PhotoJournalists.. what can happen

Ryan explains what can happen when you come into contact with the public.
It doesn’t happen very often, but somtimes people do freak out when I take their photo. The guy holding the balloons in this post last month stormed over and demanded to know why I was taking his photo. I didn’t want to state the obvious fact that he was a good subject with a few dozen balloons hanging off his arm. For some reason he was worried that his face would be photographed. He has an English accent, anyone from the UK recognise him?

I hate confrontation. Taking photos of people requires that you interact with them. They’re probably strangers so the first impression they get of you is very important. Some can pull it off, some thrive on it. It tires me so I prefer to be a coward and use my zoom lens.
Here’s a hint for any shy street photographers: Wrap the camera strap around your arm, and twirl it around to get rid of the the remaining slack. You can now hold your camera securely in your hand. If you do it right, it’s possible to face the camera forward with your finger or thumb on the shutter button. This photo and many others posted here were taken this way. Sneaky? Possibly. Morally objectionable? Not at all. I rely on my own judgement as to what I publish online or photograph so I consider that the method doesn’t matter.

I didn’t go into town last night – I was tired and when I heard that traffic was bad, well, Futurama and Scrubs were on and I vegged for the first time in ages.

Author: Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

5 thoughts on “PhotoJournalists.. what can happen”

  1. Meeting the telephoto subject can go well once in a while. I was snapping away randomly at the festival of World Cultures a few weeks ago, and caught this pic over a mothers shoulder. I knew it was risky but I decided to go up to them and see if they wanted a copy. They were a bit bewildered as to why I had taken the photo, but were very glad to get a copy of it emailed to them the next day.

  2. That’s great when things work out like that. I keep thinking I should get business cards printed. Scribbling my email address on a piece of paper just doesn’t cut it! When they ask me if I’m from a local paper it would be much nicer if I could hand them a card and tell them to email me.

  3. I got a load of those simple cards printed up from a machine in a shopping centre – Markham Nolan, Freelance journalist, etc. They work a treat and look reasonably professional.

    I didn’t charge for that photo, incidentally, I almost felt like I’d stolen a moment from their weekend so I felt obliged to share it.

  4. Don’t forget, if there’s a chance that you will sell use of the photo then Model Releases may be required so the company using your photo has [written] assurances the subjects in the photo have consented to be in it.
    This is a big deal both major image libraries such as Getty and Stockbyte and their clients.

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