Stranger Taking Pictures of Your Kids

[deleted account] ( 32 moms have responded )

I'm wondering if anyone has had an experience of strangers taking pictures of your kids when they were out in public. My family just took a beach vacation on Lake Michigan. We were in an area that is well-known for beautiful sunsets and it's not uncommon for photographers to be on the beach. My 3 YO twins were playing in the sand as the sun started to go down. There was a man on the beach taking pictures of the sun as it was settling down. The boys were running around in front of him, laughing and dancing in the sand. They were wearing identical outfits and are obviously twins. The man watched them for a few seconds and then started taking pictures of the boys playing. I noticed it, had a moment of concern, and then decided I wasn't going to worry about it too much. My husband was less comfortable with it. My husband made a comment to me about it and I shrugged it off. Sensing Tim's displeasure, the man stopped taking pictures of the boys and started to take pictures of the sunset again.

My thoughts on this were that it was probably harmless. Maybe potentially weird, but not too much to be concerned about. I do have some "gut" concern about my kids pictures ending up on perverts website, but I feel that there isn't much I can do about that short of covering their heads when they are out in public a la Michael Jackson style. I guess I would have been more concerned if we weren't at an area known for photographers hanging out (like if we were at the playground or something). I know there was a case locally of a known and convicted pedophile who was visiting playgrounds and photographing kids and he was run out of town over it. In fact, the prosecutor researched whether it was a potential parole violation (it wasn't because he didn't have direct contact and wasn't close enough to the kids (damn telephoto lenses!!)).

I just wondering what other moms thoughts on this were. Would you say something to the photographer in this circumstance? What if you were somewhere else like the mall or a park?


Lissa - posted on 09/02/2011




My husband is doing a photography degree at the moment. His opinion is if children are in something he is shooting then he would be more than happy to show the pictures to the parents and delete them if the parents requested. As he says any photographer worth his salt would understand your objections and delete.
Depending on where you live if you are in a public place you can be photographed, as being in public there is no expectation of privacy, as long as no decency laws are being broken.
If you ask a photographer to stop taking pictures of your children and they refuse or if you suspect something sinister is going on then contact the police who can then investigate.

Charlie - posted on 09/08/2011




I wonder if it would have been of the same concern if a woman was taking the photos.

I find men are often treated as though their motives are sinister and discrimited against whenever they show interest in children or typically "feminine" things whether its taking photos , teaching kindergarden , taking their daughter to the toilet with hysterical mums assuming they are perverts , airlines not letting kids sit next to them when travelling alone , and most recently when a 24 year old guy congratulated a women on her tandem nursing photo a few mums screamed "PERVERT" um yeah he explained he is very much pro breastfeeding due to his mother being a lamaze teacher and wholly believes in the benefits and just wanted her to encourage her to continue with the good job.

Of course there are creeps out there but men really get the short end of the stick sometimes .....It shits me because I have two sons who will have to face this.

[deleted account]

I would say something. But I am an ex-police officer and have seen paedophiles' activities up close and personal. To be fair, this man *may* just be a keen photographer, fair enough- but any fool with any sense in this day and age should have the sense to ask the parents' permission- if they have nothing to hide that is.

Christina - posted on 09/08/2011




From the circumstances, I have a feeling he was just trying to get some cute candid shots of a couple of cute kids. My sister is a big photography buff, and she is constantly taking pictures of my kids doind ordinary things and they turn out beautiful. Granted, he didn't know your kids - but he wasn't trying to hide the fact he was taking pictures, so I bet he's like my sister and just takes pictures of everything cute, pretty, or interesting that he sees. It would be a LOT creepier if he was taking picture with a telephoto lens, or was trying to conceal himself.

Merry - posted on 09/09/2011




I agree loureen, matts guy friends tease him all the time about how he is ok with me nursing Eric still. They think he's weird for tolerating it, and even more so for supporting it. He always asks new moms he meets how breastfeeding is going :) he says sometimes they seem really uncomfortable but he wants to normalize it so he continues :)

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User - posted on 07/06/2012




My daughter was approached recently on a school trip in a public place and was asked by a man if he could take her picture. She didn't say yes, she froze in shock, he took out his camera phone anyway, took a picture and walked off.

I'm wondering for what purpose would a stranger approach a CHILD and ask to take her picture?? She felt very uncomfortable about it and by the time the alarm was raised to the teachers he'd gone......

[deleted account]

Oh no, noone takes photos of my child without consent. They would get a fast visit from some friends of ours in a "special law enforcement" unit and get a whole lot of uncomfortable questions asked. I have no tolerance for the possibility of weirdos using shots of my kid.

