Author Topic: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*  (Read 3206 times)

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Softly Spoken

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Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« on: June 18, 2013, 12:18:37 PM »
So I have to start out by saying that being a part of this forum has definitely made me more aware of etiquette in daily life. I find myself noticing politeness more, as well as rudeness.

I also have been re-examining common social occurrences that I used to take for granted, and seeing if they are ehell approved or have simply been accepted out of habit. I now understand there is contextual rudeness, varying degrees of rudeness, and that one person's etiquette standard may be another's etiquette breach.

All that being said, I was wondering how people felt about having themselves or their belongings photographed. I will explain the situation that led me to this topic, and the other scenario that I was curious about:

Example #1: I was walking to the store and I saw a gorgeous cherry corvette parked on the avenue outside one of the businesses. My brother is a classic car enthusiast, and I knew I couldn't do this car justice trying to describe it to him. Thankfully, I have a camera in my cellphone. I was standing in front of the car taking a picture when a voice said "Shiny isn't it?" A man had come out of the shop behind me. I asked him if it was his car, he said yes. I complimented it and explained that my bro had one and loved them etc. etc. He informed me it was a 1966. I gushed about it a little more and he got in the car and drove off. As I continued to the store, it occurred to me that maybe it was a bit rude of me to take a picture without asking...? So I went over it in my head: "Public view...owners of cars like that expect attention...heck, they like getting compliments and admiration for it...but cell cameras are everywhere and its a slippery slope re: privacy...well, I would send this pic to my bro but I wouldn't post it on FB or something like that...If I'd asked it would mean holding him up and I'd be SS...I didn't block him in while I got my perfect shot or make any unreasonable requests of him...he seemed to take it in stride...I guess I was okay and it's expected behavior."

So I gave myself a pass more or less, but it got my thinking about the etiquette of picture taking. There is a stereotype of the annoying person with a camera. There are oblivious amateur photogs and tourists who step on people or block others to get their shot, blind you with their flash, monopolize an area while they try and set up their moment, interrupt you to get you to take a picture for them, etc. Then there are the wannabe paparazzi who have no qualms about posting embarrassing photos online of complete strangers whose privacy they have violated just for the sake of a few LOLs. Depending on the subject matter being photographed, there is a quagmire of legal implications and issues of copyrighting.

Example #2: My exBFF owns Afghan hounds. In the area where we live they are considered an exotic breed by most. They are apparently also very unusual and popular in Asia. She has had many Asian tourists ooh and ahh over her dogs and take pictures. She is used to getting a lot of attention when she walks her dogs. She and her sister have joked about taking the more impressive looking one to a local viewpoint where tour groups and photographers congregate and charging $1 to have a picture taken with their dog. ::)
If you own or are wearing something impressive, do you have to resign yourself to the attention and be prepared to have it photographed? Is it wrong to ask for compensation for being photographed?


So when is it okay to snap a pic, and when is it not? If someone asked to take your picture, should you be flattered or annoyed? Should you let them? Can you stop them? How does politeness and a polite spine look in this situation? When you see a camera, do you cringe? Do you take a lot of photos and if so how do you do it politely?

So weigh in, all you shutterbugs and camera-shy ehellions! ;D
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MummySweet

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2013, 12:30:10 PM »
Generally, I think it's best to ask when taking pictures of someone's personal belongings, and most definitely if taking pictures of people themselves.   

In thinking about it, I realize that a car is one of the few items that I  would be fine with someone taking a picture of without asking first.     I would not be ok with someone photographing my house, my accessories or my kids.     

When my oldest was little he was very, very blond.  We lived overseas and were frequently asked by people if they could take a photo with him.   This request was often made despite a language barrier, but after the first time I got it.   (I was told that some cultures considered him to be lucky, marked by the hair.)     The only time I ever refused was when a group of ladies started pulling him from me for a picture, never asking or making contact with me in any way.  They are lucky I didn't scream my head off.     I often chuckle at the thought of how many people have a picture of our little blond boy in their travel albums.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2013, 12:34:51 PM »
In your first example, if the car is out on the street, I think its ok to take a picture, say from a distance. I don't know that I'd go right up and start snapping photos of the inside, and I'd try and avoid getting the license plate too. Now if I could see the owner was there, I know I would ask, is it ok if I take a picture? If I had a nice, unusal car, I'd be ok with someone taking a general photo, since it probably wouldn't be identifiable as belonging to me.

