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The Don’ts of Street Photography

  • As with any art form, street photography comes with its own set of rules, guidelines, and ethical considerations. While much attention is given to what should be done to capture compelling photographs, it is equally crucial to understand what should not be done. These are practices that can infringe on people’s rights, disrespect cultural norms, or simply result in poor quality images.
  • The laws regarding photography can vary greatly from one country or region to another. While in some places, public photography is largely unrestricted, in others, there can be stringent laws about who, what, and where you can photograph. Ignorance of these laws may lead to fines, legal trouble, or in extreme cases, imprisonment.
  • It’s crucial to respect privacy laws when photographing in public spaces. This means avoiding invasive shots or capturing individuals in compromising situations without consent. Photographers should also understand intellectual property rights, as photographing certain landmarks, buildings, or artwork can infringe on these rights.
  • General ethical rules in street photography encompass a variety of aspects. Foremost among these is the principle of respect. Street photographers should strive to respect their subjects, considering their feelings and reactions. Additionally, photographers should avoid taking photos that may exploit, embarrass, or harm an individual.
  • Another ethical rule pertains to manipulation. The strength of street photography lies in its spontaneity and truthfulness, thus overly staged or manipulated photos can contradict the genre’s spirit.