away with that then?
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: privatebydesign on May 28, 2013, 12:33:37 PM

If you publish a picture of someone without a release and the subject finds out, they can come after you.  Find a good lawyer.


As far as I kow, this is only true if the image is used for commercial advertising purposes.  They can try to sue you of course, but to what end?  To most, the money gained from the lawsuit would be far less than the cost of hiring a lawyer and going to court.  People are sue happy, when they know they can make a buck.  So unless you are making a killing off of selling that photo for a billboard display, the likelyhood of legal action just isn't there.

So, how do the Hollywood paparazzi get away with it all? I mean, I'm pretty sure they're not getting signed releases from Lohan or the like in the embarrassing pics they take of them....and they DO sell those images for commercial use (TMZ, magazines, etc).

And anyone that gets in the news, they get pics taken and I'm sure they get paid for them, people that are maybe only famous for their 15 minutes, but people sell pics of them, and I'm guessing many don't get model release forms signed.

How do they get away with that then?

Very short version:

There is a fundamental difference between commercial use, and news and editorial usage. If you take a picture in a public place of Justin Bieber you can sell it to a "news"  outlet for news or editorial use, you cannot use it in an advert for hair gel. If you hire Justin Bieber and get the releases you can use the images to sell hair gel.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Zv on May 28, 2013, 12:50:38 PM
If people don't want to be in your pictures in public places it's prob because they're meant to be at work and they're scared of getting caught!
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: roumin on May 28, 2013, 01:17:10 PM
When I hold my 5d3 in public, I get unwelcoming stares, but when my 9 year old daughter holds it, she gets the "you're sooo cute" looks - some will even pose for her.

Lesson: hire a 9 year old assistant!
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 01:18:39 PM

If you publish a picture of someone without a release and the subject finds out, they can come after you.  Find a good lawyer.


As far as I kow, this is only true if the image is used for commercial advertising purposes.  They can try to sue you of course, but to what end?  To most, the money gained from the lawsuit would be far less than the cost of hiring a lawyer and going to court.  People are sue happy, when they know they can make a buck.  So unless you are making a killing off of selling that photo for a billboard display, the likelyhood of legal action just isn't there.

So, how do the Hollywood paparazzi get away with it all? I mean, I'm pretty sure they're not getting signed releases from Lohan or the like in the embarrassing pics they take of them....and they DO sell those images for commercial use (TMZ, magazines, etc).

And anyone that gets in the news, they get pics taken and I'm sure they get paid for them, people that are maybe only famous for their 15 minutes, but people sell pics of them, and I'm guessing many don't get model release forms signed.

How do they get away with that then?

Very short version:

There is a fundamental difference between commercial use, and news and editorial usage. If you take a picture in a public place of Justin Bieber you can sell it to a "news"  outlet for news or editorial use, you cannot use it in an advert for hair gel. If you hire Justin Bieber and get the releases you can use the images to sell hair gel.

So....could I shoot people in public, and post them for sale on my website "listed" as for use in news/editorial only to sell them.

What people do with them after I sell them the images aren't "my" concern, right?

:)

C
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: privatebydesign on May 28, 2013, 01:31:04 PM

If you publish a picture of someone without a release and the subject finds out, they can come after you.  Find a good lawyer.


As far as I kow, this is only true if the image is used for commercial advertising purposes.  They can try to sue you of course, but to what end?  To most, the money gained from the lawsuit would be far less than the cost of hiring a lawyer and going to court.  People are sue happy, when they know they can make a buck.  So unless you are making a killing off of selling that photo for a billboard display, the likelyhood of legal action just isn't there.

So, how do the Hollywood paparazzi get away with it all? I mean, I'm pretty sure they're not getting signed releases from Lohan or the like in the embarrassing pics they take of them....and they DO sell those images for commercial use (TMZ, magazines, etc).

And anyone that gets in the news, they get pics taken and I'm sure they get paid for them, people that are maybe only famous for their 15 minutes, but people sell pics of them, and I'm guessing many don't get model release forms signed.

How do they get away with that then?

Very short version:

There is a fundamental difference between commercial use, and news and editorial usage. If you take a picture in a public place of Justin Bieber you can sell it to a "news"  outlet for news or editorial use, you cannot use it in an advert for hair gel. If you hire Justin Bieber and get the releases you can use the images to sell hair gel.

So....could I shoot people in public, and post them for sale on my website "listed" as for use in news/editorial only to sell them.

What people do with them after I sell them the images aren't "my" concern, right?

:)

C

Yes you can, and there have been many cases where these laws have been tested.

Having said that very few people/companies would even consider using unreleased images in situations where a release was needed, that is why we have lawyers. Many stock agencies require releases of any "identifiable person" in the image because they can't be bothered with different licensing arrangements. But in general, you can shoot anything in public and sell it, the purchaser is liable for their use, assuming you didn't imply they could do anything with the images.

I had an image I shot at a carnival, it featured Bud Light very prominently, the local distributor was desperate to use the image, of which I was selling prints and the national paper ran it, but as we couldn't find the subject to get a release they couldn't use it in an advert for the "beer".
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: m on May 28, 2013, 01:56:06 PM
How do they get away with that then?

Some laws make exceptions on people of public interest.
Check yours to get all the details.

I've read controversial opinions about whether some laws prohibit even taking the picture without permission.
Then there's group shots, which may or may not allow publication.
Get rid of the humans and you still cannot sell that night shot of the Eiffel Tower.
etc.

=/

If there's anything useful one gets out of this discussion is the guilt of lost time that one did not use to take pictures.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 02:06:54 PM
How do they get away with that then?

Some laws make exceptions on people of public interest.
Check yours to get all the details.

I've read controversial opinions about whether some laws prohibit even taking the picture without permission.
Then there's group shots, which may or may not allow publication.
Get rid of the humans and you still cannot sell that night shot of the Eiffel Tower.
etc.

=/

If there's anything useful one gets out of this discussion is the guilt of lost time that one did not use to take pictures.

Wait...

If I go to Paris and shoot the Effel Tower, and come home...how are they going to prevent me from selling that image?

