Does your camera make you feel awkward?

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,592
691
Southeastern USA
Now that dSLR and even point-and-shoot shutterbugs are members of a dwindling class, have you lately felt awkward or embarrassed using your camera? The world loves a good smartphone camera these days, but how do you feel when you whip out your massive chunk of tech+glass and start snapping away while others are waving around their selfie-sticks?

I always thought it a little unfair to get scolded by a mall security-guard for taking photos of my family with an eos 80D while a half-dozen passersby with smartphones are clearly taking photos of kiosks, merchandise through shop-windows, other shoppers, and whatever else the "NO USE OF CAMERAS IN MALL" sign is supposed to be protecting.

Have you ever simply not used your camera because you felt out-of-place?

How about a nice early morning walk down the beach with a 100-400mm lens, sincerely looking for (feathered!) bird photos, some landscapes, maybe a pier...Plenty of people, again, taking selfies, but then here comes this guy/gal with camera...

Strolling in tourist areas with a 24-70, maybe including some street photography?

Family reunion--you are the only one with a camera larger than a postcard?

And what about using a tripod?
 
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Valvebounce

EOS 5D SR
Apr 3, 2013
4,252
189
52
Isle of Wight
Hi YeungLinger.
I will take my camera every where I think there might be a photo opportunity that I am interested in, I don’t feel awkward, however I do feel concerned that I might upset other people around me with the use of a flash that will work rather than the mostly pointless phone / pop up flashes. Fortunately I’m not into family in mall shots or people in general so my photography is more often than not at events where large camera / lens combos do justice to the shot, air shows and motor racing for example.
As for the tripod, only if I can get to a location where I do not feel vulnerable to the clumsiness of others falling over a leg and then going mental at me for my tripod jumping out and tripping them up!
Did you not point out to the mall cop all the other photography going on around you, that bloke planning the heist of the jewellers or that one making their shoplifting list? Probably not worth risking getting thrown out for arguing with a jobs worth?

Cheers, Graham.
 
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LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,578
152
what about using a tripod?
In some cities you may need an explicit permission to use a tripod (especially in some areas).... and sometime even pay for the privilege of using it. Of course walking with a selfie stick raises no issues. While I would never use a tripod in a crowded places without permission to create a "safe zone" (I would not like to harm people, nor people harm my equipment), I had to play "whack-a-mole" with a security guard last December to take images of Isozaki and Hadid towers in Milan, while the place was almost empty. I was shooting with my TS lens and at night, difficult, without a tripod. I could understand asking permission for a commercial set requiring exclusive use of some space for a longer time than a couple of shots.
Inside private spaces, even if open to the public, I think asking for a permission is a good practice.
 
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YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,592
691
Southeastern USA
Hi YeungLinger.
I will take my camera every where I think there might be a photo opportunity that I am interested in, I don’t feel awkward, however I do feel concerned that I might upset other people around me with the use of a flash that will work rather than the mostly pointless phone / pop up flashes. Fortunately I’m not into family in mall shots or people in general so my photography is more often than not at events where large camera / lens combos do justice to the shot, air shows and motor racing for example.
As for the tripod, only if I can get to a location where I do not feel vulnerable to the clumsiness of others falling over a leg and then going mental at me for my tripod jumping out and tripping them up!
Did you not point out to the mall cop all the other photography going on around you, that bloke planning the heist of the jewellers or that one making their shoplifting list? Probably not worth risking getting thrown out for arguing with a jobs worth?

Cheers, Graham.
A few years back I asked about the photography concerns, and a mall manager once told me merchants didn't like having their displays photographed and then imitated elsewhere. I guess they threw up their hands and surrendered once smartphones became omnipresent, but the mall rules haven't changed.
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,640
456
Germany
Short answer: No!

Long answer:
In the past, some 20 to 50 years ago, when the age of SLR rise began, everyone shooting photos or even doing video was someone today you'd be calling a nerd.
So using gear and getting reaction of your surroundings has not changed a lot.
The only difference was that time when the first digital P&S cams entered the market.
Now everyone was able to carry something small around and easily taking pictures of whatever, not caring about film developing, post processing, let alone IQ. The P&S are now replaced by cell phones. So what!

