Strategies for street photography?

ruttrutt Cave canem!Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
edited June 22, 2012 in Street and Documentary
People react to me when I'm shooting on the street. They hold hands over their faces. They ask me don't I think I should ask before I shoot. They call the police (really.)

I know this doesn't happen to everyone. I see it in their work. Just look at the work of almost any Magnum photographer. But you don't need to get that exalted. I know plenty of people who don't provoke fear and loathing when they take candid shots on the street.

So short of getting a whole body transplant to be reborn as a smallish woman, what can I do to be less conspicuous on the street? What do others do?

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If not now, when?
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Comments

  • ChatKatChatKat flash frozen photographer Posts: 1,359Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 16, 2009
    Different
    Each time I shoot street, it's different.

    Often times it's candid from a bit away - not in the face using a longer lens.

    If I want to take random street shots, I will go ask. If I see someone purposely look away, I take it they re saying no. I will often motion to the lens and slightly tilt my head to ask without words.

    I have found that much of it depends on my location. For example, in Morocco, people did not like it from a street point of view. Those I asked were happy to oblige. But the man with the cart and donkey, pulled his hat off and covered his face, the women making aragon oil turned their heads away and then I was asked by someone not to take any photos. In Tahiti, they were vying for position and in San Francisco's Chinatown, many people used newspapers or hands to cover their faces. In Los Angeles, I rarely have a problem - people often pose here. Here are two candids from my street shooting - 1st is in St. Petersburg, Russia and the 2nd is Gdansk Poland - School children

    316357143_h7djX-M-5.jpg


    326804435_r3hK2-M-4.jpg
    Kathy Rappaport
    Flash Frozen Photography, Inc.
    http://flashfrozenphotography.com
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,394Super Moderators moderator
    edited April 16, 2009
    I think this is a very interesting subject.

    I have a strong suspicion than there are some strong local variations even within the US, just liek Kathy suggested above. I think it is easier for women to shoot small children than men, anymore. Parania abounds.

    For his subway portraits, somewhere I read that Walker Evans hid his camera in a brief case.

    I have been watching Ovation TV again this week. It is replaying a series about photographers, and a few it highlighted were Sylvia Plachy and an older gentleman Albert Maysles.

    He shot all sorts of folks on the streets with a point and shoot, up close and personal, directly in their face, smiling and laughing and talking to them the whole time.

    He stressed that talking to, and engaging the indidvidual, are much much more important than the actual shooting. The shooting almost seems like an afterthought to an outside observer. It is not, of course, but he is so casual one does not notice he has already identified where the light is, what direction he wants to shoot from, how he plans to frame his subject, etc. So when the time comes, it is just a quick snap, and he moves on to further discussion with his subject. I think his being very old and gray haired disarms his subjects as well. His choice of a P&S is significant. He was a movie maker, and I suspect could afford any camera he wanted. I have long suspected that big cameras tend to put people off more than small ones. H C-B used a smallish Leica on the street, not a 4x5 Graphic when that was a typical press camera.

    Timothy Greenfield-Sanders was a formal portrait shooter who was profiled. He has shot statesman, H Clinton, wounded veterans, and hookers and strippers. Interesting bunch of work.

    I think a lot of street shooting is identifying the background and the lighting and waiting like a hunter for game to enter the scene. I must confess I am absolutely no good at this. Andy is the fellow to ask, he revels in it.

    Sally Mann is one of the shooters to be discussed this evening. She is the one who shot her children in adult poses and created a fire storm about child pornography.

    A couple of links about this Ovation series - I think you will like it

    http://www.mayslesfilms.com/companypages/albertmaysles/biography.htm

    http://blog.digitalcontentproducer.com/briefingroom/2007/12/05/maysles-film-rebecca-dreyfus-and-company-x-get-personal-with-legends-of-the-lens/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RywAfP4KFcY

    http://www.ovationtv.com/people/14

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUfXvQCnDUQ
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 16, 2009
    Bruce Davidson is another king of street (and subway) photography.