Kathy - posted on 09/10/2011




I can certainly understand people's concerns and i think you have to take each incident individually, but most photographers, professional or hobbyist would understand there is an etiquette to photographing children. Maybe he didn't want to stop shooting to ask permission for fear of missing a good shot(sun going down and all) but afterward he should have made an effort to talk with you. You would have been well with your rights to walk over and talk with him and just get an idea of what he was about, and any photographer with any ethics would not minded you showing concern.
That being said, don't let the media scare you into not letting your kids enjoy a beautiful beach or a playground just because you might hear a report about some "unknown person" taking photos near a school or park

Merry - posted on 09/08/2011




I'm pretty sure Eric was in some pictures a lady took at the park today, she was photographing her girl going down the slide and Eric was going down alongside her so I'm sure Eric was in some shots. Doesn't bother me at all, I guess it might be because it was obviously coincidental since she was photographing her girl all over the park. I bet Eric made the pictures even cuter :)
But PS I told this scenario in the OP to my hubby and he said he would have been very upset and asked him to delete the pictures.

[deleted account]

Jocelyn you just reminded me. When i was 5 to about 10 i grew up in a major tourist hotspot in NSW and there were always Asains taking pictures of me. Apparently they love blonde hair little kids. At the zoo I had a group of them getting in pictures with my daughter, Yes it was uncomfotable but i know they were innocent and they probably wouldn't have understood me if i had asked to see the pictures. I'm fine with the experience i had as a child and i was always fully clothed and so was my daughter on this occassion so there was no harm done.

Jocelyn - posted on 09/08/2011




BHAHA Jess it must be our area because I'm always getting Asian tourists asking to take pictures with my kids :P
Whatever floats their boat lol.

Moving on...I'm fine with it; I'd prefer they ask first, but if not I'd go over and ask to see the pics after and then make sure the photographer sent copies to me! I've gotten some great pics from random photographers :)

Merry - posted on 09/08/2011




I have taken pictures of strangers kids before :/ not obviously because I don't want to seem like a creeper but I'll just be videoing Eric and scan over to an adorable kid cuz if they are just too cute for words I want to show my husband the cutie I saw!

Tracey - posted on 09/08/2011




The legal position in the UK is that you only need permission from the land owner to take photos, NOT permission of the person in the photo. If it is on public property you do not need a release form.
Having said that if you are in a situation where you are not happy talk to the photographer and ask him to delete the photos.

Catherine - posted on 09/08/2011




I don't know I think I would be a little concerned because out of politeness I would expect the person to ask before taking pictures of my child, but then again she is 11

Merry - posted on 09/06/2011




I doubt I'd think twice about it! I think it sounded like a beautiful scene and if I thought about it I might ask to see them out of interest but honestly I don't think pedophilia would enter my mind. Maybe if he was sitting at a park looking at kids without kids of his own, but honestly a picture of my kid doesn't scare me much. The actual kids are rarely ever out of my sight so pictures here and there don't worry me.

Nikki - posted on 09/06/2011




I would be mega pissed and I would ask him to delete them. Really in this day and age it really isn't appropriate without asking permission first. Yeah that maybe sad but it's life, you never know what people's real intentions are.

Becky - posted on 09/05/2011




I'd probably feel kind of uncomfortable with it. Since he was taking pictures of the sunset first, it's quite possible that it was innocent, but I agree, he should have asked your permission first. I know there are times when I am taking pictures of my own children and get other children in the picture, but they are not the focus of the picture, my own kids are.

[deleted account]

We would confront the person.To see how they react.That would tell us, if we should be worried or not.If the showed us and my kids were in them esp face to camera.I would ask for them to be deleted.After i expressed my concerns to the person.If i was in fear after the person reacted funny etc..i would call the police.Esp if they did not want to show me or delete pictures i have seen and asked for them to be deleted.Don't ever be afraid to confront if you feel safe to do so.Its your right.Your job is to protect your kid/kids.

Jennifer - posted on 09/04/2011




I'd be concerned, but probably dismiss it also. I have actually taken a pic of other people's kids without permission though! My husband and I were in DC, and were wacthing people go up and down the steps to the Lincoln memorial. It just so happened that an Asian, an African American and our friends little white girl, all noticed the spot where MLK gave his speech at the same time. It is an awesome pic, the faces are too blurry to tell who they are, the sun's rays are bright, Lincoln sitting in the background.............I just wish I knew the other parents to send them a copy!

Jennifer - posted on 09/04/2011




It is sad that we have to worry about this at all. The unfortunate fact is that ALL of us can be photographed in public and there isn't much we can do about it. We can ask someone not to but other than that, we really don't have the ability to make them stop. If a "freak" really wants a picture of your kid, he can get it without you even knowing. The one's that are obvious are less likely to be a problem.

Lucy - posted on 09/03/2011




In this case it sounds pretty innocent, but I do think he should have stopped to ask permission first.

A few days ago we were on holiday and on the beach, and my husband was taking photos of the kids running in and out of the sea. My son had been very scared of the sea on previous visits and wouldn't go in, so hubby was really keen to capture the moment. After a while my little ones started playing with another little girl and she joined in with their game. My husband didn't want to stop taking pictures, but couldn't really help getting the other kid in shot, so he asked her parents if they minded. they said they didn't mind at all and gave us their email address so we could send them the pictures.

