Summer in the Cities: Kids

“Passers-By” – Saint Paul, MN

Here is the next installment of my “Summer in the Cities” blog series. As I have been shooting quite a bit this summer, I figured I should start posting some of the shots. So here goes.

In case you missed the first iteration, you should check that out.

In the first post, I rambled about why I found it harder to shoot in the Twin Cities than other places. Today is another topic: shooting kids. More specifically, shooting other people’s kids.

“Transfixed” – Saint Paul, MN

How do you make photographs of other people’s kids without looking like a creep? Well, I find that this is a delicate issue. For obvious reasons, the times that we live in mean that this is something that we need to be careful with. As street photographers, we shoot the streets to get good photographs of interesting things happening in front of our lens. Let’s face it: kids are interesting. They are photogenic. They are usually doing crazy things and don’t much care what others think of them. This is what makes them fun to shoot.

However, some parents may be put off by a stranger taking a picture of their kid, especially if their kid is of a certain age. How do you get around this? I’m not really sure I have the answer, but I have some ideas that might help.

“Playground” – Saint Paul, MN

First, don’t look like a creep. That will go a long way toward helping put people at ease. That means you don’t disguise what you are doing; if you look like you’re hiding something, people will be suspicious.

Second, I go out with my own son a lot. If people see that you have a kid roughly the same age, it makes them feel better. Plus, they probably just figure that you’re taking pictures of your own kid, and not theirs. As with shooting anyone in the streets, most people assume that you are shooting something other than themselves–after all, why would you shoot someone you don’t know? (There are plenty of reasons, actually, but people who aren’t street photographers don’t usually get it.)

“Shopping” – Minneapolis, MN

Finally, if someone asks you about it, just be honest. You did take the kid’s picture, so don’t hide it. If they ask you do delete it (and you’re shooting digital), do so. If you’re shooting film, respectfully explain that to them–or just tell them you were shooting something else and it just looked like you were taking pictures of their kid. They can’t see the picture, so they won’t really know. Up to you, and it depends on the situation, but people are rightfully protective and sensitive when it comes to their kids.

And you don’t want to get beat up.

I hope you enjoy my work, and if you do, let me know in the comments below. Got an anecdote or advice about shooting kids? Any bad experiences or other things to share? Use the comments below to do so!

-Trevor

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2 thoughts on “Summer in the Cities: Kids

  1. Yeah, I think the most important point is to not act like a creep. It’s easier to shoot kids in festival or other celebratory situations, just because many people will have cameras and will be shooting the activity. But to this day I shy away from street photography of kids; I just can’t get up the nerve!

    You posted a grouping here, especially “Transfixed.”

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