    The idea of framing the shot and waiting for the people to come and make it is a technique I've been practicing. In fact, it's part of why I started this thread. People smell the trap and avoid it.
    If not now, when?
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,394Super Moderators moderator
    edited April 16, 2009
    I have been thinking a little more - watching Maysles shoot suggest that he has his P&S on manual focus, he just does not seem to wait for the slow contrast AF of a point and shoot to lock up. It is up, click and down.

    One other trick is to never put your camera up to your eye. I have a friend who loves so shoot people with wide angles, and he does it with his camera at his side or cradled in his arms in front of his chest. He never looks through the viewfinder - he trusts his comp from just looking and his Af to the camers's built in AF. If you can use a wireless remote and keep your hand from the shutter that might help also. Canon makes a cheap wireless remote for the 5D Mk II - I got mine!! Set your camera on a table and look the other way and snap!

    Some folks shoot their prey with a very wide lens, so that they think folks are shooting by them, in front of them, but not at them as the camera looks like it is pointed slightly away from them.
    I think the best folks are those that go up and talk to the subjects and get them to talk to them and open up a discussion. This requires real interest and empathy, and I am not sure we can all really pull it off.

    Time for more Ovation TV!
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 18,813Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited April 18, 2009
    All of the above. I do a lot of street shooting. I have tried all of the techniques mentioned and have concluded that there is no magic bullet here. You need to adjust your shooting radar to fit the particular technique you are using. Shooting from the hip or chest with a wide lens is probably better suited to capturing personalities, while sniping with a long lens against a selected background gives you better control over composition. Sometimes you get lucky and all the elements click into place, but in my case, the percentage of keepers is pretty low. Patience is the key.

    You need to feel comfortable in order to maintain the high degree of awareness that is required, so if you think there's something wrong about stealth shooting, then you shouldn't attempt it. Likewise, if you are uncomfortable about approaching strangers to ask permission, you probably won't take many shots that way. If you are uncomfortable about both, then you probably ought to take up macro instead. mwink.gif
  • cerpintorcerpintor Big grins Posts: 27Registered Users Big grins
    edited April 18, 2009
    I was recently chatting to the guy in this video clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQ25PqtLasc about his street photography. His main tip was to use a small camera. I think he's using a Leica in the video.

    He also said he uses a wide angle lens, which he tries to set to the hyperfocal distance. In this way, he is less concerned about taking the time to compose and focus. Just point and shoot, and some of the shots will work out.

    Spare a thought for us in the UK, where in London in particular, street based photography is becoming increasingly criminalised in practice, if not in law. Weekly stories of people being unlawfully harrassed by the Police, even forced to delete images, which is actually illegal. I lack confidence shooting strangers to start with, but the extra stress of worrying whether an incompetent copper is going to treat you as if you're a terrorist makes successful street photography something of a distant dream for me.

    We even have Police posters encouraging people to be suspicious of people taking photographs.
  • TonyCooperTonyCooper Major grins Orlando, FloridaPosts: 2,239Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 19, 2009
    This is not an answer to your question, but it is on the same subject.

    I keep a portfolio of 8 x 10 examples of my photographs in the car or with me. I do street shooting, but often themed shots on a particular activity. I've done checker games under the underpass, horseshoe players, people lounging in front of a store, neighbors sitting out, etc. All in very rough neighborhoods where a white person usually appears only to repossess something, arrest someone, or contract for something illegal. My presence is usually met with animosity and suspicion.

    I'll approach one person and show them the notebook and explain that my interest is photography. I've never been rejected after that. Usually, several other people will ask to look at the photographs. After that, they pay no attention to me except for the times they ask if I will photograph them. Several times I've returned a few days later and handed out prints of the pictures.

    This shot was taken at backyard horseshoe game at the request of the subject. He was extremely hostile when I first walked up. I normally go for the candid shot, but he wanted this.

    abc-002.jpg
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    http://tonycooper.smugmug.com/
  • thphotothphoto Beginner grinner Posts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited April 19, 2009
    This reluctance by subjects to be photographed is actually one of the reasons I have no desire to get back into newspaper photography.

    I loved the daily feature hunt, but cautious parents have made the child in the sprinkler photograph difficult to accomplish. Worker rules (in the USA, OSHA rules) have made construction and other "public" professions worried about photogs at job site (they get fined if their employees are photographed without hard hats or other safety equipment).

