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Photography Etiquette

  • Photography Etiquette

It is fun to shoot and edit pictures, but just like any other activities, there are unspoken rules that are to be followed. When you take your camera out to shoot pictures, you, as a photographer, must remain professional and courteous at all time. Even if you are shooting in the wilderness and not interacting with any individuals, you must still respect the nature and, more importantly, respect your own photos. Here are some of the photography etiquette that I gathered and compiled based on my experience.

Etiquette #1 – Take Nothing, Leave Nothing

Whenever you go out to take pictures, you must not alter the environment by adding or removing objects. There is a story where a group of photographers were taking pictures in a paddy field with several scarecrows in it. Some of the photographers, feeling that the positioning of the scarecrows does not have the effect they want, moved all of them aside so they do not interfere with the photo shoot. At the end of the day, many of these scarecrows are either laying around broken or taken by the photographers as souvenirs. Needless to say, the farmer who owned the field was very upset.

Etiquette #2 – Respect Others

As a photographer, you must always respect those who are you taking pictures of and get their permission before snapping the shots. It is true that the law does not prevent you from taking pictures of people in public places, and that is why paparazzi is able to get away with what they do. However, you should always put yourself in others’ shoes and understand what it is like to be on the other side of the lens. How will you feel if someone walks up to you and begin taking pictures of you or your kids without your consent?

Etiquette #3 – Do Not Disturb

Couple years ago, I was on the famous Lombard Street in San Francisco doing what tourists do – taking not-so-professional pictures with my digital camera. Just as I finished taking pictures, a group of young tourists next to me noticed how beautifully decorated the driveway of one of the nearby houses is, they swarmed the driveway to take pictures, and the owner of the house was not very happy about it. As photographers, we must always respect others’ privacy and never disturb them if they want to be left alone.

Etiquette #4 – Keep It True

When we take a picture, we are documenting what we see. It may be tempting to edit photos to make it more appealing, and it is perfectly fine to do so. However, the photo should still resemble the reality as much as possible. Heavily edited photos that appears on fashion magazines are often the centers of controversy regarding societal value, and as photographers who document the truth, we should avoid putting ourselves in the hot water.

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