C
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: readycool on May 28, 2013, 02:36:04 PM
One time I was on a wedding and just taking some food and decoration shots ..and some guy aggressively said something like "don't you take any pictures of me!" :o
How would you respond to that?

Interesting question, and a lot would depend on circumstances.

It would matter who this "guy" was. A wedding guest? Food service staff? Site security or management? Too much to drink? Most likely, if he wasn't integral to my work at the wedding, I'd just say, "Sure, no problem," and go about my business.

If I had a few minutes and wanted to engage him, I might say something like, "You know, I always wonder about that. Some people like to have their picture taken and some people don't. I can never figure it out. Can you help me understand that?"

An even more aggressively engaging stance would be to say, "Oh, good. You know I'm taking pictures all day, and no one takes my picture. Since you don't want your picture taken, will you take mine?" Then I'd hand him the camera and ask him to take my picture next to the wedding cake. If he says, "Go to hell" and walks away, it's over. If he takes the picture, he's now on your side -- he has a sense he's part of your team, that he's made a contribution. And, maybe he likes it and he takes up photography! You never know.
As I was getting payed for that wedding I did not want to make a scene so I just replied "ok" in same rude way and moved along. Funny thing is that after he got drunk he did not mind me taking pictures of him :)
I don't understand guests at weddings who get all fancy dresses, makeup, haircuts, expensive suites and then don't want to be photographed. A lot of times they see that I am taking pictures of them and then turn their back to me. I know that i am shooting with Canon, but c'mon it does not hurt ;)
 
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: privatebydesign on May 28, 2013, 03:01:44 PM
How do they get away with that then?

Some laws make exceptions on people of public interest.
Check yours to get all the details.

I've read controversial opinions about whether some laws prohibit even taking the picture without permission.
Then there's group shots, which may or may not allow publication.
Get rid of the humans and you still cannot sell that night shot of the Eiffel Tower.
etc.

=/

If there's anything useful one gets out of this discussion is the guilt of lost time that one did not use to take pictures.

Wait...

If I go to Paris and shoot the Effel Tower, and come home...how are they going to prevent me from selling that image?

C

They can't, what they can do is send a cease and desist notice to anybody who displays it and they can sue you  if you didn't make it clear to the image buyer they needed to get permission from the copyright owner, the lighting is copyrighted so commercial use of the display is protected under the same copyright laws that allow you to sell a picture of Justin Bieber getting a ticket in his Lamborghini.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: hgraf on May 28, 2013, 03:04:27 PM
Alot of people are mentioning problems they've had in far off exotic places. I find that the WORST problems I've had are right here in North America.

Recently was in a nice quiet neighbourhood trying out a new lens, taking a shot of a road and bridge (sun was out, bright blue sky, a few clouds). A van drove up to me and asked what I was doing. I told them I was taking a picture. They then proceeded to claim (very aggressively) that it's illegal to take a picture of them and that I'd be in trouble.

Little more detail here: this was a quiet residential area road. They were about half a mile away when I took the shot (never mind I was shooting with an 8mm lens...). Their aggressive attitude was astonishing. I told them I deleted the shot with them "in it" (the tiny spec that they were) and walked away. They drove off, only to return a few minutes latter, stopping in the middle of the road and taking a picture of me with their camera phone? I just smiled and kept walking.

People seem to have this impression that ANY picture taken of them (even if they are half a mile away behind tinted windows) without "permission" is illegal, and they get VERY aggressive about it if you look like anything beyond a kid with a camera phone.

Was in a best buy once trying out a camera (one of the Samsung WiFi cameras) and this guy walks up to me saying he's calling the cops cause I took a pic of him. It wasn't even my camera...
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 03:14:44 PM
Alot of people are mentioning problems they've had in far off exotic places. I find that the WORST problems I've had are right here in North America.

Recently was in a nice quiet neighbourhood trying out a new lens, taking a shot of a road and bridge (sun was out, bright blue sky, a few clouds). A van drove up to me and asked what I was doing. I told them I was taking a picture. They then proceeded to claim (very aggressively) that it's illegal to take a picture of them and that I'd be in trouble.

Little more detail here: this was a quiet residential area road. They were about half a mile away when I took the shot (never mind I was shooting with an 8mm lens...). Their aggressive attitude was astonishing. I told them I deleted the shot with them "in it" (the tiny spec that they were) and walked away. They drove off, only to return a few minutes latter, stopping in the middle of the road and taking a picture of me with their camera phone? I just smiled and kept walking.

People seem to have this impression that ANY picture taken of them (even if they are half a mile away behind tinted windows) without "permission" is illegal, and they get VERY aggressive about it if you look like anything beyond a kid with a camera phone.

Was in a best buy once trying out a camera (one of the Samsung WiFi cameras) and this guy walks up to me saying he's calling the cops cause I took a pic of him. It wasn't even my camera...

Wow...that's very interesting. I've yet to encounter something like this before.

Then again, I live in New Orleans, where cameras are pretty common out and about with all the tourists, maybe that and the laid back attitude down here keeps it friendly, but honestly, I've never heard of this type reaction or aggression before till this thread.

C
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on May 28, 2013, 03:24:13 PM
.
Cayenne --

I hope you will not take any action based on discussions here. It's fun to sling the bull about, but qualified legal counsel should be consulted if you have questions that can get you into legal trouble.

B&H recently offered a video on copyright that is the best general info I've seen (again, it's not intended as personal legal counsel for your situation). While it's sort of a long, hard slog, (and one guy is a touch obnoxious), it's worth watching if you really want to learn something about this area:

The Copyright Zone Guys (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ8TzCv1dfs#ws)

Personally, this was a lot of my MJ training long ago so it interests me enough to watch. Another thing, you probably don't have to actually "watch" the video. I just listened while doing other things (like post process images).
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: PureAmateur on May 28, 2013, 03:51:55 PM
Google Glass Photographer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGxLkaCdpLc#ws)

Google glass would be the answer :P
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: m on May 28, 2013, 04:31:54 PM
how are they going to prevent me from selling that image?

Being in a different country does not necessarily prevent you from getting sued.
I don't think they will, but that's not the point.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 04:55:45 PM
how are they going to prevent me from selling that image?

