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What do you do when people gets mad for taking pictures of them?

What do you do when people gets mad at you for taking pictures of them? (In public places, of course).

They are some times when you don't have the chance to ask for permission or walk around to let them see that you are just a photographer working and that won't threate them... Sometimes you just shoot...
Some just turn around or go away... but some... get really mad, push you, block you, etc., what do you do? How do you handle the situation?

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In a soft and calm voice I explain to them the purpose of my photography and that in no way am I trying to invade their privacy and what they do in my frame is to help explain the surroundings or event that I am documenting.
I offer to show them the photo while all the time still explaining my purpose, this makes them part of it which often calms the situation.
The next part after you have won them over is to take the opportunity to get a signed model release and to hand them your business card.

Now in the case this doesn't work or go well while showing them the photo I will make a decision at the same time if it is worth keeping in the first place especially based on value and time as often I need to move on, if it doesn't work 100% for me I tell them that while my intentions are honorable I respect their opinion and show them I have deleted the photo.
Once I have deleted the photo I am then done,quickly thank them for the conversation and move on to finish my work.
The key is to calm the situation quickly and fix it or delete it.
Never apoligize as that admits you have done wrong, explain, tell them your name and get their name, use it as much as possible.
One more thought is that when it works and time allows acknowledging the person with a nod and lifting the camera can go a long way.
Absolutely agree on all you have said Pete. On the last note too, often if I have the luxury of time (you don't always) I will deliberately get seen with the camera. This has on many occasions caused me to lose the shot with people moving away, staring at me or in someway altering the shot i wanted to take in the first place. But more often than I expect, I just get ignored which is ideal. Then I shoot away.
Hi there Pete and Saanjeewa!

Thank you for your comment Pete. I agree with all, specially the idea of "Never apologize as that admits you have done wrong", i think that is way too important because it makes you believe in your own work, and that opens doors ahead of you.

And of course it's very related with what you say Saanjeewa, the fact of taking your time -when you can-, it's also a matter of self confidence on your work and it will be posted in every part of the picture.

Thank you both again!

P.S. I took me so much to answer back 'cause i wanted to see all opinions, and see if there where cases like that. My first idea is that not too many joined the discussion may be 'cause never happened to them... of course i see it as a good thing.
Yes, calm is a big fact. Thank you!
Hey Carlos - my feeling is that you just need to put yourself on that situation more and get comfortable with it - after a while you'll feel less threatened by the situation and deal with it better - that was my experience with the same issue - best regards - Haydn
Yes Haydn, i think so too. It's very interesting, some times i've seen that shooting with fear seems to generate fear also in the subjects, and is not a matter of not having consideration for the subject it self but, as you say "get comfortable" with what you are doing or even better: how you are doing it. That also applies when you have works that you just don't find interesting or don't want to do them, don't you think? As long as you don't feel good doing it, shooting, not with the assignment but with the action of taking pictures, you just don't seem to connect.

Thank you for your ideas!
Hey Carlos - my feeling is that you just need to put yourself on that situation more and get comfortable with it - after a while you'll feel less threatened by the situation and deal with it better - that was my experience with the same issue - best regards - Haydn
as previously said: never say sorry, it means you did something wrong.

when your intentions wasn't bad - you can come back and explain.

people afraid the camera because of bad intentions. they donot want to be in negative aspect on the picture or worst - the publication in newpaper.

it's really hard to explain people who donot trust photographer that we are not invaders. sometimes their experience with photographers was bad and we simply cannot change it.
Yes Marcin, and when they can't change, they just can't... So, it's may be better to go away. Don't you think?

Thanks for the comment!
Carlos, it's not so simple. because of that most of photographers just shoot and escape, all of photographers working on documentary/photojournalistic themes are seen as f**kn paparazzi.

so my idea (it's not working all the time) is not to be seen as paparazzi. the smaller camera the better.
this work great with all social themes.

there is something - which can be deliberate as unethical or breaking some religion's rules but I've heard it from one of the best photographers I've met:

sometimes you will have to lie to tell the truth.

it can mean cheating like pretending that we are taking pics of something else (like architecture), and taking a few for situation like 'what you are doing' - just to show them.

for short assigment you probably have less time to work out relations with people than you need/want.

when we are hurry, we make mistakes - these with relations with people too.


You have made a good point: PAPARAZZI are not photojournalist, but be careful... photojournalist CAN BE (or BECOME), PAPARAZZI...

And all this have all the relation with all the other comments, what Pete, Sanjeewa, John, Haydn and you said. And the connection it's, in deed, photojournalism. It's not just being photographers, but photojournalists.That makes a huge difference. That is the school that we need, and i don't talk about academy (or not only).

Thanks again!


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