Purple, or Photographing People Etiquette

I had to go through my pictures archive trying to find something appropriate enough for my entry of Purple. It wasn’t easy, and whenever I find one there’s not much room to explore the picture. And so I thought I can expand a comment i was asked about. The inquiry pertains to taking and posting pictures of strangers.

1. I honestly don’t know if there such rules or any guidelines needed to abide by or such written in stone etiquette to follow when it comes to posting pictures of random people. I just know that most blogs and websites do post it.

2. I don’t (or I don’t think I) post anything inappropiate. Nothing heinous, nor in my opinion, hideous. Nothing illegal, crime-related, politically heavy, revealing nor anything controversial.

3. I think it’s completely okay when the subjects are part of an event such as shows, parade, contest, etc. Others, I don’t really have to ask people to take picture of them. If they ever ask me to delete their pictures, I would immediately erase it. If anybody shows any form of irritation or discomfort while I was taking pictures, I would stop or I just wouldn’t post their picture. Any of this never really happened to me, except for when I was in Venice Beach taking a picture of the art that the vendors sell. Somebody asked me to delete what I took and so I did. Whenever I enter a museum, I always ask for a thumb up if photography is allowed.

3. In cases when the subject is completely a stranger or a random person, I try as much to maximize anonymity. I do this by making the area bigger and the person smaller. Choosing subjects with their face not directly facing the camera view. I have a lot to where the person is facing backwards or far afar that it minimizes their identity.

4. I don’t act like a paparazzi. I don’t stalk or follow people around. It’s not like I hide behind the bush. I’m usually not stationary either. I’m wide in the open with my camera that is so visible.

5. I do have a zoom photo lens and a macro. I did have pictures of people that are completely random people. Just like I said, I see other people doing it. Some, perhaps, don’t even have a filter or some form of limitation. I do have pictures that are grey area, yellow light, on the borderline. If anyone asked me to delete their pictures that I have posted, I would do so immediately without hesitation.

6. A lot of times before, I do get to talk to my subjects. California is a mecca for people-watching. Other touristy places, I think the crowd is always part of the location.

7. If I see myself in a page of someone I don’t know, I will be very mad. Just kidding *big grin*. I wouldn’t have any beef about it, unless of course, it’s beyond the limit.

She is one of my memorable, favorite subject. This was taken during the Crawfish Festival in Los Angeles. She is one of the dancers that goes around the venue doing it Mardi Gras Louisiana Style. She asked me if I can show her the pictures I took. I was never gonna hide it. She is gorgeous, appealing and very lively. I even let her know that.

So, what are your own views and etiquette when it comes to posting other people’s photograph?


23 replies »

  1. I think these two pictures are etiquette friendly, because neither seems to be invading a personal space or catching people doing something awkward. I am unsure exactly what etiquette might be, but I think about it a lot when I travel.

    I have heard stories of people traveling overseas who take pictures of people in poverty, even when the people in poverty say no and try to cover their faces. The people in these pictures do not seem “exploited” in anyway by your camera.

  2. I, too, have wrestled with this. I don’t take pictures of people to sell or to increase political awareness – as professional photojournalist do. I don’t know if it is ethically correct, but I kind of assume that public space is well… public space. People make really interesting subjects and help us tell the story of where we are. I do think about safety because I have pictures and stories about business in St. Petersburg Russia shortly after Perestroika that I would love to post but I’m concerned for the well-being of the friend I was visiting and her family. Of course I’m being a bit arrogant thinking that that many people read my blog. πŸ™‚ I guess we have to keep things in perspective. HaHa.

  3. Both lovely photos Rommel. As you say people who take part in events should expect to be photographed, otherwise don’t dress up and make your self look interesting. It’s random people in the street I worry about snapping, you can ask but then you ‘ve lost the moment of realness. So occasionally I try to be discreet and hope that I won’t offend.

    • Awesome point, Gilly. It would feel like staging it when you ask. Then again, catching them spontaneously is, like you implied, almost kind of like more sneaky in a way. Spontaniety is always good, you just gotta pick and stay on the limit when you do decide how much you post, I guess.

    • I’m not! Hehe. I do get taken back when I’m about to post their picture though. 😦 Actually, even pictures of my firiends and others I know personally.

    • WHOA! Those are the three colors, isn’t it? I look at my pictures of the day and those are the main colors that appeared, esp for the crawfish obviously. πŸ˜€

  4. Thank you so much for reading my Servants of Charity blog. I have enjoyed looking at your photography, you have an artistic eye for composition. I agree with your thoughts on photographing strangers. I would never publish an unattractive photograph of anyone because I would ask the same of others.

  5. Beautiful pictures Rommel. Colorful and attractive! I am bit shy, so I am not good at capturing people with my lens, as I am not sure how they would react. But sometimes I ask for their permission to their picture. Great post.

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