Being in a different country does not necessarily prevent you from getting sued.
I don't think they will, but that's not the point.

Thanks for the input, and I'll watch the video listed above later this evening...
But seriously...how can someone "copyright" a public building?!?!

I just can't see how that would stand up in court.....

C
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: tpatana on May 28, 2013, 05:01:39 PM
I don't understand guests at weddings who get all fancy dresses, makeup, haircuts, expensive suites and then don't want to be photographed. A lot of times they see that I am taking pictures of them and then turn their back to me. I know that i am shooting with Canon, but c'mon it does not hurt ;)

I had that too. I guess some people really don't want they pictures taken.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: serendipidy on May 28, 2013, 05:03:25 PM
how are they going to prevent me from selling that image?

Being in a different country does not necessarily prevent you from getting sued.
I don't think they will, but that's not the point.

Thanks for the input, and I'll watch the video listed above later this evening...
But seriously...how can someone "copyright" a public building?!?!

I just can't see how that would stand up in court.....

C

My understanding:
The building is not copyrighted...it's the light display at night which, under French law, is considered a work of art and, if used commercially, requires license fee. Daytime photos of the Eiffel Tower...shoot away all you want.

edit- source:Wikipedia
Image copyright claims

The tower and its representations have long been in the public domain. However, a French court ruled, in June 1990, that a special lighting display on the tower in 1989, for the tower's 100th anniversary, was an "original visual creation" protected by copyright. The Court of Cassation, France's judicial court of last resort, upheld the ruling in March 1992.[53] The Société d'exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE) now considers any illumination of the tower to be under copyright.[54] As a result, it is no longer legal to publish contemporary photographs of the tower at night without permission in France and some other countries.

The imposition of copyright has been controversial. The Director of Documentation for what was then the Société nouvelle d'exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SNTE), Stéphane Dieu, commented in January 2005, "It is really just a way to manage commercial use of the image, so that it isn't used in ways we don't approve." However, it also potentially has the effect of prohibiting tourist photographs of the tower at night from being published,[55] as well as hindering non-profit and semi-commercial publication of images of the tower. Besides, French doctrine and jurisprudence traditionally allow pictures incorporating a copyrighted work as long as their presence is incidental or accessory to the main represented subject,[56] a reasoning akin to the de minimis rule. Thus, SETE could not claim copyright on photographs or panoramas of Paris incorporating the lit tower.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: serendipidy on May 28, 2013, 05:05:57 PM
I don't understand guests at weddings who get all fancy dresses, makeup, haircuts, expensive suites and then don't want to be photographed. A lot of times they see that I am taking pictures of them and then turn their back to me. I know that i am shooting with Canon, but c'mon it does not hurt ;)

I had that too. I guess some people really don't want they pictures taken.

LOL...I'll bet these same people have facebook or other websites and publish photos of themselves all the time :)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: tpatana on May 28, 2013, 05:06:40 PM
Few months ago I was shooting a school building. I was told it'd be empty, but there was some after school basketball tournament no-one told me about. I checked in at the office, they knew I was supposed to be there, and they gave me a visitor badge to wear. And every 5 minutes one of the teacher came to me, asking why I'm taking pictures of the kids. I tried to explain I was hoping the building was empty, as I didn't want people on the pics. Most took the explanation, but one older lady was really pressing me if I was really supposed to be there, and that was I really taking pictures of the building and not the kids.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 05:07:22 PM
how are they going to prevent me from selling that image?

Being in a different country does not necessarily prevent you from getting sued.
I don't think they will, but that's not the point.

Hmm..ok, Well, I take a picture, and redo the color in PS and voila!! It is them my original work of art.
:)

Copyrighting light? Sheesh...seems a stretch there too, but again...daytime shots or PS edited nighttime ones should be ok, eh?


Thanks for the input, and I'll watch the video listed above later this evening...
But seriously...how can someone "copyright" a public building?!?!

I just can't see how that would stand up in court.....

C

My understanding:
The building is not copyrighted...it's the light display at night which, under French law, is considered a work of art and, if used commercially, requires license fee. Daytime photos of the Eiffel Tower...shoot away all you want.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: jebrady03 on May 28, 2013, 05:08:25 PM
I plan to handle it via monologue...

"Wow... so @holes like you really do exist.  You know, I read a thread on Canon Rumors one time where people discussed what to do if some jerk comes up and begins demanding that you throw away your legally protected rights because they're uneducated and insecure for some reason.  It went on for several pages.  The recommendations varied from smiling and apologizing - for what, I'm not sure, since I have the legal right to do what I'm doing - to flashing you this gun I have here in my camera bag, to swirling 4 lbs of metal and glass around my head like Crocodile Dundee and lodging it inside your ignorant @$$ head.  What you do next is going to determine what happens.  You can either tuck your tail and walk away or you can live the rest of your life as a vegetable.  I'll calmly await your decision with my gun in one hand and my camera strap in the other..."

At least... that's how it goes in my head when I ponder what I'd do... lol
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 05:51:17 PM
Few months ago I was shooting a school building. I was told it'd be empty, but there was some after school basketball tournament no-one told me about. I checked in at the office, they knew I was supposed to be there, and they gave me a visitor badge to wear. And every 5 minutes one of the teacher came to me, asking why I'm taking pictures of the kids. I tried to explain I was hoping the building was empty, as I didn't want people on the pics. Most took the explanation, but one older lady was really pressing me if I was really supposed to be there, and that was I really taking pictures of the building and not the kids.

Wow.
When did it become 'illegal' to take pictures of kids? What gives them special 'rights' the rest of us don't seem to have?
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Drizzt321 on May 28, 2013, 06:37:32 PM
Few months ago I was shooting a school building. I was told it'd be empty, but there was some after school basketball tournament no-one told me about. I checked in at the office, they knew I was supposed to be there, and they gave me a visitor badge to wear. And every 5 minutes one of the teacher came to me, asking why I'm taking pictures of the kids. I tried to explain I was hoping the building was empty, as I didn't want people on the pics. Most took the explanation, but one older lady was really pressing me if I was really supposed to be there, and that was I really taking pictures of the building and not the kids.