I'm ok with people taking photos of "my" things, as long as I'm not in the photo, or there's no identifier. About a month ago, I was away, and out and about, and someone had a gorgeous mastiff. Big, lumpy and slobbery, and oh so sweet. I had one growing up, so I nicely asked the woman who was walking him if I could take a picture (I wanted to show my mom). She said of course, and all I did was email to mom.

If someone wanted a photo of me, for whatever reason, I think I'd politely decline, as I despise having mine taken.

That being  said, there are people out there who will think nothing of snapping every picture they can, regardles of who, what, where, or anyone else's wishes. It doens't sound like you are one of them, so I think you were ok.

WillyNilly

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2013, 12:39:10 PM »
I think its absolutely fine to take photos is almost all the situations you describe, except the taking photos to make fun of people - in that case its rude, because, well making fun of people in rude. So sites like People of Walmart, while it can be amusing, I think are inherently rude.

As far as I'm concerned, once you are out in public where people can see you, people can take your picture. In your private home, in your yard, even in a store, etc, that's different, but on the street?  Sorry, that's public. I think you were totally fine with the car situation, in no way shape or form do I think you taking a picture of an object on the side of the road is rude.

I certainly don't think its rude to charge people if they want to take your photo - lots of people make a nice living doing just that - but its hard to enforce.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2013, 12:44:19 PM »
I had an eight inch mohawk with checkerboards shaved into the sides.  I knew I was going to get looks as well as compliments, it was something I accepted.  I don't know how many people took pictures of me without me knowing, but a good fair deal of people asked before taking pictures.  I think it is nice to ask but that it isn't rude not to unless, like WillyNilly said, it is to make fun of the person.  Being exotic or having something exotic can at times be annoying, but I also think it is something you just have to accept and move on.
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cwm

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2013, 12:45:43 PM »
As for the car, public area and as long as you're not doing nefarious things with that picture, I don't think it's a problem. Sending it to your brother, fine. Keeping it for yourself so you can have a goal to save money for (because if I saw a '66 Corvette that was cherry red, I'd have a new financial motivation, I've wanted one since I was a wee one), also fine. Sharing it on social media is iffy to downright no.

With dogs, kids, private property (gardens, house), it's a bit different. Usually if they're out in a public area, the owner/parent is around, and kids and dogs are much more personally identifying than cars. I'd ask first before I ever took a picture. Private property has the expectation of being private, unless it's on a homes tour or something of the sort. If I really liked a particular garden or home, I'd always try to get the permission of the homeowner before I took a picture.

The only time this isn't quite a rule is in crowds or public venues. I wouldn't think twice about taking pictures of crowds that hpapened to have someone's dogs or children. I'm not going to focus in on the children/dogs/any individual, but I'm not going to go out of my way to ask every single individual at an event if it's okay if they happen to end up in a picture of mine. If the main subject of a photo is an individual or small group, yes, I'll get their permission. But if someone else happens into a shot, that's part of life.

bah12

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2013, 12:59:09 PM »
I think you should ask people if it's ok to take a picture of them, their pets, or their children before you take a picture of them.  If you're taking a picture of something else, like scenery, and they happen to be in the shot, then you don't owe them a courtesy ask.

As for the car, out in public, with no one around to ask, I think it's fine to take a picture.  I would just avoid taking pictures of tags.

