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Thread started 24 Mar 2014 (Monday) 10:07
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Event photography: Declining personal photo requests

 
CAPhotog
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Mar 24, 2014 10:07 |  #1

As the hired photographer at an event, what are your polite ways of turning down personal photo requests? Years ago, if someone handed you their own camera asking, "Do you mind?", it was easy to politely decline with, "I'm sorry, but I'm working right now." Sometimes it's fine for the atmosphere or even quicker to just take the shot for them. Today, however, everyone has a smartphone and the culture at events has changed. Assigned to a shot list and pressed for time, the personal photos can be an obstacle to getting work done. Not to mention, you do it for one person and three other phones are whipped out with eager guests mugging duck face or hand gestures. So, what's your quickest response to focus on the work without coming off rudely?




  
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Mar 24, 2014 10:14 |  #2

Direct them to the event coordinator. Just deflecting the issue to someone that makes the decisions can take the burden away. Depends on the event though. I usually oblige, if there's time. Quickly capture whatever it is and move on.


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Mar 24, 2014 10:22 |  #3

I did this recently, but I felt like a real jerk afterwards:
A person asked me to take a photo of them with their i-phone. I told them "I've never used one before but that I'd be happy to try." That was a lie, I have one. When I was lining up the picture, I discreetly flipped the switch to use the front side camera and then gave them a picture of me. As I handed them the phone, I said "I don't think it worked right, but it is a beautiful picture!"


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gonzogolf
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Mar 24, 2014 10:23 |  #4

I'd never take a photo them with their I-Phone, but if I can accommodate a guest with a shot from my camera I will.




  
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CAPhotog
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Mar 24, 2014 10:55 |  #5

gonzogolf wrote in post #16782206 (external link)
I'd never take a photo them with their I-Phone, but if I can accommodate a guest with a shot from my camera I will.

Well, that's the other side of the coin. You still need to say something to decline when they're seeking something immediate for Instagram or Facebook. Some people are also not on the shot list or photo-worthy. Even if they are, they may automatically do inappropriate poses as their signature. Never mind if I'm shooting for a particular look or style. There's also the ones who want an ever-expanding group shot as they call over their friends one at a time. Some of this is not new, but more prevalent and seemingly part of the cultural shift. For instance, photo bombs are just a thing that people now do even at some formal events. Used to be the official photographer was given space to do his work.




  
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cory1848
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Mar 24, 2014 11:02 |  #6

If I am hired, I just tell them I am not allowed to shoot with other peoples cameras. I say its a liability issue and most understand that even if its not true.


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gonzogolf
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Mar 24, 2014 11:05 |  #7

CAPhotog wrote in post #16782300 (external link)
Well, that's the other side of the coin. You still need to say something to decline. Some people are also not on the shot list or photo-worthy. Even if they are, they may automatically do inappropriate poses as their signature. Never mind if I'm shooting for a particular look or style. There's also the ones who want an ever-expanding group shot as they call over their friends one at a time. Some of this is not new, but more prevalent so seemingly part of the cultural shift. For instance, photo bombs are just a thing that people now do even at some formal events. Used to be the official photographer was given space to do his work.

My point is if you go in and make it about you, and what you will and will not do, you are setting a bad tone which will likely project. If its not convenient, I'll say grab me later, or I cant right now. If its really important to the guest they will come back, or if not let it slide with no feelings hurt.




  
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Mar 24, 2014 13:20 |  #8

depends on the situation and the client. but if I have time I will try to accommodate and take a picture. If I have a line up or am pressed to get other work done, I will decline telling them I can't right now, but come back in a bit when there is a lull and I will. Most won't come back, but for the ones that do, I will take the photo.

I don't find this happens all that much anyway, so it has never gotten out of hand.

Personally, I am of the opinion, that if I am there for a client, and if taking the picture makes my client look better in the eyes of that person, I will do it. If the client is okay with it. of course there are times where it may not be appropriate, in that case I would politely let them know I can't do that.


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Mar 24, 2014 15:39 |  #9

CAPhotog wrote in post #16782156 (external link)
As the hired photographer at an event, what are your polite ways of turning down personal photo requests? Years ago, if someone handed you their own camera asking, "Do you mind?", it was easy to politely decline with, "I'm sorry, but I'm working right now." Sometimes it's fine for the atmosphere or even quicker to just take the shot for them. Today, however, everyone has a smartphone and the culture at events has changed. Assigned to a shot list and pressed for time, the personal photos can be an obstacle to getting work done. Not to mention, you do it for one person and three other phones are whipped out with eager guests mugging duck face or hand gestures. So, what's your quickest response to focus on the work without coming off rudely?

...it really depends on what your relationship is with your client and what service you offer. I would only say no to taking someone's photo with their own camera if I was seconds away from missing something on my shot list, like a speaker about to speak. Otherwise I take other peoples photos with their camera all the time: in fact I will even offer to take a photo for a group of people with their cellphone if I see them struggling to get a shot with all of them in it. People always understand if you are in reality too busy to help them out. It only becomes a problem if you aren't really busy but pretend that you are.


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Mar 24, 2014 16:27 |  #10

I usually don't mind,but there were times when I couldn't due to a lot of work and I usually say either: Unfortunately I can't do it due to insurance liability issues, very sorry" or "my clients specifically asked me to not to do it and concentrate on work" Nobody ever seemed offended.
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Mar 24, 2014 18:53 |  #11

A few months ago, a big fight about the ethical angle on this issue occurred on this forum. Some participants held the position that if you're paid by the hour and you use any time during the event to do something that won't benefit your client, you probably beat your spouse and kick puppies. It got nasty.


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Mar 24, 2014 21:57 |  #12

OhLook wrote in post #16783530 (external link)
A few months ago, a big fight about the ethical angle on this issue occurred on this forum. Some participants held the position that if you're paid by the hour and you use any time during the event to do something that won't benefit your client, you probably beat your spouse and kick puppies. It got nasty.

...that wasn't the position held by other photographers at all.


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Mar 24, 2014 22:01 |  #13

banquetbear wrote in post #16783962 (external link)
...that wasn't the position held by other photographers at all.

I wasn't speaking literally. My description got the gist, though.


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Mar 24, 2014 22:15 |  #14

If it is a slow time and nothing is going on I would ask them to set it up for me. A lot of times I will use them as a subject..but if your busy shooting, just say, hold on for a few and get lost in the crowd. Do you think your the only one who can hold a phone or point and shoot?

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Mar 24, 2014 22:38 |  #15

OhLook wrote in post #16783970 (external link)
I wasn't speaking literally. My description got the gist, though.

...no it doesn't . In the other thread you suggested it would be appropriate to market images to people other than your client. The feedback you received from working event photographers was that idea was largely unworkable and you were given several reasons why which you disagreed with. The position held by other photographers wasn't "you couldn't do anything else with our time". It was we have been booked by our client to cover their event: our clients shouldn't have to worry about their images turning up on a gossip site.


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Event photography: Declining personal photo requests
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