Wow.
When did it become 'illegal' to take pictures of kids? What gives them special 'rights' the rest of us don't seem to have?

It's the fear that has been propagated by the media that everyone is out to kidnap and abuse your kids, or use them for some other nefarious reason. Especially men, they are teh debil, and obviously just looking for an excuse.

This is very unfortunate, as it could be a great challenge to shoot kids at a playground or something since they're moving all around so fast and always are doing something.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: tpatana on May 28, 2013, 06:55:04 PM
Few months ago I was shooting a school building. I was told it'd be empty, but there was some after school basketball tournament no-one told me about. I checked in at the office, they knew I was supposed to be there, and they gave me a visitor badge to wear. And every 5 minutes one of the teacher came to me, asking why I'm taking pictures of the kids. I tried to explain I was hoping the building was empty, as I didn't want people on the pics. Most took the explanation, but one older lady was really pressing me if I was really supposed to be there, and that was I really taking pictures of the building and not the kids.

Wow.
When did it become 'illegal' to take pictures of kids? What gives them special 'rights' the rest of us don't seem to have?

It's the fear that has been propagated by the media that everyone is out to kidnap and abuse your kids, or use them for some other nefarious reason. Especially men, they are teh debil, and obviously just looking for an excuse.

This is very unfortunate, as it could be a great challenge to shoot kids at a playground or something since they're moving all around so fast and always are doing something.

I did think to myself if they would have made such in case of female photographer. Most likely not. Kinda sad, and the media is really the one to blame for creating such hysteria.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on May 28, 2013, 07:19:04 PM
.
The paranoia runs especially deep (at least here in the U.S.) when it comes to children -- at least taking photographs of them (we don't seem to get quite as upset when they're shot!).

I found myself surrounded by four police officers (township and county) demanding to know why I was taking pictures of kids on school buses. I was standing on the street waiting for a bus, and to kill time I was taking pictures -- a few school buses went by and big yellow things make colorful pictures. I didn't give it a lot of thought or look for much from the pictures.

Apparently someone who should be seeing a therapist called the cops and told them someone was taking pictures of kids on school buses. Police, equally paranoid, sprang into action; not much else going on mid-afternoon, I suppose.

It can be tough when you carry a camera!
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 08:13:07 PM
.
The paranoia runs especially deep (at least here in the U.S.) when it comes to children -- at least taking photographs of them (we don't seem to get quite as upset when they're shot!).

I found myself surrounded by four police officers (township and county) demanding to know why I was taking pictures of kids on school buses. I was standing on the street waiting for a bus, and to kill time I was taking pictures -- a few school buses went by and big yellow things make colorful pictures. I didn't give it a lot of thought or look for much from the pictures.

Apparently someone who should be seeing a therapist called the cops and told them someone was taking pictures of kids on school buses. Police, equally paranoid, sprang into action; not much else going on mid-afternoon, I suppose.

It can be tough when you carry a camera!

Wow..that's amazing.

Seems stupid to me too...I mean, if you WERE wanting to kidnap some kids or something, WTF would you want to be photographing them so brazenly in public beforehand??  Just doesn't make sense....

Then again...of late, it seems the world has really changed in so many significant ways in the past couple decades in ways that are truly sad, and one of them is in how we think of and treat other people.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Zv on May 28, 2013, 09:25:54 PM
Lol do cops think all criminal activity starts with taking a photo?

Buildings - "yeah am gonna blow it up. Better take a picture first to remember this moment"

People - "gonna kidnapp this fella, right after I take a picture of him to send back to his folks. They'll appreciate the shallow dof look from my 70-200L""

Animals - "mmm that dog looks tasty but before I cook it I'll take a few photos for facebook and get 1000 likes cos it's so darn cute"

Plants - "this crop circles gonna look baddass"

But seriously how did taking a photo get connected to crime?
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on May 28, 2013, 09:51:21 PM
Lol do cops think all criminal activity starts with taking a photo?

Buildings - "yeah am gonna blow it up. Better take a picture first to remember this moment"

People - "gonna kidnapp this fella, right after I take a picture of him to send back to his folks. They'll appreciate the shallow dof look from my 70-200L""

Animals - "mmm that dog looks tasty but before I cook it I'll take a few photos for facebook and get 1000 likes cos it's so darn cute"

Plants - "this crop circles gonna look baddass"

But seriously how did taking a photo get connected to crime?

This really made me laugh, and it's a good question.

In defense of cops, they did find the guy who shot up the movie theater in Colorado last year had taken pictures of the locking mechanism of the back door he used to go out and back in.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: bluegreenturtle on May 28, 2013, 10:40:29 PM
Alot of people are mentioning problems they've had in far off exotic places. I find that the WORST problems I've had are right here in North America.

Recently was in a nice quiet neighbourhood trying out a new lens, taking a shot of a road and bridge (sun was out, bright blue sky, a few clouds). A van drove up to me and asked what I was doing. I told them I was taking a picture. They then proceeded to claim (very aggressively) that it's illegal to take a picture of them and that I'd be in trouble.

Little more detail here: this was a quiet residential area road. They were about half a mile away when I took the shot (never mind I was shooting with an 8mm lens...). Their aggressive attitude was astonishing. I told them I deleted the shot with them "in it" (the tiny spec that they were) and walked away. They drove off, only to return a few minutes latter, stopping in the middle of the road and taking a picture of me with their camera phone? I just smiled and kept walking.

People seem to have this impression that ANY picture taken of them (even if they are half a mile away behind tinted windows) without "permission" is illegal, and they get VERY aggressive about it if you look like anything beyond a kid with a camera phone.

Was in a best buy once trying out a camera (one of the Samsung WiFi cameras) and this guy walks up to me saying he's calling the cops cause I took a pic of him. It wasn't even my camera...

Wow...that's very interesting. I've yet to encounter something like this before.

Then again, I live in New Orleans, where cameras are pretty common out and about with all the tourists, maybe that and the laid back attitude down here keeps it friendly, but honestly, I've never heard of this type reaction or aggression before till this thread.

