I was reading a post yesterday from one of the blogs that I follow, and it was talking about people who don't want to have their photos taken. Now, I can understand that to a point. I really can. I am sometimes really not in the mood to have my photo taken at all. But there are times and places where it should be acceptable, and there are ways to handle it without offending the photographer or making them angry.
I commented on Kimberly Gauthier's post yesterday with one of the experiences that I'd had with a person who did not want to have their photo taken who I thought had reacted very very badly. But I experienced worse today, and I thought that I would share the experience.
I tend to take photos of anything I see. I understand that people don't particularly like to have their photographs taken, and I tend not to take too many of other people unless they are at events or doing something exceptional. I am not a big street photographer, because I understand that people don't like to have their photos taken, and I am shy and tend to avoid confrontation.
Tonight I was at a game of bowls. I was playing this week, so I did not have much time to find a subject for a photo. Not wanting to take of the people playing, I saw a drink lying in the grass. So I lay down in the grass and took a photo of it. Next thing I know, the owner of the drink has approached me and starts shouting at me for taking a photo of his drink. Now, I would understand perfectly if this was a photo of him that he was concerned about. That would make perfect sense to me. I can equally understand if I was in the way of his game or was somehow distracting him. I ensured that I was not on the pitch, not in the way and, aside from taking a quick snap, was not being a nuisance. And yet he was so rude about it, that I almost burst into tears. I was horrified. I hate confrontation, but particularly so when I feel it is undeserved.
Now, had the guy approached me and spoken to me nicely, told me that I was distracting or that I was in the way somehow, I would have understood slightly better. Not much, because I don't think taking a photograph of a bottle in the grass when you are 100m away on the other side of the green is cause for panic. It was not like I touched the drink or anything. I just saw it, saw that the light was good and decided to go for it. But I still would not have walked away feeling angry and hurt.
There are ways to react to not wanting a photograph taken and there are ways not to. Being rude is not going to get you anywhere. Shouting is only going to cause anger and resentment. Understanding and explaining, those help a lot. If you are kind about it and ask nicely, you are more likely to get a positive response from the photographer rather than a defensive one.