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Starsphinx

Shooting inside shopping centres and shops - what permissions do you need

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I have done a lot of shooting inside shops and shopping malls both in the UK and abroad. Almost all has been with Canon 5 series cameras and a wide angle lens. 

 

Essentially anywhere inside a shop, or inside a mall/shopping centre is private property. Outside a shop on the street (not in a mall) is in public and no problem. 

 

I havent tended to ask permission because I find most times the answer is no, generally because shop assistants dont actually know and err on the safe side, and once you've asked and been told No, then you've had it.

 

If there are signs saying no photography then I generally dont as my wife wont let me. Unless I shoot from the hip which, once you get used to doing it works quite well.

 

General rules:

 

1. Decide the shot you want beforehand, and have the camera set up accordingly

 

2. Take it fast, take 2 or 3 on fast repeat, and then move on immediately. Look up over peoples heads after taking the shot and dont make eye-contact. 

 

3. Use wide angle lenses, not long lenses

 

4. A small camera like an RX100 will gain less attention. Lots of people will be taking smartphone pictures in shopping malls anyway

 

5. Avoid the mini-hitler security guards who will accost you particularly if you look like me 

 

6. If you have a wife/husband/daughter, take them with you - they give you more credibility, you can pretend you are photographing them, and in shops they can be useful models looking at goods!

 

7. In 14 years I have been escorted out of a mall once; in addition asked not to take photos once in a different mall, and pestered by security guards in a French supermarket till they realised I was not from a rival supermarket checking on their prices

 

8. Shooting from the hip is an excellent technique to practice - nothing to lose!

 

Kumar

 

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32 minutes ago, Doc said:

I havent tended to ask permission because I find most times the answer is no, generally because shop assistants dont actually know and err on the safe side, and once you've asked and been told No, then you've had it.

 

Indeed so, Doc. It's better to apologise afterwards than ask permission beforehand...

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2 hours ago, Doc said:

I have done a lot of shooting inside shops and shopping malls both in the UK and abroad. Almost all has been with Canon 5 series cameras and a wide angle lens. 

 

Essentially anywhere inside a shop, or inside a mall/shopping centre is private property. Outside a shop on the street (not in a mall) is in public and no problem. 

 

I havent tended to ask permission because I find most times the answer is no, generally because shop assistants dont actually know and err on the safe side, and once you've asked and been told No, then you've had it.

 

If there are signs saying no photography then I generally dont as my wife wont let me. Unless I shoot from the hip which, once you get used to doing it works quite well.

 

General rules:

 

1. Decide the shot you want beforehand, and have the camera set up accordingly

 

2. Take it fast, take 2 or 3 on fast repeat, and then move on immediately. Look up over peoples heads after taking the shot and dont make eye-contact. 

 

3. Use wide angle lenses, not long lenses

 

4. A small camera like an RX100 will gain less attention. Lots of people will be taking smartphone pictures in shopping malls anyway

 

5. Avoid the mini-hitler security guards who will accost you particularly if you look like me 

 

6. If you have a wife/husband/daughter, take them with you - they give you more credibility, you can pretend you are photographing them, and in shops they can be useful models looking at goods!

 

7. In 14 years I have been escorted out of a mall once; in addition asked not to take photos once in a different mall, and pestered by security guards in a French supermarket till they realised I was not from a rival supermarket checking on their prices

 

8. Shooting from the hip is an excellent technique to practice - nothing to lose!

 

Kumar

 

Thanks, Doc - that is excellent coverage of the subject.  I knew the private property thing which is why I did not know if people were asking permission or not.  Unfortunately my family members run a mile when I pick up a camera and suggest they join in.  Especially after Christmas when they are flush with cash.  I will have to give a couple of months till they are skint again and will consider going with mum for money lol.

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1 hour ago, Starsphinx said:

Thanks, Doc - that is excellent coverage of the subject.  I knew the private property thing which is why I did not know if people were asking permission or not.  Unfortunately my family members run a mile when I pick up a camera and suggest they join in.  Especially after Christmas when they are flush with cash.  I will have to give a couple of months till they are skint again and will consider going with mum for money lol.

Yes - I bribed my daughters till they were adults and were then surprisingly happy to help!

 

K

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I just use my iPhone... I'm just the bored husband playing with my phone!

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9 minutes ago, Matt Ashmore said:

I just use my iPhone... I'm just the bored husband playing with my phone!