    With increased public open access to information (the web) comes increased personal sense of privacy.

    As yourself this... if you saw someone pointing a camera at your children... how would you react?
  • seastackseastack Major grins Posts: 716Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 6, 2009
    There are so many different approaches ... I wouldn't recommend the "in your face" of Bruce Gilden, but it works. There's Martin Parr who works quickly and acts like he knows what he's doing, and then moves on. Or Alex Webb who fades into the background, is the fly on the wall, and moves in when something happens. Then there's David Alan Harvey who is naturally a people person and engages his subjects and becomes part of the scene. All of these are Magnum photographers by the way and I've seen discussions of all their techniques in one spot or another by googling.

    I employ all of these, although rarely Gilden.

    Oh, and don't forget the big one ... smile. And feel what's happening around you, radar is important, and people will tune into what vibe your putting out ... body language, facial expressions, are you hesitant or happy, moving with purpose, loose?

    I particularly like to find the perfect spot. A place with good light and things happening and fade into the background, waiting. In this case, leaning against lamp post behind a bench in one of the busier intersections in Seattle. I was invisible.

    marketnights_016.jpg

    And sometimes you have to roll with it. While shooting on a little assignment on a public beach, some drunk young guys got a little bent when I was taking pictures so I put the camera down and shot the bull with them. We got to be buds, and I got this ...

    seattlesun_07.jpg

    Or walking in crowds can work sometimes also. People are gone in an instant and things do happen ...

    ferry_007.jpg

    Which is to say you have to be ready for things to happen. The unexpected energy is the best ...

    ferry_045.jpg

    But my favorite technique is to find a good seaside cafe with a beer in one hand and a camera in the other ... :))

    greece_08_farewellsantorini_006.jpg
  • seastackseastack Major grins Posts: 716Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 6, 2009
    cerpintor wrote:
    I was recently chatting to the guy in this video clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQ25PqtLasc about his street photography. His main tip was to use a small camera. I think he's using a Leica in the video.

    Great video btw. The smaller camera really does make a difference. I shoot slides sometimes on my Canonet G-III Rangefinder, a great small 35mm with a sweet little 40mm 1.7 lens. Lot cheaper than a Leica :))
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,394Super Moderators moderator
    edited May 6, 2009
    Seastack, glad to have you back again!
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • TizianoTiziano Soltanto nella mia mente Posts: 184Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 7, 2009
    So how does a street photographer handle releases? Or do they just ignore the idea and hope they don't get sued?

    On another note, I sent 20 high school students downtown to shoot for a class. Two came back telling me they were questioned by the local cops. Another one, in a mall, had the same thing happen. My take was that this was a good thing given our times.

    Also, I was filming (video) street scenes near a US military base outside of Frankfort 20 years ago. That go me pulled into the MP's shack right quick!
    A Nikon D90 plus some Nikon, Sigma & Tokina lenses.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,394Super Moderators moderator
    edited May 7, 2009
    Use a small camera and look like a tourist, rather than a big, black, dangerous-looking camera, and look like a terrorist sneaking around and shooting pictures of bridges and banks?

    ( For those who do not know me, this is a joke....... kind of ) I have been run out of Malls by security folks also, on the basis that they are private property.



    One of the advantages of the Leica for street shooters has always been its small size and non-threatening appearance.

    Panasonic's Micro 4/3 system G1 camera might be useful in this regard. Michael Reichman has written a thread about using the G1 for street work....
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • FlyingginaFlyinggina To see and not be seen Posts: 2,639Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 7, 2009
    Some thoughts and examples
    I spend two months a year in Paris (one month in the spring and the other in the fall) and take a lot of street/subway candids there. I wear my 40d around my neck every time I go out, morning, noon and night. Except as noted below, I have never been asked not to take photographs, but I have to confess that I am not very aggressive either.

    I do a lot of stealth shooting - often from my lap in the subway. Sometimes, to get just what I want, I have to lift the camera to my eye, but I do it quickly. I mostly use the 17-55 for its low light capabilities. Occasionally I will go out with the 70-200. I don't normally change lenses unless I am actually doing a planned photo shoot.

