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The King of Common Sense
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
How do you feel being a photographer in public? I don't mean taking a few snap shots of buildings and landscape...

One reason why I have not taken any creative photographs is because the public and those who work security are suspicious of what I am attempting to do, taking pictures in public.

The other day I was driving around a local park taking pictures of all the rules and regulations signs. I wanted to establish a sarcastic story that you are basically not welcomed by all the warning signs. Towards the end of my task, a "park ranger" drove by and asked me what I was doing. I was a little surprised and annoyed by the question. Rather than to challenge his authority I told him I was a photographer. He accepted the answer and went on his way. I was doing nothing wrong. I was just taking pictures in the park. It is not against the law. The experience reminded me immediately a story that was told a few years back where a black man was walking along the sidewalk at night in Beverly Hills, CA. He was stopped and challenged by the police who suspected he was doing something that was no good.

What would you have done if you were in the same situation? I'm still fuming. :mad:
 

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Sign of the times.

Roll with it. Answer the questions and move on.
 

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Brevity= the soul of wit
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He accepted the answer and went on his way. I was doing nothing wrong. I was just taking pictures in the park. It is not against the law.
He didn't accuse you of anything and you still got mad? :confused: All he did is ask you a question. When you answered, he left. What would you have him do? Ask what kind of lens you're using? Aperture and shutter? Apologize for asking? :dunno:

The way I see it, you brought more of your own issues into that interaction and your reaction to it than the other guy did.
 

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This actually is pretty common.

First my answer, then the back story . . .

If you are going to be shooting in a public situation that may make others feel suspicious, get yourself a custom black T-Shirt with big yellow or white letters that say "PHOTOGRAPHER", much like the "SECURITY" design you see at concerts or other events. I have done this and have never been bothered.

Now for the back story: last year I attended an out of state photography workshop and one of our field trips was to the State Fair. Upon arrival, we split up and had 3 hours to shoot.

At a Fair, it's going to happen often that one intentionally or unintentionally shoots young children on rides, at concession stands, etc., and also undercover cops. As a parent of a 9 year old at the time, I immediately knew I had to be discreet and often pretended like I was shooting my own kids.

One of the students, however, a guy in his mid-50's from NY was not so discreet and about half way through spooked a protective parent who later alerted police (as it later turned out, he never even took a photo of the parent's kid, and actually had very few children photos). Before you knew it, uniformed and undercover cops were coming out of the woodwork and detained the poor student, looking through his images to see children and any undercover cops. State Fair management showed up, and this whole thing went on for about 45 minutes.

The instructors had to intervene, the rest of us were put on "hold" from shooting any further until things go sorted out. Finally, the cops realized we were legitimate and Park Management was actually very friendly and said that next year if the School told them in advance they would provide for free special "Photographer" badges or T-Shirts to prevent another incident.

The situation had a happy ending, but could have been easily prevented with the right telegraphing of our intentions to the public.
 

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The King of Common Sense
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
This actually is pretty common.

First my answer, then the back story . . .

If you are going to be shooting in a public situation that may make others feel suspicious, get yourself a custom black T-Shirt with big yellow or white letters that say "PHOTOGRAPHER", much like the "SECURITY" design you see at concerts or other events. I have done this and have never been bothered.

Now for the back story: last year I attended an out of state photography workshop and one of our field trips was to the State Fair. Upon arrival, we split up and had 3 hours to shoot.

At a Fair, it's going to happen often that one intentionally or unintentionally shoots young children on rides, at concession stands, etc., and also undercover cops. As a parent of a 9 year old at the time, I immediately knew I had to be discreet and often pretended like I was shooting my own kids.

One of the students, however, a guy in his mid-50's from NY was not so discreet and about half way through spooked a protective parent who later alerted police (as it later turned out, he never even took a photo of the parent's kid, and actually had very few children photos). Before you knew it, uniformed and undercover cops were coming out of the woodwork and detained the poor student, looking through his images to see children and any undercover cops. State Fair management showed up, and this whole thing went on for about 45 minutes.