C

The ONLY problems I've ever had, shooting documentaries all over the world and the country were in Louisiana - did 3 projects there.  Buncha crazy paranoids, I tell ya!  Maybe NO is different than the rest of the state (our crew mostly had run ins with police around Baton Rouge and then further south closer to Houma.  I'm sure you're a nice guy but honestly I spent almost a year there shooting those pieces and I don't care if I ever go back - beautiful scenery and the ladies are pretty too, but I really really was left with a bad impression of the people. 
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 11:11:36 PM


The ONLY problems I've ever had, shooting documentaries all over the world and the country were in Louisiana - did 3 projects there.  Buncha crazy paranoids, I tell ya!  Maybe NO is different than the rest of the state (our crew mostly had run ins with police around Baton Rouge and then further south closer to Houma.  I'm sure you're a nice guy but honestly I spent almost a year there shooting those pieces and I don't care if I ever go back - beautiful scenery and the ladies are pretty too, but I really really was left with a bad impression of the people.
My goodness!!

I am so sorry to hear this, I really am. That just is not indicative of what is usually described about us....

Well, if you're every in the NOLA area, please drop me a line and I'll buy ya a couple of drinks....and who knows, bring your camera we *might* find something interesting to shoot in this town.

:)

C
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: J.R. on May 29, 2013, 12:06:42 AM
Wonder what will happen if you are noticed using Google Glass
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: tpatana on May 29, 2013, 12:20:18 AM
Wonder what will happen if you are noticed using Google Glass

Better not bring your birding binoculars anywhere close to schools, or you better bring your own lube too.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: HoneyBadger on May 29, 2013, 12:29:56 AM
Just hire a minor league baseball player to stand next to you with a bat at all times. Problem solved and it will the most money they have ever made.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: J.R. on May 29, 2013, 02:51:44 AM
Wonder what will happen if you are noticed using Google Glass

Better not bring your birding binoculars anywhere close to schools, or you better bring your own lube too.

 ;D I'm not based in the US where the paranoia seems to be sky high. I'm in India and one doesn't face too much trouble with people as long as you don't appear to be photographing them discreetly.

In fact, if you are using a DSLR at public places in India, instead of threats it is more likely that you will get requests from people to click their photograph and email it to them if possible. If you are carrying a tripod they'll think you are a professional and you'll get good natured inquiries as to which organization you are working for and whether their picture will make it in a newspaper / magazine.

The only ever trouble that I faced in India was with .... well .... a European group on a beach in Goa who were concerned that they would be photographed while I was taking pictures of my daughters (who were also in the water). Anyhow, the situation got resolved when I called out the girls and introduced them to this group and we met for a beer afterwards.

The remaining trouble has come with monkeys who plague the subcontinent and cause much more problems than humans. The tripod comes in handy for scaring them off. 
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Old Sarge on May 29, 2013, 08:05:45 AM
What amazes me about all this paranoia over privacy (and I am a very private person) is that these same people all take pictures with cell phones and post the results on Facebook for the world to see (whose life has room for 400+ friends, I can barely maintain half a dozen friendships).  Bad pictures in a very public venue.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: 96Brigadier on May 29, 2013, 09:16:51 AM
What amazes me about all this paranoia over privacy (and I am a very private person) is that these same people all take pictures with cell phones and post the results on Facebook for the world to see (whose life has room for 400+ friends, I can barely maintain half a dozen friendships).  Bad pictures in a very public venue.

I couldn't agree more.  People put all this information out there and then get uppity when someone takes a picture in a public placethat may or may not have them in it.  Amazing.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: cayenne on May 29, 2013, 11:01:46 AM
What amazes me about all this paranoia over privacy (and I am a very private person) is that these same people all take pictures with cell phones and post the results on Facebook for the world to see (whose life has room for 400+ friends, I can barely maintain half a dozen friendships).  Bad pictures in a very public venue.

Yep, that's why I amd NOT on Facebook.  That's where anyone concerned with privacy should be concerned about.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Kristofgss on May 30, 2013, 09:25:45 AM
But seriously how did taking a photo get connected to crime?
Watch any crime show and the killer usually has a stockpile of photo's on a blackboard complete with a diagram of how to do the kidnapping/murder/whatever. It makes it visually easy to show the viewer what the main antagonist was up to, so it now gets associated with being up to no good.

Having said that, I once had my car break down on a busy freeway and since I had to wait for the repair service to come pick it up, I found a safe spot between the two directions of freeways which was not accessible to pedestrians and sat down there with a book to read to pass time.It Didn't take long for the police to show up to question me what I was doing there either, so I guess the police just looks for unusual behaviour.

Taking pictures of schools, armed transports, military installations or kids does seem to fall under those categories. On the other hand, those stereoptypes can also be used to your advantage, try pinning on a badge (like those from the Umbrella Corporation for example) and carrying a clipboard and pen as if you're marking something and people will really try to pretend not to notice you in order not to get asked any questions. The one downside is that if you do it in stores, you get people asking you where they can find a specific product : )
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: AcutancePhotography on May 30, 2013, 12:09:52 PM
I once had my car break down on a busy freeway and since I had to wait for the repair service to come pick it up, ......It Didn't take long for the police to show up to question me what I was doing there either, so I guess the police just looks for unusual behaviour.

I think the police stopping by when your car breaks down is a good thing.  :)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on May 30, 2013, 12:42:41 PM
I once had my car break down on a busy freeway and since I had to wait for the repair service to come pick it up, ......It Didn't take long for the police to show up to question me what I was doing there either, so I guess the police just looks for unusual behaviour.

I think the police stopping by when your car breaks down is a good thing.  :)

Having worked for a Highway Patrol department in one state I'll tell you it's more than a "good thing."

Interstate highways (freeways in general) exist to move vehicles. Anytime a vehicle or pedestrian or dog, ladder, mattress, etc. is stopped anywhere on the highway, it is unsafe. At the very least, it's a distraction to drivers. At worst, it's an obstacle. With the prevalence of cell phones the last 20 years, every such instance floods a dispatch center with calls so everything is known. Officers are dispatched. Depending on where/what it is, they don't give it a high priority, but they'll eventually investigate. It's also gender specific. If a woman is reported to be sitting in a car on the side of a road, that's a higher priority than a man -- from days of yore when chivalry ruled, I suppose. Nevertheless, it's a reality.

