A Photographer’s Dilemma

Isn’t she adorable?  It’s too bad we live in a world and society where 99% of the time I’m afraid to ask to take pictures like this.

Paedophile.  Predator.  Those two words are heard too many times in the news during the course of an average week in America.  Those two words are what I’m afraid people are going to think I am when I notice an adorable kid doing something that would make a lovely shot.

On Tuesday, I was on a day trip in Saugatuck, MI.  Around sunset, I was at Oval Beach with the people I traveled there with.  Oval Beach has a swingset near the changing rooms which attracts both kids and grown adults that want to relive their childhood a little bit.  Since I’m not a swimmer, I was with my girlfriend sitting on the benches near that swingset.  I had already taken a few general beach shots and some pictures of the sunset when two little girls were playing on the swingset and I saw them playing around.  They were doing things like swinging to the side and hanging on to the metal frame of the swingset.  Immediately my inner photographer was framing a shot; however, that shot was never taken.  Not more than five minutes later, this adorable little girl was on the swing and I began framing a cute swing shot at f/1.8 and a creamy blown out background in my mind.  This shot was also never taken.  I didn’t even attempt a candid.  Why not?  Fear.  

Wielding a camera is not a crime. In theory, the worst that a parent could say is no to the request of taking a photo of their child; however, in my mind, the anxiety of being thought of as someone that commits crimes against children is worse than the anxiety of asking out the first girl I had a crush on.  A simple no would be fine.  A reply like, “Why?  What are you using the photos for?  Are you some sort of stalker?” would be hurtful.  Why not try to get a candid?  If I get caught taking a candid of a kid, it looks even worse for me (and I already have race and sex against me so we don’t need more).  Besides, anyone that knows me knows that I generally like to take my time with shots; candids would not satisfy me because I wish to create the picture as I see it in my head before shooting.

A general rule that you hear said often to beginning photographers (and I even say it in this blog on the Decent photos… even as a noob article) is, “Take photos of what you like.”  I’ve been attracted to people or characters that would generally be considered cute or pretty since I was a teenager.  While I do enjoy photographing cosplay and lolita fashion, I can never truly photograph everything that I’d like to if I’m scared to death to photograph the very thing I find cutest of all.  How many adorable shots have I missed because of this fear and what can I do about it?

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