I know what quality I can achieve over cell phones and when I care about quality photos I always take my gear with me, no matter what others say.
Of course, if it is prohibited by law or householder's rights I respect that.
 
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stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,252
285
Davidson, NC
I think the people who look really awkward are those using a 10" or 12" iPad to take pictures. I realize the cameras are often as good as those in the best phones.

I am reminded of the day around 1971 when I had just got my 28mm lens. My summer school class had been called off for the day, so I took the bus downtown (in Dallas) to practice using my new lens (which was my first experience using anything wider than 45mm).

It was a fun day of street photography. People assumed that because I had expensive-looking equipment, I was some kind of pro. A young black guy confronted me (in a friendly manner, I hasten to add), and said "Take my picture." I was glad to. He posed, and the buildings in the background were interesting. He asked when he would see his picture in the paper. I made an 11" x 14" print of it that I still have somewhere.

A rather attractive young woman never spoke to me or even was very close, but she kept posing around a fountain. I didn't get any good pictures of her with the wide lens, and it wasn't the start to her modeling career.

Unless somebody I didn't see ducked into a building or something, no one appeared to be unhappy that I was obviously out taking pictures. These days I have more trouble taking pictures in public places because I have to wait for people to finish taking pictures of themselves.

I got some interesting shots of the tall buildings with the converging verticals being a main element of the composition, and I got some feel for the wider perspective the lens gave me. It was film, so I didn't shoot as many pictures as I would now, which was probably a mixed blessing. I was shooting black and white, which I processed myself, so no huge expense to take a few rolls, though. If I run across the negatives from that day, I'll probably scan some in and do a web page of pictures. I think downtown Dallas was more attractive back then.

I eventually bought a used 19mm lens. It was a little banged up so that I couldn't have put filters on the front, but I couldn't have afforded them anyway. I took test shots, and I never found anything wrong with the optics or mechanics, so I didn't return it. I thought it was great. Nowadays, my little cameras will do 24mm equivalent, and I have a 16-35mm EF zoom and a 10-22mm EF-S, but 19mm was amazing to me back then.
 
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mikekeck

EOS M50
Mar 14, 2018
46
202
Texas
I never feel embarrassed or awkward when lugging around equipment and photographing--it never crosses my mind. There are so many people doing wacky things in public, I think photography does not even register on the wacky scale. Just enjoy your hobby (or business)!
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,216
782
I really used to feel awkward and sometimes miss photo opportunities because I felt that way. Luckily not anymore, it has more to do with me than other people. I find listening to music at the same time helps. Other people look like they’re misplaced when I’m out with the kids and I bring my Broncolor light:p
 

ethanz

1DX II
Apr 12, 2016
1,059
304
ethanzentz.com
I really used to feel awkward and sometimes miss photo opportunities because I felt that way. Luckily not anymore, it has more to do with me than other people. I find listening to music at the same time helps. Other people look like they’re misplaced when I’m out with the kids and I bring my Broncolor light:p
I think it does come down to the person and their own personality. I often feel awkward doing these things, even though I know its not a big deal.
You bringing your Broncolor, now that is strange. lol
 
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stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,252
285
Davidson, NC
My only embarrassments have come when the red focusing assist light has come on when I wasn't expecting it. Now I usually remember to disable it on my G7X II even when it doesn't seem dark enough to be a problem.

A couple years ago Evensong was beginning at York, and I figured I had time for a few shots while we were waiting for the procession to clear the side aisle and they would seat us. Apparently there was this big red flash, and I got this reaction:

IMG_2400.jpg
 

snappy604

EOS RP
Jan 25, 2017
257
120
For me it depends.. most of the time no issues, though sometimes get approached and chatted because of the gear.

However in some contexts, especially in beaches or similar situations, people give you nasty looks and consider you a perv while concurrently not batting an eyelash that 50 other people are taking pics via their phones of exactly the same thing
 

beforeEos Camaras

love to take photos.
Sep 8, 2014
279
73
no issues at all. I did find it designable in a mall where I was at a camera store and stepped out the door to check a angle of view of a lens I wanted to buy and was pounced on by a mall cop telling me no photograph in the mall. I was thinking to my self why have a camera store a place you cannot at least try a longer or shorter lens with out being able to do so out side the confines of the store.
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,525
754
I have no issues with my camera, but I never photograph people without their permission unless its a crowd where individuals can't be recognized.
 