These days I'm guessing if you stop on the shoulder AND get out and start taking pictures, officers will get there faster!
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: tpatana on May 31, 2013, 07:22:39 PM
I once had my car break down on a busy freeway and since I had to wait for the repair service to come pick it up, ......It Didn't take long for the police to show up to question me what I was doing there either, so I guess the police just looks for unusual behaviour.

I think the police stopping by when your car breaks down is a good thing.  :)

Having worked for a Highway Patrol department in one state I'll tell you it's more than a "good thing."

Interstate highways (freeways in general) exist to move vehicles. Anytime a vehicle or pedestrian or dog, ladder, mattress, etc. is stopped anywhere on the highway, it is unsafe. At the very least, it's a distraction to drivers. At worst, it's an obstacle. With the prevalence of cell phones the last 20 years, every such instance floods a dispatch center with calls so everything is known. Officers are dispatched. Depending on where/what it is, they don't give it a high priority, but they'll eventually investigate. It's also gender specific. If a woman is reported to be sitting in a car on the side of a road, that's a higher priority than a man -- from days of yore when chivalry ruled, I suppose. Nevertheless, it's a reality.

These days I'm guessing if you stop on the shoulder AND get out and start taking pictures, officers will get there faster!

Last summer the first day I took my bike out, I didn't notice I was already on reserve. So drive few miles, the engine stalls as I ran out of gas. I rolled to stop and parked the bike, called AAA to bring me enough gas to get to a gas station. The neighborhood was fancier than average, not B. Gates style but still better than many around here.

It was nice day, so I laid down on the lawn next to the road while waiting for AAA. I was highly tempted to have a beer as I was carrying couple in the saddle bags, but eventually didn't. Give 15 minutes, a police car pulls over. I get up and go say hi to the officer, and explained the situation, and he drives off.

I was thinking to myself that maybe someone had reported a biker stopping at their nice neighborhood. That was quite remote spot for police just randomly go around. Don't know.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Chuck Alaimo on June 01, 2013, 12:37:18 PM
I once had my car break down on a busy freeway and since I had to wait for the repair service to come pick it up, ......It Didn't take long for the police to show up to question me what I was doing there either, so I guess the police just looks for unusual behaviour.

I think the police stopping by when your car breaks down is a good thing.  :)

Having worked for a Highway Patrol department in one state I'll tell you it's more than a "good thing."

Interstate highways (freeways in general) exist to move vehicles. Anytime a vehicle or pedestrian or dog, ladder, mattress, etc. is stopped anywhere on the highway, it is unsafe. At the very least, it's a distraction to drivers. At worst, it's an obstacle. With the prevalence of cell phones the last 20 years, every such instance floods a dispatch center with calls so everything is known. Officers are dispatched. Depending on where/what it is, they don't give it a high priority, but they'll eventually investigate. It's also gender specific. If a woman is reported to be sitting in a car on the side of a road, that's a higher priority than a man -- from days of yore when chivalry ruled, I suppose. Nevertheless, it's a reality.

These days I'm guessing if you stop on the shoulder AND get out and start taking pictures, officers will get there faster!

Last summer the first day I took my bike out, I didn't notice I was already on reserve. So drive few miles, the engine stalls as I ran out of gas. I rolled to stop and parked the bike, called AAA to bring me enough gas to get to a gas station. The neighborhood was fancier than average, not B. Gates style but still better than many around here.

It was nice day, so I laid down on the lawn next to the road while waiting for AAA. I was highly tempted to have a beer as I was carrying couple in the saddle bags, but eventually didn't. Give 15 minutes, a police car pulls over. I get up and go say hi to the officer, and explained the situation, and he drives off.

I was thinking to myself that maybe someone had reported a biker stopping at their nice neighborhood. That was quite remote spot for police just randomly go around. Don't know.

Not really sure how this went from street photography to rights and wrongs of the police...but ---

my 2 cents...

To protect and serve...more times than not the police take the protect roll to the extreme and forget about the serve roll.  I have had a mix of experiences with police, but for the most part i have been thankful for their presence.  From running out of gas and having them pick me up and give me a ride to call AAA (yeah, that was before the age of cell phones).  I just think we're conditioned to see those flashing lights and assume cuffs are next, where that's not always the case.  To protect and serve...yeah, that sometimes means hop in and I'll get you to the gas station. 
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: cayenne on June 01, 2013, 03:20:23 PM

Not really sure how this went from street photography to rights and wrongs of the police...but ---

my 2 cents...

To protect and serve...more times than not the police take the protect roll to the extreme and forget about the serve roll.  I have had a mix of experiences with police, but for the most part i have been thankful for their presence.  From running out of gas and having them pick me up and give me a ride to call AAA (yeah, that was before the age of cell phones).  I just think we're conditioned to see those flashing lights and assume cuffs are next, where that's not always the case.  To protect and serve...yeah, that sometimes means hop in and I'll get you to the gas station.

Hmm..these days, I thought the motto had changed to "To collect and serve..."
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Ellen Schmidtee on June 03, 2013, 02:34:50 AM
Lol do cops think all criminal activity starts with taking a photo?

Buildings - "yeah am gonna blow it up. Better take a picture first to remember this moment"

<snip>

But seriously how did taking a photo get connected to crime?

Paparazzi is one example, e.g. paparazzi chasing lady Diana to her death.

Another is scenes shown at, as example, the last episodes of Criminal Minds, where the bad guy is shown following the good guys, taking their photos, developing the photos (apparently he hasn't gone digital), etc. It's a common trick to show the bad guy was following someone here and there and everywhere without actually showing the bad guy.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Kristofgss on June 03, 2013, 03:31:06 AM

Not really sure how this went from street photography to rights and wrongs of the police...but ---


My bad  ;D

To get it on track again, I did play around with a 100D this weekend and they are so cute with the 40mm pancake; A lot better suited to street photography than the 5 or 7 series with grip. It looks like a point-and-shoot, so I'm guessing you could get away with taking pictures at a lot more places with that one (and am very tempted to get it as well, but I do miss the fact that you can't enter the color temperature in Kelvin by hand as I do mostly jpg
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Ricku on June 23, 2013, 01:29:13 PM
I think this video is highly relevant to this thread: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=226_1371944841 (http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=226_1371944841)

He makes street shooting look so easy! ;D
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: tpatana on June 23, 2013, 03:11:54 PM
People like that are the reason many people don't like photographers on public.