    I find Paris much easier than Boston. It is a larger city with loads of tourists. SLRs are a dime a dozen, not to mention photo grabbing cellphones, point and shoots of all sizes, and video cameras. Some of the areas that I walk in are not populated by tourists, though (including the one we stay), and I am much more circumspect there than in the better known sections. It was near where we live that I was once asked not to photograph men at an outdoor cafe, a request I honored (though if I had been quick enough, I would have had my shot!).

    I don't do much street photography in Boston. The only time I have ever been told I could not take photos here is in the Copley Place Mall.

    Here are some photos of people in public places in Paris taken without any personal interaction with the subjects, with obvious exceptions:

    1.

    280326783_YAy7X-M-2.jpg

    2.

    443593552_wwHiH-M.jpg

    3.

    443611482_R6Lkd-M.jpg

    4.

    380233385_qzo5T-M.jpg

    5.

    224332702_RVu9Q-M.jpg

    6.

    188031054_DZFVh-M-1.jpg

    7.

    443597748_98ubY-M.jpg


    Here is one taken in Cambridge, MA:
    8.

    443626533_PEGGw-M.jpg

    And one taken on the Green Line of the Boston subway (should have been the Red Line!):

    9.

    443627488_Sa7o2-M.jpg





    Because I enjoy photographing people so much, I often ask someone if I can take his or her picture. This results in a different kind of photo, often closer to a formal portrait than to street photography.

    Here are a few of my favs taken in Paris with the consent of the subjects:

    10.

    443593914_mrmrG-M.jpg

    11,

    357535493_LkNqu-M.jpg

    12.

    413234278_6wPyJ-M.jpg

    I always make prints or provide an online link for people who allow me to take their pictures. It creates a lot of goodwill and their pleasure gives me pleasure as well.

    Not sure this contributes much to the discussion. I guess it just shows that we all photograph our worlds in different ways and that there is no one right way to do it.

    Virginia
    _______________________________________________
    "A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know." Diane Arbus

    Email
  • PattiPatti Major grins Posts: 1,576Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 26, 2009
    I've really enjoyed this thread. I love street photography and would like to improve. I've picked up an M3 and am now trying to get a handle on focusing the finder (it's a bit dim & so am I mwink.gif ). I don't know how folks do it quickly on the street - amazing to me.
    The use of a camera is similar to that of a knife. You can use it to peel potatoes, or carve a flute. ~ E. Kahlmeyer
    ... I'm still peeling potatoes.

    patti hinton photography
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 26, 2009
    rutt wrote:
    People react to me when I'm shooting on the street. They hold hands over their faces. They ask me don't I think I should ask before I shoot. They call the police (really.)

    I know this doesn't happen to everyone. I see it in their work. Just look at the work of almost any Magnum photographer. But you don't need to get that exalted. I know plenty of people who don't provoke fear and loathing when they take candid shots on the street.

    So short of getting a whole body transplant to be reborn as a smallish woman, what can I do to be less conspicuous on the street? What do others do?
    Well, Rutt, as you know these are both strong shots that belie your complaints, but...
    One problem you've had is that you chose to do a project on a Planned Parenthood clinic and the demonstrators who hang out there. It's a great subject, but it's one that almost guarantees that you'll encounter distrust and hostility...rolleyes1.gif

    As you know, I've shot at the same place, and run into some of the same distrust and hostility....

    There are many approaches to street photography, some that involve stealth, some that involve simply learning to be part of the crowd, and then there's the in-your-face approach. Magnum photographer Bruce Gilden has been doing a street photography series where he just walks up to people and pops a flash in their face. Check this out. Personally, I hate it. But what do I know - he's a Magnum photographer and I'm not.rolleyes1.gif

    As someone mentioned, Walker Evans shot an iconic subway project with a camera stitched inside his coat.
    I shot a subway project in Boston over the course of a year, riding the subway with one of two DSLRs, usually raising them to my eye to shoot. In that entire time, a few people turned away, one woman gave me the finger, and everyone else pretty much ignored me. (By the way, 30 of the images are now in the permanent collection of the Boston Public Library.)