SoCalVal

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2013, 03:17:33 PM »
In one of my professional cooking classes a couple of years ago, I had a classmate who was definitely in the rude camp of taking pictures.  Please note that just about ALL of us in class took pictures of the food (in baking class it was pretty much necessary since we needed to include a picture along with the recipe used for our final recipe book project).  However, this classmate was pretty obnoxious with her picture-taking.  She would get in the way of other cooks as they were doing something or trying to get something done.  She once stood directly next to our instructor snapping away as the instructor twice said, "Someone needs to cover these wraps or they will dry out."  After the second time the instructor said that and Classmate wouldn't move (I was close by but couldn't get to the wraps because Classmate was in the way standing right in front of them so no one else could get to them either), I simply edged her out of the way to get it done (yes, I know that likely would be construed as rude, but, seriously, she would.not.get.out.of.the.way; I didn't push her -- I moved in front of what she was doing since excuse me wasn't working at all and started covering them up).  When people would try to get her to stop and actually do the work we were in class for, she would say, "People loved my pictures last semester" and keep taking pictures instead of helping with any of the multiple recipes our table was assigned that day.  This went on for a few weeks.  I could see my classmates rolling their eyes at each other when she would do this (seriously -- we could not get her to stop; she would go to the other tables and get in their way, too).

Well, I was out of class for a couple of weeks (we met once a week) because I was sick.  When I returned, I noticed that, oddly, the picture-taking had ceased (much to my happiness).  I concluded Classmate got a talking-to about it while I was gone.

Anyway, like I said, many of us in class took pictures of the food all the time.  Many would wait until it was time to present all the food.  Sometimes, we would do it right after a dish was ready.  Not rude.  Getting in everyone's way and not doing the work for the sake of taking pictures?  Quite rude.



menley

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2013, 04:21:31 PM »
<snip>

Example #2: My exBFF owns Afghan hounds. In the area where we live they are considered an exotic breed by most. They are apparently also very unusual and popular in Asia. She has had many Asian tourists ooh and ahh over her dogs and take pictures. She is used to getting a lot of attention when she walks her dogs. She and her sister have joked about taking the more impressive looking one to a local viewpoint where tour groups and photographers congregate and charging $1 to have a picture taken with their dog. ::)
If you own or are wearing something impressive, do you have to resign yourself to the attention and be prepared to have it photographed? Is it wrong to ask for compensation for being photographed?


So when is it okay to snap a pic, and when is it not? If someone asked to take your picture, should you be flattered or annoyed? Should you let them? Can you stop them? How does politeness and a polite spine look in this situation? When you see a camera, do you cringe? Do you take a lot of photos and if so how do you do it politely?

So weigh in, all you shutterbugs and camera-shy ehellions! ;D

This made me laugh, because I'm in this exact situation. My husband and I moved to another, and we brought our dogs with us. One of them is very rare in the country we live in - we've only seen one other in the year we've been here, and it was from another country as well. Both tourists and locals are always taking pictures when I walk the dogs - which is three times a day. I can't tell you how many vacation photos I'm probably in, wearing nasty dog park clothes and no makeup!

I honestly prefer in these situations if they don't ask, though - because generally, I am walking the dogs to the park, and they are anxious to get there. When people stop and ask to take a picture with the dog, or if I could stand still so they could get a picture of the dog, they're interrupting my routine and I either 1) feel bad for telling them no, sorry, I'm in a hurry or 2) tell them yes, but the dogs get anxious and often don't really "pose" well anyway. However, if they just snap a photo as I'm walking by, I'm uninterrupted and therefore not impacted by it.

mime

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2013, 04:27:40 PM »
I've spent much of my last 25 summers around classic cars and their owners. With no exceptions (that I've witnessed), they are very flattered if someone takes a picture of their car, whether the car is in a show or not. Also with no exceptions (that I've witnessed), they are irate if someone touches their car.

I took a class last year and one of my classmates who was still a stranger to me asked if she could take a picture of my hairdo for Instagram. No problem; I was glad she asked first.

I would never take a picture of someone's kid or even ask to do so unless I knew them. Incidental 'random kids in an overall picture of somthing else' is fine IMO.


PastryGoddess

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2013, 05:54:37 PM »
I'm a photographer. If I do take pictures of cars or the like, I try really hard not to get the licence plate in there, since I'll have to blur it out.  If I'm a fair distance away from a vignette and am shooting it with a zoom lens, I don't go and ask.  However, if I'm within walking distance of someone, I'll walk over and ask if I can take a picture, or if they mind being in pictures. 

That being said, I'm not a big fan of taking pictures of people and will often climb up on something to take pictures over peoples heads. I also don't take pictures of children unless I'm doing a long exposure and the kids faces and bodies will be blurred.  I will go and ask if it's ok first before I set up.

kherbert05

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2013, 10:19:21 PM »
I think the question you have to ask is Are you inconveniencing someone or giving them reason to be scared?