There's nice/proper public photography, and there's annoying/not-proper photography. That video was clearly the latter.

I'd be ashamed to act like that.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Don Haines on June 23, 2013, 04:36:35 PM


The ONLY problems I've ever had, shooting documentaries all over the world and the country were in Louisiana - did 3 projects there.  Buncha crazy paranoids, I tell ya!  Maybe NO is different than the rest of the state (our crew mostly had run ins with police around Baton Rouge and then further south closer to Houma.  I'm sure you're a nice guy but honestly I spent almost a year there shooting those pieces and I don't care if I ever go back - beautiful scenery and the ladies are pretty too, but I really really was left with a bad impression of the people.
My goodness!!

I am so sorry to hear this, I really am. That just is not indicative of what is usually described about us....

Well, if you're every in the NOLA area, please drop me a line and I'll buy ya a couple of drinks....and who knows, bring your camera we *might* find something interesting to shoot in this town.

:)

C

Or come to Ottawa, Canada.... I've been on Parliament Hill, the seat of our nations government, with tripod and camera set up, merrily snapping away, and have had at least a dozen people come up to me, hand me a camera, and ask if I'd take their picture... Once, a pair of mounties (RCMP, Canada's national police force and providers of security on Parliament Hill), walked over to me and we started chatting about canoes... with a constant interruption from tourists who wanted their picture taken WITH the mounties.... Welcome to Canada, Eh?
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on June 23, 2013, 06:49:09 PM
Quote from: Ricku
I think this video is highly relevant to this thread:
He makes street shooting look so easy! ;D

I can't imagine the purpose of that video, but it's neither believable nor credible to me. Each scene looks contrived and acted.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: distant.star on June 23, 2013, 06:57:46 PM
Or come to Ottawa, Canada.... I've been on Parliament Hill, the seat of our nations government, with tripod and camera set up, merrily snapping away, and have had at least a dozen people come up to me, hand me a camera, and ask if I'd take their picture... Once, a pair of mounties (RCMP, Canada's national police force and providers of security on Parliament Hill), walked over to me and we started chatting about canoes... with a constant interruption from tourists who wanted their picture taken WITH the mounties.... Welcome to Canada, Eh?

Ottawa is amazing. I left a business meeting one day and went out for a walk around downtown at lunchtime. Standing on a corner waiting to cross the street I asked the man standing next to me what one of the government buildings was. He instantly took me on an extended tour of the government buildings and monuments -- with a generous side of Canadian history. He was some kind of government functionary and devoted his entire lunch period to my education.

Kindness like that is never wasted and is rarely forgotten!
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Kristofgss on June 25, 2013, 10:12:06 AM
Well, I tried the 100D and pancake in some public places and even at ikea to take some shots of interior ideas and nobody commented on it. People seem to consider it as not much different from taking photos with a cellphone.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Hobby Shooter on June 25, 2013, 12:59:21 PM


The ONLY problems I've ever had, shooting documentaries all over the world and the country were in Louisiana - did 3 projects there.  Buncha crazy paranoids, I tell ya!  Maybe NO is different than the rest of the state (our crew mostly had run ins with police around Baton Rouge and then further south closer to Houma.  I'm sure you're a nice guy but honestly I spent almost a year there shooting those pieces and I don't care if I ever go back - beautiful scenery and the ladies are pretty too, but I really really was left with a bad impression of the people.
My goodness!!

I am so sorry to hear this, I really am. That just is not indicative of what is usually described about us....

Well, if you're every in the NOLA area, please drop me a line and I'll buy ya a couple of drinks....and who knows, bring your camera we *might* find something interesting to shoot in this town.

:)

C

Or come to Ottawa, Canada.... I've been on Parliament Hill, the seat of our nations government, with tripod and camera set up, merrily snapping away, and have had at least a dozen people come up to me, hand me a camera, and ask if I'd take their picture... Once, a pair of mounties (RCMP, Canada's national police force and providers of security on Parliament Hill), walked over to me and we started chatting about canoes... with a constant interruption from tourists who wanted their picture taken WITH the mounties.... Welcome to Canada, Eh?
Don, I've spent several years in the expat community in South East Asia. Some of the nicest and most gracious people are you Canadians. I have yet to go, but really look forward to do that when some of those guys are back in Toronto. Although they did make me increase my beer consumtion  ;)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: serendipidy on June 25, 2013, 05:58:13 PM


The ONLY problems I've ever had, shooting documentaries all over the world and the country were in Louisiana - did 3 projects there.  Buncha crazy paranoids, I tell ya!  Maybe NO is different than the rest of the state (our crew mostly had run ins with police around Baton Rouge and then further south closer to Houma.  I'm sure you're a nice guy but honestly I spent almost a year there shooting those pieces and I don't care if I ever go back - beautiful scenery and the ladies are pretty too, but I really really was left with a bad impression of the people.
My goodness!!

I am so sorry to hear this, I really am. That just is not indicative of what is usually described about us....

Well, if you're every in the NOLA area, please drop me a line and I'll buy ya a couple of drinks....and who knows, bring your camera we *might* find something interesting to shoot in this town.

