Understand the Norms of Shooting Inside a City

 

This article was originally published in October 2012.

While you find innumerable shooting opportunities within a city, you also need to adhere to certain unwritten rules in order to successfully make the kind of photos you desire.

Even big cities and towns allow you the opportunity to shoot ancient architecture. Photograph/Kewal Gala.

Even big cities and towns allow you the opportunity to shoot ancient architecture. Photograph/Kewal Gala.

Do Not Hesitate
Even if you are as inconspicuous as possible, there will be people who will raise objections to your photography. Bystanders, watchmen, custodians of the law may pose different questions or may try to stop you from shooting. It is understandable and almost expected, in a way. In this age of extreme security measures and paranoia, people are bound to be curious. Answer their queries patiently and respectfully. However, if you are in the right, you should not stop shooting. As long as you are not breaking the law, you should explain your intentions clearly.

While Shooting Women
It is always better to take permission if you wish to capture a portrait of a woman. Tell them what you intend to portray and promise them to show the image after you have shot it. If asked in the right manner, most people will not mind, but if someone says no, do not try and force them. Move on and look for some other subject.

It is always wise to take permission before you click a picture of a person, especially women. Photograph/Saikat Mukherjee.

It is always wise to take permission before you click a picture of a person, especially women. Photograph/Saikat Mukherjee.

Respecting Our Monuments
Indian cities are a treasure house for those who wish to shoot ancient architecture, but one should remember that these places are part of our heritage and we should take all possible precautions while photographing them. For instance, the law does not allow you to use a tripod while shooting at a heritage site, as this may leave scratches on the floor. The use of flash is also prohibited at some places. If the monument has some religious significance, always ask if there are any restrictions on photography.

Permissions in Writing
In India, you are not allowed to shoot at places of military importance like airports, bridges, sensitive border regions. You are also disallowed from shooting inside government buildings. If you still want to shoot inside such places, you may need to take special permissions for the same, in writing. This may be a time-consuming process, but if you have a great concept that you have in mind, there is no harm in going through it.

Tags: airports, border regions, bridges, city, don'ts, dos, flash, floor, government buildings, heritage, law, monument, norms, order, permission, politeness, religious, rules, scratches, strangers, Tripod