    Unlike Kat, I would not advocate the use of a long lens for street shooting - although I've certainly used one from time to time - and I wouldn't advocate hip shooting, except on the rare occasion. By and large, the best street photos are shot close, intimately, and are carefully - if quickly - framed.

    Some things to avoid when shooting on the street:
    Don't try to look like a real photographer - leave the photo vest, camera bag, and other paraphernalia behind;

    Don't move quickly - it attracts attention;

    Don't use a big honker lens - it attracts attention;

    Don't keep the camera down around your hip and whip it to your eye each time you see something - it attracts attention. Instead, keep the camera at chest height when you're 'stalking' your prey - the less you throw the camera around, the less attention you'll attract.
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 26, 2009
    Flyinggina wrote:
    I spend two months a year in Paris (one month in the spring and the other in the fall) and take a lot of street/subway candids there. I wear my 40d around my neck every time I go out, morning, noon and night. Except as noted below, I have never been asked not to take photographs, but I have to confess that I am not very aggressive either.

    I do a lot of stealth shooting - often from my lap in the subway. Sometimes, to get just what I want, I have to lift the camera to my eye, but I do it quickly. I mostly use the 17-55 for its low light capabilities. Occasionally I will go out with the 70-200. I don't normally change lenses unless I am actually doing a planned photo shoot.

    I find Paris much easier than Boston. It is a larger city with loads of tourists. SLRs are a dime a dozen, not to mention photo grabbing cellphones, point and shoots of all sizes, and video cameras. Some of the areas that I walk in are not populated by tourists, though (including the one we stay), and I am much more circumspect there than in the better known sections. It was near where we live that I was once asked not to photograph men at an outdoor cafe, a request I honored (though if I had been quick enough, I would have had my shot!).

    I don't do much street photography in Boston. The only time I have ever been told I could not take photos here is in the Copley Place Mall.

    Here are some photos of people in public places in Paris taken without any personal interaction with the subjects, with obvious exceptions:

    1.

    280326783_YAy7X-M-2.jpg

    2.

    443593552_wwHiH-M.jpg

    3.

    443611482_R6Lkd-M.jpg

    4.

    380233385_qzo5T-M.jpg

    5.

    224332702_RVu9Q-M.jpg

    6.

    188031054_DZFVh-M-1.jpg

    7.

    443597748_98ubY-M.jpg


    Here is one taken in Cambridge, MA:
    8.

    443626533_PEGGw-M.jpg

    And one taken on the Green Line of the Boston subway (should have been the Red Line!):

    9.

    443627488_Sa7o2-M.jpg





    Because I enjoy photographing people so much, I often ask someone if I can take his or her picture. This results in a different kind of photo, often closer to a formal portrait than to street photography.

    Here are a few of my favs taken in Paris with the consent of the subjects:

    10.

    443593914_mrmrG-M.jpg

    11,

    357535493_LkNqu-M.jpg

    12.

    413234278_6wPyJ-M.jpg

    I always make prints or provide an online link for people who allow me to take their pictures. It creates a lot of goodwill and their pleasure gives me pleasure as well.

    Not sure this contributes much to the discussion. I guess it just shows that we all photograph our worlds in different ways and that there is no one right way to do it.

    Virginia

    Good advice, and a number of very strong images!

    The one place we part company is with the idea of people "allowing" you to photograph them. If you've engaged them and asked permission to shoot them, you've already lost the battle. You're not getting a "street photo," you're shooting portraits. Which is fine. It's just that it's a different animal.
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 26, 2009
    Patti wrote:
    I've really enjoyed this thread. I love street photography and would like to improve. I've picked up an M3 and am now trying to get a handle on focusing the finder (it's a bit dim & so am I mwink.gif ). I don't know how folks do it quickly on the street - amazing to me.

    Dim? DIM!? An M3 finder dim? If that's the case, Patti, it needs a cleaning. Because shooting with an M3 is shooting through a plate glass window. What's so wonderful about rangefinder shooting is that you see the world through a bright viewfinder that is literally like a plate glass window - with frame lines on it. What that does is allow you to see what's happening outside the len's field of view, so that you can anticipate the image and adjust for it.:D
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 26, 2009
    ChatKat wrote:
    Each time I shoot street, it's different.