People have different reasons why they wouldn't want their or their children's photo taken. My great gran had a closely held belief that cameras stole a little piece of your soul every time you had a picture taken, so it had to be a really special occasion to warrant it.

It's all about context and having the manners to ask first.

Jenni - posted on 09/03/2011




It's so difficult to know what his intentions are. But it would make me feel uncomfortable that a stranger was taking photos of my children, especially without my permission and because I don't know their intentions.

Someone posted a story like this recently on COM. And their story sounded suspect. I suggested to them to take photos of him back with their phone. See how he feels about the shoe being on the other foot. :/

But like I said; you don't really know. My mom and step dad recently took a trip to Disney World. All the little girls were running around in their Disney Princess dresses and my step dad thought it was adorable! He innocently wanted to take pictures of them because he thought it was too cute and fit the atmosphere of the park. But my mom stopped him and warned him that it would probably make their parents feel uncomfortable. He sheepishly agreed. But I know his heart was in the right place.

Stifler's - posted on 09/03/2011




It wouldn't bother me. My kids wouldn't be naked at the beach anyway.

Karla - posted on 09/03/2011




I'm not very knowledgeable on this, but I do know that photographers have to get a signed release before they publish any photos. I think that's the only legal issue. I once thought I saw my daughters (17 and 22) walking toward me on the beach, so I took pictures of them... and as they got closer I realized it wasn't them, but rather complete strangers... oops.

I would probably be like you Rebecca and feel a little uncomfortable, but then dismiss it. They probably were wonderful pictures.

I'm actually tempted to take pictures of toddlers all the time -- so cute -- but I don't because I don't know how comfortable the parents would be with it.

Tammy - posted on 09/02/2011




To Jessica Seymour - That happened to my Mom, when we were in Germany, when I was little! My little brother was almost 2 and my Mom was wheeling him in his stroller in Munich and these two Japanese tourists came up to her and asked if they may take my brother's picture. She was so stunned, that she said yes. They handed him a little paper umbrella, snapped a few pictures, took back the umbrella (much to his protests), said thank you and melted into the crowd. We never saw them again! I remember being jealous that I wasn't the one photographed! LOL

Tammy - posted on 09/02/2011




I wouldn't think anything of it, since the photographer just appeared to be taking pictures of nature and your kids just happened to be there. Too bad you didn't get a name and address so you could get copies of the pictures.
These days a photographer can't publish photos of other people's kids without the parents consent.
I am a photographer by trade and on occasion I too take pictures of kids that are not mine. I remember back when I was in college I took pictures of a little girl on a public bus, that I was on. Not long after, my grandmother came to visit from Germany and liked one of the pictures so much, that I gave it to her. Years later, after her death, I was going through some of her personal effects and found that black and white, 5"x7" portrait I'd given her of that little girl. She had it framed and had it hanging in her house in Germany the whole time.
I am sad that I never took any info from the mother. The little girl is all grown up by now and probably with kids of her own and I don't even know her name...

[deleted account]

It didn't even occur to me to ask to look at the photos! Too bad, because they probably were gorgeous!

[deleted account]

Imagine the beautiful pictures that the photographer could of had with the sunset behind 2 little boys who were playing happily.
In saying that i would have been uncomfortable and i would have asked to at least view the pictures to see how they looked. But if your instinct was ok with it and the photographer did stop when he saw your husband was uncomfortable then i don't think there was a problem.

JuLeah - posted on 09/02/2011




Mnners require one to ask first. You would not have been out of line to ask him to stop.

There are cultural, religious, and other reasons why a person might not want to have their/their child's pic taken

Caitlin - posted on 09/02/2011




I'd be more concerned as you said if it was in a strange location, like a mall or a park. If there wasn't any nudity involved, I really don't see much of an issue with it. I tend to dress my girls more conservatively anyways (they are still young) so I woudn't worry.. It's not like they were running around in their underwear.

In that exact situation, I probably wouldn't say anything to the photographer. If it were a mall or park, I would. I know my hubby told off an older man who looked WAY to interested in him changing his daughters diaper one day, and we went and gave his description to the security desk, because it was odd...

I just think it's sad that we have to worry about this (not to say we shoudln't worry about it, we have to be vigilant).

Jessica - posted on 09/02/2011




I went to a festival here in Calgary called the Lilac Fest, it's kind of a huge street hippy fest that I really enjoy. This is the first year I have brought my munchkin with me ( she was born only days before the fest last year) and I had not one but two seperate sets of Asian tourists ask if they could there pictures taken with my daughter. I thought it was odd, but also completementary. She is a cutie-patootie and it's not like she was naked or anything, so I allowed it. They leaned in and had there pics taken with Peyton and said many thank yous and were on there merry way! I found it all very random.

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