I am an android girl - and until more options appear for android phones that is not an option.  Quite besides which (and if you think this sounds silly it's not half as silly as I look when trying it) I do not know how to use the camera on my phone anymore.  I have got so used to having the proper controls etc that my phone just does not have the buttons and dials I need - and by the time I have worked out how to get the settings I want from menus, the thing I wanted to photograph has usually long gone.    I suppose the silver lining is nobody seeing me trying to take a picture with a phone could possibly mistake me for a professional photographer lol

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Don’t feel bad. As rotten as I am with technology, I’ve never tried controlling my camera with my phone. Makes my head hurt just thinking about it. :P

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1 minute ago, Betty LaRue said:

Don’t feel bad. As rotten as I am with technology, I’ve never tried controlling my camera with my phone. Makes my head hurt just thinking about it. :P

Lol - I can use my phone to control my camera - just an overblow remote really - but I cannot get my head around the camera in my phone.  I tend to just leave it on auto and not even try to control the image lol

 

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Just now, Starsphinx said:

Lol - I can use my phone to control my camera - just an overblow remote really - but I cannot get my head around the camera in my phone.  I tend to just leave it on auto and not even try to control the image lol

 

I see. Your an inch further along than I am.:D

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Just now, Betty LaRue said:

I see. Your an inch further along than I am.:D

Well, to be honest, I probably would struggle with an old film camera as well  - I can just about handle manual focus using an old lens but would be lost without the automatic metering and iso.  Not to mention the limits of 36 exposures.  As for development - I always sent my old point and shoot film cartridges away.

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Posted (edited)

I had a security guy tell me to move on when taking pics OUTSIDE a shopping mall near Glasgow, although I was facing AWAY from the mall photographing across the river (so locals can guess which mall I'm talking about!). He said the land was their private property, and I didn't know the truth of that and when I questioned it, he phoned for reinforcements, so I moved on. As Wim said, "chasing a photographer ... is a lot easier and safer than catching an actual thief. "

That was with a dSLR. Recently I've been using my little Sony, like Betty, even inside shops quite openly, and I'm just a woman photographing possible purchases, or telling her pals about goods in the shop. (Though I haven't been at that particular mall for a while.) I do think in general women get less hassle, but being an 'older' woman and having a decent dSLR does tend to attract attention.

I mark all such pics as editorial only as well as ticking 'no releases'.

Edited by Cryptoprocta

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17 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

Well, to be honest, I probably would struggle with an old film camera as well  - I can just about handle manual focus using an old lens but would be lost without the automatic metering and iso.  Not to mention the limits of 36 exposures.  As for development - I always sent my old point and shoot film cartridges away.

 

Ahh! The good old days of film. It took quite a bit of practice learning how to change film on the run, literally.

 

Allan

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Ahh! The good old days of film. It took quite a bit of practice learning how to change film on the run, literally.

 

Allan

 

 

I did want to do it at GCSE - our school had a dark room and offered the course but there were extra costs involved for the film, paper, chemicals etc and my parents said no.  Mind you they were probably right - I doubt whether I would have made the cut using film - sure I can get good pictures digital but hey I can make 100 attempts without thinking about it.   If I want to try a new technique it doesn't matter how many rubbish attempts hit the floor it doesn't cost me anything.  Then again I do think I missed something with the necessary discipline of basics I would have got with film - no you cannot attempt to take a picture of that small dot quarter of a mile away in the hope you get it spot on enough to enlarge so you can identify it.

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Posted (edited)

So much for craft skills, then. Some of us spent a good while acquiring them.

Edited by spacecadet
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8 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

So much for craft skills, then. Some of us spent a good while acquiring them.

Oh I would happily have spent the time - I just suspect the talent would have been wanting.  Digital has good points and bad points - for me a good point is it lets me create images that look way better than I am.

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12 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

I did want to do it at GCSE - our school had a dark room and offered the course but there were extra costs involved for the film, paper, chemicals etc and my parents said no.  Mind you they were probably right - I doubt whether I would have made the cut using film - sure I can get good pictures digital but hey I can make 100 attempts without thinking about it.   If I want to try a new technique it doesn't matter how many rubbish attempts hit the floor it doesn't cost me anything.  Then again I do think I missed something with the necessary discipline of basics I would have got with film - no you cannot attempt to take a picture of that small dot quarter of a mile away in the hope you get it spot on enough to enlarge so you can identify it.

 

I discovered Diafine (two bath developing solution) when I had film cameras back in the US.  Scanned things, though, and didn't do optical printing.  I think standard developing, fixing, and then going through the same process with the prints was more intimidating that it should have been, and I'm not sure that making good digital work is easier, but it certainly is cheaper.  

 

For anyone wanting to play, get a changing bag, some daylight developing cans, a Diafine kit and some fixative, and have a try with an older medium format camera (I've gotten twin lens reflexes for as little as $60 used in the past).  Scan it and see what you get.  

 

 

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19 hours ago, spacecadet said:

Some of us spent a good while acquiring them

Used to love the enlarger and final print, the chemical process before hand not so much! :lol:

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