    Often times it's candid from a bit away - not in the face using a longer lens.

    If I want to take random street shots, I will go ask. If I see someone purposely look away, I take it they re saying no. I will often motion to the lens and slightly tilt my head to ask without words.

    I have found that much of it depends on my location. For example, in Morocco, people did not like it from a street point of view. Those I asked were happy to oblige. But the man with the cart and donkey, pulled his hat off and covered his face, the women making aragon oil turned their heads away and then I was asked by someone not to take any photos. In Tahiti, they were vying for position and in San Francisco's Chinatown, many people used newspapers or hands to cover their faces. In Los Angeles, I rarely have a problem - people often pose here. Here are two candids from my street shooting - 1st is in St. Petersburg, Russia and the 2nd is Gdansk Poland - School children

    Two nice images, Kat!
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • jdryan3jdryan3 tao te grin Posts: 1,353Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 26, 2009
    bdcolen wrote:
    The one place we part company is with the idea of people "allowing" you to photograph them. If you've engaged them and asked permission to shoot them, you've already lost the battle. You're not getting a "street photo," you're shooting portraits. Which is fine. It's just that it's a different animal.

    Interesting take, and I agree if you are asking beforehand. But what about afterwards, as to get background information about them, maybe even a release? How bright of a line do have on the street shot/ portrait? ne_nau.gif
    "Don't ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to. Oh well."
    -Fleetwood Mac
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 26, 2009
    jdryan3 wrote:
    Interesting take, and I agree if you are asking beforehand. But what about afterwards, as to get background information about them, maybe even a release? How bright of a line do have on the street shot/ portrait? ne_nau.gif

    Do whatever you want afterward. But do remember this, a kiss is just a kiss....Sorry...Seriously...In the US, you are legally entitled to shoot anyone doing anything as long as you are in a public place when you shoot. You are legally entitled to display that photo, post it on the web, or publish it for non commercial purposes. That means that you can display it in an exhibit of your art work, and sell it as art work, or publish and sell a book of your photos. You may not, however, use it for commercial purposes - i.e. advertising, stock, etc. - without a release. Now, if you approach someone after shooting, they may be delighted, may sign a release, and if it's a great photo, you may make some money. On the other hand, they may pursue you to the ends of the earth because they are pissed off you took their photo. They will not be on solid legal ground, but do you really want that grief? I sure don't. Shoot and leave. Unless, of course, they approach you, in which case you should politely explain who you are and what you're doing. I strongly recommend having some postcards made up with a really good image on one side and your contact information - including website - identifying you as a photographer, on the other. Check out www.modernpostcard.com

    Now, any lawyers want to jump in. rolleyes1.gif
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • ElginetPhotosElginetPhotos Major grins Posts: 136Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 27, 2009
    bdcolen wrote:
    Do whatever you want afterward. But do remember this, a kiss is just a kiss....Sorry...Seriously...In the US, you are legally entitled to shoot anyone doing anything as long as you are in a public place when you shoot. You are legally entitled to display that photo, post it on the web, or publish it for non commercial purposes. That means that you can display it in an exhibit of your art work, and sell it as art work, or publish and sell a book of your photos. You may not, however, use it for commercial purposes - i.e. advertising, stock, etc. - without a release. Now, if you approach someone after shooting, they may be delighted, may sign a release, and if it's a great photo, you may make some money. On the other hand, they may pursue you to the ends of the earth because they are pissed off you took their photo. They will not be on solid legal ground, but do you really want that grief? I sure don't. Shoot and leave. Unless, of course, they approach you, in which case you should politely explain who you are and what you're doing. I strongly recommend having some postcards made up with a really good image on one side and your contact information - including website - identifying you as a photographer, on the other. Check out www.modernpostcard.com

    Now, any lawyers want to jump in. rolleyes1.gif
    I'm going to hop in here even though I'm not an attorney. The nature of what I or any media photographer does is defined as this:

    If you are in a public place, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

    This was the verdict in a girl's case in the Illinois Supreme Court who took pictures of people who were riding the EL in Chicago as they fell asleep. She made a coffee table book of the pics and someone complained and then filed suit. I believe the city of Chicago even tried to help the person who complained. The artist / Photographer won and it was on the evening news and local papers.