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Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,216
782
I’m so glad I don’t live where there are mall cops, the whole concept is crazy to me. I remember a time I went to London as a tourist and took a picture of my wife trying out some sunglasses and this big dude came rushing towards me and aggressively told me off I couldn’t do that. I didn’t get the issue and just told him aggressively back that it is in fact my wife and he turned red and looked like he was about to jump me, wtf:LOL:

Here, I can shoot wherever and whenever, I pray it stays that way...
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,578
152
People assumed that because I had expensive-looking equipment, I was some kind of pro
It could still happen. A few months ago I was shooting in what became a fashionable part of Milan, and I was using two cameras because I was shooting both film and digital at the same time, and I had large aperture lenses on both cameras, which made them even more noticeable. It was IIRC just before or after one of the "fashion weeks", and one group of young people approached me thinking I was a "paparazzo" and asked me what "celebrities" I was after... I was happy to disappoint them.

Anyway as long as my "presence" and behaviour is not annoying (for good reasons), I don't care about what people around may think about a large camera and other equipment. Yet I'm usually careful about not "invading" other people spaces. However, I learnt to avoid putting a camera between me and each and every event of my life. I think that trying to "document" everything keeps you away from the very moment, you trade living it as it happens to try living it later out of an image of it. Thereby I don't carry a camera at family or friends events unless explicitly asked for, and while traveling as a simple tourist - and not out for the explicit aim of taking specific photos - I now carry a smaller and simpler camera, not because of the awkwardness of a bigger one, but exactly to limit the wish to put a camera between me and the world around, and spend too much time thinking about how to get a "great" photo instead of enjoying the subject(s) and the people I'm traveling with.

But it was funny what happened a couple of weeks ago when a friend of my, who is a photo teacher, brought a group of his students attending a "creative photography" course in a local city park for a practical lesson. They had studied the works of Claude Cahun, Man Ray/Marchel Duchamp (as Rrose Sèlavy), Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall, Gregory Crewdson and others. You could imagine what kind of photographs they were out to create. One of the students started to burn books among a circle of dolls, and someone called the police...
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,252
285
Davidson, NC
I, too, carry a smaller and simpler camera when I travel. One reason is just the practical matter of not lugging a lot of stuff around. I have a G7X II, and I rarely want to do anything as I travel that it can't handle. It covers about the same equivalent focal range as the 24-105mm which stays on my 6D2 most of the time, so I feel relatively at home with either.

The other reason is psychological, or something like that. When I was younger, I used to be more serious about photography. I still enjoy it, and I still strive to do good work. But back then, if I took a camera along, the whole point of the trip became that of shooting pictures. So I went for maybe 10 years leaving my camera at home so that I would do things and see things that I was there to see and do, rather than everything being just picture taking. In 2000, I took at compact film camera with me to Eastern Europe and found I had got over the worst of that. OK, there was a day in Prague that was all about pictures, and I kept buying slide film near the Charles Bridge. But, hey, it was Prague. A guy has to give himself a little slack when in a city where everything jumps out at you and cries to have its picture taken.

Then in 2001 I took color negative shots in Glacier National Park. I should scan those in some day, probably after I get around to finishing scanning the best slides from Eastern Europe.

In 2002 I bought my first digital camera, a 4MP Casio with a Canon lens and an IBM hard drive for the memory card slot. It took surprisingly good photos. I still have one, printed on 13" x 19" paper, hanging in the hallway of my house. I know the math says that shouldn't work, but the print looks great.

Then I got a Rebel and upgraded from it to a T3i, and got nice lenses and have now moved on to a 6D2 and some spectacular lenses. But they don't travel with me very often. I replaced the Casio with an S90 and then an S120 and now the G7X II. Maybe a G7X III will accompany me to Denmark and Sweden this summer. It shouldn't get in my way, either physically or mentally.

Edited because the 6D2 kit lens is 24-105mm, not 100 as I typed. The G7X II zooms in to a 100mm equivalent, so about the same difference, but not exactly. I also caught another typo. You most likely knew what I meant anyway.
 
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