Etiquette School is in session! > The Ehell Guide to Never Behaving Badly

Photo taking and sharing guidelines

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I have had a couple of similar experiences, I had a complete stranger once grab my arm and try to pull me into a photograph with him and his friends and another night out where a person I had just met half an hour ago kept coming up and putting his camera in the faces of myself and my friends when we were trying to talk to each other. Both times I told the photographer firmly not to take my picture, but the fact that I was turning or walking away from them when I saw the camera should really have clued them in.

If you take digital photos of a group of people and put them on a social medium like Facebook, don't automatically tag everyone in the photo. A friend of mine would take photographs (often rather unflattering ones) of me without my permission and post them on Facebook along with a tag naming me as the subject and naming the venue we were at. Untagging them on my mobile phone was a nightmare. People may have a variety of reasons for not wanting photographs of themselves displayed on Facebook and having to go through and untag yourself from multiple photos is time consuming and irritating. Send a PM to the people in the photo and offer to tag them with their permission, or give them the opportunity to tag themselves if they wish. Respect their wishes if they say they would rather not be identified in your photograph.

I'm curious to see the replies on this thread.  Social networks has definitely changed the nature of photography and sharing, it seems to me that the etiquette hasn't been clearly defined to keep up with all the changes.

One thing I'd really like to see changed is the assumption that people want their pictures taken, and I'm not generally a person who automatically avoids having my picture taken.  It has seemed to me though, that combined with the ease of sharing and taking pictures (cellphone, etc) that it is easier to take people off guard.  One family member in particular has managed to take me off guard at a number of lower key events where in the past you wouldn't necessarily have a picture taken, or at the very least, it would be announced to gather round for a picture.  Now I've noticed numerous occasions where pictures just starting snapping and taking lots of people off guard or interrupting their meal/conversation.  It's startling and somewhat unsettling. 

I don't really want to stop my conversation just because someone stepped in front of me with a camera and is expecting me to smile at that precise moment.  I also don't care to be snapped eating.  And it happens so fast you don't have time to move or say no thanks.  It's the assumption on the photographers part and I don't really care for it.

DH's family lives far and doesn't get together often.  When the family would get together, often we'd dress up and go out to a nice restaurant.  One of my pet peeves was after we got back from being out, everybody was tired (not to mention my hair was flat and lipstick worn off), is that somebody would decide that was a great time to take family photos together.  It would be so much nicer to get them before going out so after a long evening people didn't have to pose for a photo.

I realize that photos may be posted on facebook or other social networks, but I really prefer not to be tagged.  With so many photos being posted on sites automatically, I think it is especially important to respect the wishes of those who don't want a photo taken or don't wish to have it posted on a public website.

Tea Drinker:
If your camera uses a flash, make sure you have everyone's okay to use it. That includes the person standing behind your actual subject, who may not want a bright light flashed in her face.

If you aren't taking a picture of me, and give me some warning, I can turn away or close my eyes. It's not that difficult to ask permission, or to say "flash warning" if someone who has previously talked to you about this is present. And if there's a roomful of people, there's a nontrivial chance that one of them will be bothered by the flash.

And don't expect people to justify that request: "it bothers me" is sufficient. Nobody owes you their medical history in order to not have you take unwanted flash photos. This is less of an issue than it was ten years ago, thanks to current digital camera technology, but there are still people who assume that merely possessing a camera overrides anyone else's desires. I hope e-hellions know better: but if someone complains to you "would you believe that woman didn't want me to use their flash?!" it would be a kindness to explain that they shouldn't hurt random people in order to grab a few snapshots. Yes, for some people, bright light in the eyes can be painful and/or mean they can't see anything for a couple of minutes.

On the other hand don't "yell" at people who tag pictures of kids not on Facebook with their parent's names. My sister, BIL, cousins, and our friends have this as their norm. When I take the kids out, they want to see pictures and have asked me to post them to Facebook - tagging them with the parent's names since the kids are under 13.

Every once in a while a friend from their circle who either isn't a parent or just had a kid will blow a gasket that I'm either being rude or that I'm endangering the kids. The parents always step up and say that I'm doing what they asked, that they have considered the safety concerns and are comfortable that this is very low risk (not like any of us are in Witness Protection or something).


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