The instructors had to intervene, the rest of us were put on "hold" from shooting any further until things go sorted out. Finally, the cops realized we were legitimate and Park Management was actually very friendly and said that next year if the School told them in advance they would provide for free special "Photographer" badges or T-Shirts to prevent another incident.

The situation had a happy ending, but could have been easily prevented with the right telegraphing of our intentions to the public.
I agree with the "photographer" ID. It's strange that just by identifying yourself as a photographer, it is kinda "acceptable" and less suspicious even though you are shooting the same subjects. I also always carry my media pass when I shoot sports along the sideline, even at times I did not request a pass for the venue.

Subjects such as taking pictures of kids or when a couple is in an intimate situation, would you request for permission either before or after if the subject is dynamic? Too much trouble of your time? What is the proper etiquette, if any?
 

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Subjects such as taking pictures of kids or when a couple is in an intimate situation, would you request for permission either before or after if the subject is dynamic? Too much trouble of your time? What is the proper etiquette, if any?
Anything intimate or obviously focused on a particular person as the subject, and I really believe you have to ask permission; if nothing else it's courtesy. Better yet, however, I like to strike up a conversation and actually spend a few minutes talking with them about themselves or what's going on around us . . . doing so typically not only guarantees permission, but breaks down the "wall" and often you can get a shot that most accurately depicts their person. Not sure if I'm articulating this right, but I hope you get what I'm saying.
 

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The King of Common Sense
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Anything intimate or obviously focused on a particular person as the subject, and I really believe you have to ask permission; if nothing else it's courtesy. Better yet, however, I like to strike up a conversation and actually spend a few minutes talking with them about themselves or what's going on around us . . . doing so typically not only guarantees permission, but breaks down the "wall" and often you can get a shot that most accurately depicts their person. Not sure if I'm articulating this right, but I hope you get what I'm saying.
Yes, I would ask for permission and let them know what you wanted to do with the picture...

But, chances are I'm in a rush, and I don't have time to talk to the couple to strike up a long conversation unless. I don't want to tell them what a great photographer I am. Most of the time, I just want to capture the moment and get the heck out of there for another shot. :thumbup:
 

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I consider myself a "photographic sniper". My camera stays out of sight until needed. I survey the area for best positions to photograph from and pay attention to people around me. See something interesting evolving, I wait ... Quick burst ... camera back out of sight. People act different with a camera around. I never photograph children without prior permission and try to keep faces unrecognizable. A few shots and I move on.

If asked what I'm doing ... Just taking pictures ..... I don't say "I'm a professional photographer" because people see $$$$ dancing around when you do. Also amateurs are usually given more leeway and some places are just inaccessable to pros without permits and fees. I'm never confrontational, although I know my rights. I don't want to give photographers a bad rep ... and I don't need to go through the hassle of explaining or proving my handgun is legal because I'm licensed to carry.

Yea, nobody puts a hand on any of my Nikons without permission.
 

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The King of Common Sense
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Discussion Starter #11
I consider myself a "photographic sniper". My camera stays out of sight until needed. I survey the area for best positions to photograph from and pay attention to people around me. See something interesting evolving, I wait ... Quick burst ... camera back out of sight. People act different with a camera around. I never photograph children without prior permission and try to keep faces unrecognizable. A few shots and I move on.

If asked what I'm doing ... Just taking pictures ..... I don't say "I'm a professional photographer" because people see $$$$ dancing around when you do. Also amateurs are usually given more leeway and some places are just inaccessable to pros without permits and fees. I'm never confrontational, although I know my rights. I don't want to give photographers a bad rep ... and I don't need to go through the hassle of explaining or proving my handgun is legal because I'm licensed to carry.

Yea, nobody puts a hand on any of my Nikons without permission.
Everyone is skeptical about being photographed these days. No one wants to be presented in an unfavorable way. How would like to be in "walmart shoppers photo site"? :rofl:
 
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