:)

C

Or come to Ottawa, Canada.... I've been on Parliament Hill, the seat of our nations government, with tripod and camera set up, merrily snapping away, and have had at least a dozen people come up to me, hand me a camera, and ask if I'd take their picture... Once, a pair of mounties (RCMP, Canada's national police force and providers of security on Parliament Hill), walked over to me and we started chatting about canoes... with a constant interruption from tourists who wanted their picture taken WITH the mounties.... Welcome to Canada, Eh?
Don, I've spent several years in the expat community in South East Asia. Some of the nicest and most gracious people are you Canadians. I have yet to go, but really look forward to do that when some of those guys are back in Toronto. Although they did make me increase my beer consumtion  ;)

A cute story from two decades ago.
I was taking a 4 day long (English language) ski class in the Alps trying to improve my intermediate ski skills. Made up mostly of Brits, Canadians, Americans and Australians. On the last day, we were all having lunch on the slopes at a quaint restaurant eating outside on picnic tables. An obviously American couple walked past being loud and a little ostentatious. The middle-aged British lady sitting next to me turned to me and said "Those Americans can sometimes be so loud and annoying...not like you nice Canadians." I smiled and said politely "Yes ma'am, I know what you mean." She never did learn that I was an American. :)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Hobby Shooter on June 25, 2013, 10:47:28 PM


The ONLY problems I've ever had, shooting documentaries all over the world and the country were in Louisiana - did 3 projects there.  Buncha crazy paranoids, I tell ya!  Maybe NO is different than the rest of the state (our crew mostly had run ins with police around Baton Rouge and then further south closer to Houma.  I'm sure you're a nice guy but honestly I spent almost a year there shooting those pieces and I don't care if I ever go back - beautiful scenery and the ladies are pretty too, but I really really was left with a bad impression of the people.
My goodness!!

I am so sorry to hear this, I really am. That just is not indicative of what is usually described about us....

Well, if you're every in the NOLA area, please drop me a line and I'll buy ya a couple of drinks....and who knows, bring your camera we *might* find something interesting to shoot in this town.

:)

C

Or come to Ottawa, Canada.... I've been on Parliament Hill, the seat of our nations government, with tripod and camera set up, merrily snapping away, and have had at least a dozen people come up to me, hand me a camera, and ask if I'd take their picture... Once, a pair of mounties (RCMP, Canada's national police force and providers of security on Parliament Hill), walked over to me and we started chatting about canoes... with a constant interruption from tourists who wanted their picture taken WITH the mounties.... Welcome to Canada, Eh?
Don, I've spent several years in the expat community in South East Asia. Some of the nicest and most gracious people are you Canadians. I have yet to go, but really look forward to do that when some of those guys are back in Toronto. Although they did make me increase my beer consumtion  ;)

A cute story from two decades ago.
I was taking a 4 day long (English language) ski class in the Alps trying to improve my intermediate ski skills. Made up mostly of Brits, Canadians, Americans and Australians. On the last day, we were all having lunch on the slopes at a quaint restaurant eating outside on picnic tables. An obviously American couple walked past being loud and a little ostentatious. The middle-aged British lady sitting next to me turned to me and said "Those Americans can sometimes be so loud and annoying...not like you nice Canadians." I smiled and said politely "Yes ma'am, I know what you mean." She never did learn that I was an American. :)
There are nice Americans too  :D . Especially abroad, those are the ones that not only learn about the states in geography but also about other continents and countries... It's all about perspective.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Hobby Shooter on June 25, 2013, 10:57:13 PM
This came out wrong. I would say almost all Americans I've met on my travels are very nice people. Nothing else.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: serendipidy on June 25, 2013, 11:18:42 PM
This came out wrong. I would say almost all Americans I've met on my travels are very nice people. Nothing else.

I didn't take it wrong :) I think there are nice people (and not so nice people) in every culture, country,ethnic background, etc. There are a lot of not so nice Americans too (just look at the crime statistics). I've been to Canada...imo, a great country with a great people. 8)
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: tpatana on June 25, 2013, 11:47:46 PM
This came out wrong. I would say almost all Americans I've met on my travels are very nice people. Nothing else.

I didn't take it wrong :) I think there are nice people (and not so nice people) in every culture, country,ethnic background, etc. There are a lot of not so nice Americans too (just look at the crime statistics). I've been to Canada...imo, a great country with a great people. 8)

Agreed, and even inside USA there's lot of different areas. I live in Seattle and this region seems really nice. Some travels to certain areas I've met more inconsiderate people than compared to this area. But it's often about the other person's attitude also. If you start the sentence with "You stupid Americans ....", you might get the response you were expecting, and you keep on thinking that way. If you treat people nice, they often act nice back to you.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: Bolt on June 26, 2013, 01:28:14 AM
This is an interesting thread and I am glad you started it.

In Australia [Where I am from] I am lucky. It is not illegal to take and/or use a persons photograph in a public place regardless of what they ask of you. In relation to lawsuits we are lucky and secure in that regard.

When referring to confrontation from individuals it is always a fun experience. I do a lot of documentary style filming with street sports such as Freerunning. This 'requires' me to enter into places and premises that are not open to the public [Trespassing, my favourite sport]. This has lead to a lot of close calls with everyone from psychotic drugged out women attacking us to security guards and the average Joe who for whatever reason does not enjoy a camera.

Most people are good people, often it is relative to circumstance and environment. If you take a picture of a national icon or landscape from a lookout, people are usually just tourists or travellers and are more than happy with your graphing of photons. Others, not so much. These people are usually by themselves or paranoid [E.G. A mother at a park thinking you are a pedophile. My advice is not to carry around a 800mm f/5.6 near a playground].

The honest and best way to deal with them [other than avoiding them] is to simply apologise, attempt to explain yourself and agree with them. I find this very hard to do [I am far to pretentious] but nonetheless it is the way to go.
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: serendipidy on June 26, 2013, 02:25:24 AM
This is an interesting thread and I am glad you started it.

In Australia [Where I am from] I am lucky....psychotic drugged out women attacking us...

You Australians have all the fun ;D
Title: Re: How to not get beat up when photographing public places?
Post by: petach on September 14, 2013, 11:37:04 AM
Not sure about guys/gals demeanour when they keep on being harassed.  Are their fly's open or something? or knuckle dragging?  Since I started street shooting in 2011....I have been stopped once. A guy came up to me and said "You just take a shot of me"?  I said "Why would I when then is much more interesting material around"?   It deflated him.  But seriously....I cannot understand how people get harassed constantly.  I think maybe look inwards to see what it may be about.... rather than outwards?  I don't mean to be unkind.....but get my drift?

Look at Bruce Gilden and his very aggressive approach.....how many times has he been battered? once...twice maybe.