1. I had a situation like MummySweet. I was out with a group of cousins 3 of them are siblings and stair stepped in age (10 or 18 months between them). Their mom dressed them in matching outfits all the time. The girls would have dresses or what we call Jumpers in the US. The boy would have shorts made from the same material (Usually a flower pattern) and a solid shirt. (This was a daily thing. if one of them got dirty they all had to change). We were at a tourist place in Charlottetown near the Catholic church waiting for some family members going to Saturday Mass. Just killing time - when this woman grabbed the 3 little ones and started to drag them off. 18 years of living in Houston/self defense lectures, and classes kicked in. I yelled for cops grabbed the kids and forced them behind me pulling another near adult cousin in to form a shield. Turned out she thought they were some reinactors types (of what I don't know maybe bad fashions forced on by Moms) and wanted them to be in a photograph with her kids. For some reason she assumed they were Arcadian and spoke French - or that was her excuse for not saying something. Thing was they do have an Arcadian great-grandmother but these kids were blond beyond being a towhead white blond hair with deep dark blue eyes. A coloring more associated with our Irish/Scottish heritage.

2. Flip side I was at the zoo in the children's zoo playground. This Dad was taking pictures of his kids. This woman went off because her kid was in the shot screaming that he shouldn't be taking pictures of other people's kids. Glad to say the other adults all said the same thing - If you don't want your kids in other people's shots keep them home or at least not in a Tourist destination like the zoo. (I think she was in the all males are evil camp, I felt sorry for her kids - especially her son)

3. I was walking around an noticed a neighbor had an orange tree - with oranges on it. I took a shot. The homeowner wasn't happy - until I explained that I was a teacher and had a kid convinced that oranges were made in a factory. He started laughing and said take as many shots as you want. (I think he also had to deal with fruit thieves.)
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gramma dishes

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2013, 10:46:54 PM »
In the two situations you described, nothing was done inappropriately.

The car was parked on a public street, clearly visible to everyone.  I think it's nice that you did have a brief chat with the owner in which you were able to compliment his car and explain why you were taking the picture.  But even if he hadn't been anywhere in sight, you'd have still been in the clear.  Other posters have mentioned shooting at an angle avoiding the plates, but if you were only sharing with your brother and not using the picture for any other purpose, it was probably okay even if you weren't able to avoid the license plate (or didn't think about it).

In the other scenario (which in many ways isn't really that different) you again have the two exotic (to the regular residents) dogs which were out in public and therefore could be photographed.  However, the person walking them wouldn't need to stop for this to happen.  People could take their pictures while the dogs were walking and the human attached to the other end of the leashes could turn her face away if she didn't want to be included.  It was up to the dogs' walker whether or not she wanted to participate in the picture taking process, but the people wanting to take the pictures weren't inherently rude as long as they didn't demand that she stand still and wait while they took their pictures.  Had they done so, hopefully they would be gracious enough to accept a 'no' answer.

Personal property like homes, cars parked in driveways, flower gardens clearly belonging to home owners (not parks), and the homeowners themselves should probably not be subjects for random unknown photographers.  And never children without express permission from a parent, except accidentally "in the background" kids as in kherbert's example. 

Venus193

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2013, 11:02:52 PM »
You're OK about the car; people who own cars like that must be accustomed to it.  As long as you don't have the plate number in the photo (and probably the nearest address or street sign) you're good.

You're OK with the dogs, too.  I'm sure the owner of those dogs is used to this, too, and appreciates that you are impressed with them.

However, children that can be identified are a no-no along with anyone who does not want to be photographed.

diesel_darlin

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Re: Taking photos - when is it rude, when is it not? *long*
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2013, 11:20:42 PM »
Im with the ones that say it was ok to photograph the car. I saw a guy with a really gorgeous orange Lamborghini one day and he was quite pleased that I wanted pictures of his car.  ;D

On the other hand, if I am in a situation where I am trying to take a picture of something and there are children around, I will politely ask their parent(s) if they mind calling their children to them so I can snap a quick picture. If I take a picture and some random child does make it in there, the child is removed.