Wrong thing to do.
At the local park, I saw a youngster with a new yellow bike. He was a cute kid and I asked him if I could snap his picture. He put on his helmet and posed, giving me a charming photo. But, now, I feel it was not the proper thing to do in this day & age. He was only about 8 years. I think I taught him that it was alright to respond to a stranger, (I probably looked like his granny).

Won't happen again...

Comments (18)

So sad that the joy has been extinguished in taking genuine photos like that, especially as the kid will have been so pleased you showed an interest. Our society is much the poorer thanks to stranger danger, and of course the bad ones out there have to come from somewhere. But you're right, even if you look like a granny it is important that you ask the parent or adult guardian first. And then there are model release issues if you post the photo..

John.Please visit me at:

Comment #1

I wouldn't take a picture of a child anywhere anytime for any reason. the photographer is simply taking too much of a chance. the only exception would be if the parent is standing next to you, even then the permission had better be written not verbal...

Comment #2

I would always ask an accompanying adult to take a childs photo. But it's not like you asked him to get into your car or anything!Chris, Broussard, LA..

Comment #3

If you're a woman without male company you're probably allright. And you did ask permission. Then again, if you live in teh USA....Don't wait for the Nikon D-whatever, have fun now!

Comment #4

It's difficult to teach children how to deal with strangers. "Stranger danger" as a concept is pushed too hard by some people. If a child is in trouble or lost, they may have to be willing to approach a stranger for help. Learning to discriminate in identifying who may or may not be appropriate to approach is difficult..

It probably would have been best to contact an accompnying adult first, but you probably shouldn't beat yourself up over it. One might wonder where the supervision was..

I doubt the considerations are any different anywhere. It's not a US thing anymore than we could derive from the current publicity over Madeleine McCann or Natascha Kampusch that Europe is awash with kidnappers...

Comment #5

If there's a parent there I ask permission and in the last nine years I've had one parent say I couldn't take a picture. When I visit the U.S. I don't take pictures of children unless I know the parents well..

Patrick T. KellyOaxaca, Mexico..

Comment #6

...however I live in a country which is quite different than USA..


Comment #7

I also think its completely normal..

Having less then 0.001% of perversions in population doesn't mean that our kids should be afraid of all people around!.

I teach my kids to be cautious....Person with camera is not one with axe sneaking into night window..

I live in USA..


Comment #8

Yea, you got the crucial part right... "living in the USA"__________________________.


Comment #9

I live in the USA too. I didn't realize taking pictures here or anywhere was considered such a huge risk. I think I'll just keep on using my common sense, common courtesy, and keep on doing like I have been. I've yet to have anyone take issue with me and my picture taking..


Comment #10

How times have changed..

It is common courtesy (and always has been), I think, to ask parents or guardians permission to take a photo of their child. The pity is that these days a failure to ask that permission is not just seen as an oversight, or bad manners - it's almost an indictable offence..

You shouldn't feel this incident weighing on your conscience, or as something you should never do again. Please don't feel that way - for all our sakes! .

By all means feel that you should ask parent or guardian before taking the shot. But never, ever, feel that you shouldn't take the shot..

This was taken about 30 years ago. I'd probably be challenged (at the very least) by nearby adults if I took it today. And what I'd like to think is a pretty good photo would have never been taken..

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Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #11

Well, what bothers me is that this little guy was so trusting. He was by himself with no adults nearby. Had I stopped to think, I never would have taken the shot. A lesson learned for me. My eighty year old brain needs to move into the twenty-first century...

Comment #12

The first year I judged a science fair for 7-12 graders I took some pictures. After thinking about it I stopped taking them and now only take shots of the projects..

As one former co-worker told me once "it's a different world then when we grow up". To me somethings better somethings lost...

Comment #13

Piecemaker, I wouldn't feel too bad about what you did. True, I do tend to agree that the right thing to do would be to ask a parent permission if you are taking a picture of their child (if child is main subject in picture, if just in the background, a different story). Obviously you are not one of the .01% of people whose intentions are less than wholesome. Unfortunately, the people you have to worry about are going to be those who not only will not ask permission but you won't even know they are taking a picture (hidden cam, shoe cam for upskirt shots, etc)..

You didn't make the child more comfortable around strangers. Obviously the child has some comfort, at least around you, and by you not doing it in the first place wouldn't change that, nor do I think what you did make him more susceptible to "stranger danger.".

But like others have said, in this day and age, parents have to be careful. I have a young daughter. If somebody asked permission to take her picture, it woudl really depend on the circumstances and who was taking the picture. I'd be more inclined to give permission to a lady than a man, and then an older person vs. a younger person. Again, it would depend on the circumstances.

A single snap can be dissemated millions of times over. So you really have to trust that the person snapping the picture won't be doing anything you don't want done with the image..

But all in all, obviously your intentions were not bad, so you shouldn't feel bad..

Just trying to learn.


Comment #14

When we were visiting Disneyland several years ago, an elderly man asked to take a picture of our 5 year old daughter. We were delighted to give our permission. If he had not asked our permission I probably wouldn't have thought it was a big deal but it was a courtesy...

Comment #15

It is a shame what these perverts have done to all our lives!.

We should not take picture of children or women , can't touch anyone, should not give a lift to a stranded motorist or a hich hiker, Don't leave your child with a priest, what has this world come to?Since I learned, shooting with film,... I think negative!..

Comment #16

I have on several occasions shot children's dance shows where I have an involvement as a parent or whatever (Avaliable light photos). I have always asked permission of the organisers but, of course, do not have permission from individual parents. I have posted those photos online in a gallery with a password which I have passed on to the organisers..

As for the OPs problem - sad but a fact of life..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.


Comment #17

Chris Elliott wrote:.

I have on several occasions shot children's dance shows where I havean involvement as a parent or whatever (Avaliable light photos)..


I think taking pictures at any "public event" like a little league game, a dance recital or a class play, a parade, a company picnic, a school graduation, etc... is an entirely different thing..

Parents come armed with cameras to take pictures of their kids and their friends, and only a kook would get upset about their child being photographed under those circumstances..

The question normally pops up where a camera is not expected. Like, in a restaurant, or at a school playground..

Personally, I do feel the whole matter is an overreaction to a serious problem. And, I am a father of five children, so I know there is already too much stuff to worry about..

Usually, people only get upset when they see a photographer pointing something in their direction. And often, just asking permission will make them suspiscious. The rarely get upset, or even think about, the THOUSANDS of video cams that photograph us hundreds of times a day at banks, stores, even public streets and sidewalks..

I think part of the reason for this is our own perception of "intent." We understand why we are being photographed at a bank or at an ATM, or while shopping in a department store. We get suspicious about people photographing us in what we consider "private places.".

But, the truth is.... there really are very few "private places" left in this world...MartyPanasonic FZ7, FZ20, FZ30, LX2Olympus C4000, C7000..

Comment #18

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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