photographing people - help!

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  • Re: photographing people - help!
    I see this thread was begun some tme ago but I would like to add my ideas on this.

    Here are some things to consider:
    1. Know the law of the countries where you are taking the pictures.
    2. There was a nice article in the October issue of Popular Photography and imaging ( about Rodolphe Simeon who has taken about 300 "street portraits". Basically he approaches his subjects and recieves a verbal consent.
    3. Verbal consent won't protect you if someone sees the photo and complains.
    4. If you keep the pictures in your private collection, there is no trouble. However, posting them to a website may be considered publishing them whether or not you receive compensation.
    5. In Switzerland, where the law is very restrictive, anyone attending a public gathering is probably fair game; festival, street fair... As noted earlier. Here in Switzerland, anyone at work in a public place can be photographed; or so I have been told. This means that your photos of roadies, rock-stars, and fans at a concert would all be considered fair game. The same person sun-bathing on the beach could bring charges.

    The bottom line is that candid photos are probably not legal in most places unless it is at an ORGANIZED public event. I think Rodolphe Simeon's approach is the best for street portraits but you really should ask them to sign the release form (downloadable from this Forum) if you hope to publish them.

  • Re: photographing people - help!
    Hi Tina.

    It's a bit of a maze and, as already mentioned, different 'rules' might apply dependent upon which country you're in.

    As a rule of thumb, I assume that if it's an open, public space (and everyone's got all their clothes on) it's probably safe to shoot with or without consent.

    If it's a private building or space (theatre, railway station, gallery, office, etc) then I always ask permission from the owner of the building / business. If they say 'no' then I abide by their decision.

    I recently wanted to take some photos at Liverpool Street station in London (the station I commute to and from every weekday) but I knew I had to ask permission and register at the station reception. I had to confirm that I wasn't using the photos for commercial purposes and that I wouldn't be photographing on the platforms. Even with the relevant permission and ID card, I was still followed round the station (at a discrete distance) by PC Plod.....!

    If I want to take a 'portrait' of an individual or small group, I will - wherever possible - ask first. When we were in Kenya, I was acutely aware that some people just didn't want to be photographed. I don't know why but I wan't going to argue. In Goa, on the other hand, many people would come and pose in front of you if they saw you had a camera!

    My advice (for what it's worth) is 'never be sneaky'. Always be prepared to show the photo (if it's digital) to the person you've photographed and offer to send them a copy (or an internet link) if the person wants one. If you'd be happy in their situation, you're probably doing things right.

  • Re: photographing people - help!
    sneaky if done astutely, is a style of photo-taking. Anything done satutely works, even if basically off regilations. There are so many shots by big names, by memebers here, of people in public transportation, like a metro, these shots are obviously candid or stolen. Yet, even pre 9/11, it is forbidden to shoot there, the rules are clear and have been for ages.

    Best is to self-assign oneself, not juts go for the lucky or best possible shot, one at a time. That wil not make anyone make any strides up in teir photography. Instead, practice any way you wish, see where you fail, work at it, be aware of the regulations, make your OWN decision to follow or not, and with experience, every type of street photography is do-able, even that which people say is a no-no.

    Here's an example of what is a no-no, and he does it with flash!!!: R18S8S8
  • Re: photographing people - help!
    Here's a great quote from the American Society of Media Photographers and a link to their view on the need for a release;

    "Most of the time, you take your pictures, everybody gets paid and thatís the end of it. Once in a while, though, things can go very wrong."

    The bottom line appears to be, if you take pictures of people without a release there is a certain risk. This risk is minimal. If the picture is done in an editorial context then printed in a newspaper, posted to a website, or printed in a book the usage is probably OK (if taken in a public place). If the image is posted to an image bank for sale or used in an advertisement, the risk goes up substantially.