    I'm going to attempt to locate some documentation on this for you and post it here. I found it an interesting case/story.

    I love street photography.
    Bill O'Neill - Media and Fire Photography
    ________________
    www.elginet.com - www.elginet.smugmug.com
    Toys: Nikon D3x, D300s w/MD10 grip, D300, Fuji S3Pro &S2Pro,
    Nikon 18-200 VR, Nikkor 80-200 2.8, Nikon 105mm 2.8
  • ElginetPhotosElginetPhotos Major grins Posts: 136Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 27, 2009
    I'm going to hop in here even though I'm not an attorney. The nature of what I or any media photographer does is defined as this:

    If you are in a public place, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

    This was the verdict in a girl's case in the Illinois Supreme Court who took pictures of people who were riding the EL in Chicago as they fell asleep. She made a coffee table book of the pics and someone complained and then filed suit. I believe the city of Chicago even tried to help the person who complained. The artist / Photographer won and it was on the evening news and local papers.

    I'm going to attempt to locate some documentation on this for you and post it here. I found it an interesting case/story.

    I love street photography.

    On the flipside of this however, is the pervert camera guy taking pics of girls or kids.

    Local police arrested someone about a month ago who was video taping girls as they jogged down a bike path. The guy a month later....was arrested for sexual assault.

    You have to use your head and some common sense.
    Bill O'Neill - Media and Fire Photography
    ________________
    www.elginet.com - www.elginet.smugmug.com
    Toys: Nikon D3x, D300s w/MD10 grip, D300, Fuji S3Pro &S2Pro,
    Nikon 18-200 VR, Nikkor 80-200 2.8, Nikon 105mm 2.8
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 27, 2009
    Nothing seems to have changed since Weegee wrote this in Naked City published in the early '50s:
    weegee wrote:
    On news stories, neither permissions nor relases are needed except when photographs are used to advertise commercial products. Pictures of houses or buildings can be published without consent of the owner, but if a man objects to your taking a picture of his property, he can order you and your camera off it -- that's trespassing -- but he cannot stop you from taking a picture providing you are standing on the street or sidewalk which is public property and belongs to everyone.
    If not now, when?
  • Tina ManleyTina Manley Major grins Posts: 179Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 28, 2009
    bdcolen wrote:
    In the US, you are legally entitled to shoot anyone doing anything as long as you are in a public place when you shoot. You are legally entitled to display that photo, post it on the web, or publish it for non commercial purposes. That means that you can display it in an exhibit of your art work, and sell it as art work, or publish and sell a book of your photos. You may not, however, use it for commercial purposes - i.e. advertising, stock, etc. - without a release. www.modernpostcard.com

    Now, any lawyers want to jump in. rolleyes1.gif

    I'm not a lawyer but I do lease stock and one minor correction is that unreleased photos can be used for stock if they are for editorial use - textbooks, magazines, newspapers, etc. Most of the stock photos I lease are unreleased photos for editorial use. They must be leased as Rights Managed and not Royalty Free because RF photos can be used anywhere. All of my photos are Rights Managed.

    Tina
    www.tinamanley.com
    Tina Manley
    www.tinamanley.com
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 29, 2009
    I'm not a lawyer but I do lease stock and one minor correction is that unreleased photos can be used for stock if they are for editorial use - textbooks, magazines, newspapers, etc. Most of the stock photos I lease are unreleased photos for editorial use. They must be leased as Rights Managed and not Royalty Free because RF photos can be used anywhere. All of my photos are Rights Managed.

    Tina
    www.tinamanley.com

    Thanks, Tina - This is a very valuable piece of information.
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • MnemosyneMnemosyne Seeking Serendipity Posts: 251Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 11, 2009
    I know this doesn't happen to everyone. I see it in their work. Just look at the work of almost any Magnum photographer
    Not true. You just don't get to see those :D You're seeing the selects they want displayed.

    Whether it's street photography or event photography, some people just don't want to be photographed. It's not exclusive to one type.

