Should You Ask Permission to Photograph People?


Should You Ask Permission to Photograph People?

I thought I would pose a question this week. Should you ask permission to photograph people in public places? I have posted an image or two after the jump to get the discussion going and I will be interested to hear what you think!

© Stuart Little 2010

Take the shot above. The man in the picture was unaware that I was taking his picture and if he was aware he was at all he was not concerned at my presence. Although granted I was far enough away that chances are he did not know it was him I was placing in my photograph.

So should I have asked permission? In my view no because that would have taken away from the shot. I like the fact that I am detached from the subject and it allows me to wonder… Where he was going? Who was he on the phone to? What was in the bag?

Chances are he was either about to go for a train or had just got off the train, as we were pretty close to Central Station in Glasgow. But that’s just a guess on my part and thats what makes the image fun!

It keeps you guessing. I also like to think the guy had just collected his lottery winnings and the bag is stuffed full of notes! My over active imagination at work…

If I had interacted with the man and gained his permission, then it would have been a completely different shot and I would have probably of found out all of the answers to the questions above pretty quickly. (I used to be a press-photographer after all)

© Stuart Little 2010

Take this shot of the Apple store that I posted the other week. The couple in the shot were very aware of having their photo taken. How do I know? Well the chap in the long coat smiled and gave me a nod of approval just after this shot was taken.

I smiled back and nodded my head in return. This interaction between to people who have never met is why I love photography. Having that piece of glass and metal between you and your subject is a wonderful excuse to do things you would not normally do. The nod was his way of saying I don’t mind being in your photograph.

There is not a week goes by that I do not read of a photographer being stopped in the street mainly because the police assume you are up to no good and therefore you must be a terrorist.

About the author: Sam Masel

I'm Sam Masel a guy from United Kingdom, I'm a photography enthusiast and had own my photography studio. Here in this site, I'm sharing some of my work and tips for Photography. Hope you like it.

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