When you do extraordinary things to get an extraordinary picture, I have found that it is important to be prepared with a good response to give anyone who might be questioning what you’re up to.
In Indiana a few weeks ago, I was enjoying the warmth of the sunlight pouring over a nice big bean field with a picturesque little barn in the background. I was minding my own business when a small white car drove past real slow like. Then it turned around and stopped. I walked up, said hi and gave the lady a business card in return for a barrage of detailed questions. Having seen a car with an out-of-state license plate parked off to the side in a nearby driveway must have initially aroused her suspicion.
But these kind of conversations are very important. It helps the freelance photographer be discreet and stay in a position where everyone feels safe and comfortable. A good photographer will consider the following:
- Do not trespass, by sticking close to roads and public places.
- If people are around, greet them, and ask them if you may go in certain places or take pictures of certain things.
- Do not take pictures of peoples houses.
- Don’t block mailboxes, sidewalks, driveways or signs with where you park your car.
- Keep a sign in your car window with a name and phone-number or even a word about why you’re there; stick close to your car.
- Watch that you are not the victim; do not give away unnecessary information.
- And don’t do anything you wouldn’t do if you knew someone was watching!
From police officers to pedestrians, I’ve been asked what I’ve been up to many times. This is good, because it means folks are doing their job of keeping a safe and controlled community. It’s the photographers responsibility to do what’s expected of him to do the same.