    I'm not sure I agree with the smaller is better idea. The bigger my cameras got, the less suspiciously people treated me. You're more likely to be questioned if you look like you're trying to be inconspicuous.

    Also, I would think people covering their face is what you wanted. It's their natural reaction. Some people ignore the camera, others ham it up. But even no reaction is still a reaction.

    Be polite. Ask, smile, etc. I've asked people if I could take their photo, and then walked away to come back 10 minutes later when they forgot about me.

    As for the public place thing. You have every right to take pictures. As was mentioned by others though, military institutions, malls, etc are off limits. Although I can't understand the mall one, they allow anyone in, ergo it's a public place.

    Try to look like you know what you're doing. If you look like a tourist taking photos, it will probably bother people. But in my experience, the stranger I appear, the less suspicion I get. I have laid in wet grass or climbed trees. I even waded into an intersection flooded from rain, about mid thigh, while cars passed by at 5 miles an hour, for photos. Usually people don't come up to me and ask "What do you think you're doing?" typically they ask "Did it turn out like you hoped?"

    As for kids, my only suggestion is be careful. As a rule, I don't photograph public pools, or any other place that mainly caters to anyone underage. At events where parents bring kids, like the park or a concert, you can get a feel for when the parents won't mind, but I still ask. Only once in my last three years has anyone told me no. And that was only because she had changed her name and was hiding from her ex who lost custody, or something. At least that's what she told me.

    Confidence is the biggest thing though. If you look like you have a reason to be doing what you're doing, normally people don't care. If they do care and ask what you're doing or what it's for, just have a response. Even something as simple as "I'm shooting for fun and practice" can assuage fears and calm people.

    But as I said earlier, some people will not be happy. Accept it and move on, those people would have been upset regardless of whether you're a rookie or vet photog. Whenever I took new photogs out at the school paper, they'd come back and get mad at some person/s who yelled at them for taking their picture. And I'd pull up a photo and ask "This one?" and they'd ask how I got it. I'd respond "it's all in the approach," and they'd ask what my approach was. And I'd say "I just don't care." You have to have a thick skin, cause there will always be someone who is going to complain about what you're doing. The minute you start doubting yourself though, is when you start giving up. Just keep shooting.
    Audentes fortuna iuvat
  • sara505sara505 Major grins Posts: 1,667Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 11, 2009
    pathfinder wrote:
    Use a small camera and look like a tourist, rather than a big, black, dangerous-looking camera, and look like a terrorist sneaking around and shooting pictures of bridges and banks?

    ( For those who do not know me, this is a joke....... kind of ) I have been run out of Malls by security folks also, on the basis that they are private property.



    One of the advantages of the Leica for street shooters has always been its small size and non-threatening appearance.

    Panasonic's Micro 4/3 system G1 camera might be useful in this regard. Michael Reichman has written a thread about using the G1 for street work....

    The camera does make a difference. I can get away with things with the G9 that I could never pull off with my big-gun 40D w 2.8, 28-70. I use the G9 almost exclusively for street photography, it's definitely my camera of choice, and the one I always have with me. I use my DSLRs for paid jobs.

    Also, these are strange times. People are generally more paranoid. Once upon a time it was possible to photograph random children playing in playgrounds and on the street - not so any more. There's a general suspicious feeling in the air, I think.
  • EdgleyEdgley Big grins Posts: 18Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 14, 2009
  • michswissmichswiss Stuffed Animal Melbourne, AustraliaPosts: 2,235Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited October 14, 2009
    sara505 wrote:
    The camera does make a difference. I can get away with things with the G9 that I could never pull off with my big-gun 40D w 2.8, 28-70. I use the G9 almost exclusively for street photography, it's definitely my camera of choice, and the one I always have with me. I use my DSLRs for paid jobs.

    Also, these are strange times. People are generally more paranoid. Once upon a time it was possible to photograph random children playing in playgrounds and on the street - not so any more. There's a general suspicious feeling in the air, I think.

    I don't think it's the camera as much as the big, honking lens. Put a 50/1.4 or other small prime on the body and it looks a lot less intimidating and people take less notice.
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