When is it okay to snap and share pics of strangers?

Sep 24, 2013

Holding olympus

It’s legal to take photos of people in a public space, but does always mean it’s ethically okay to take them?; Credit: Hugo Chinchilla/Flickr

Photography has become so easy, instantaneous, fleeting and disposable. To complicate matters, unless you’re a flip-phone holdout, your smartphone isn’t just equipped with precision cameras but a connection for sharing it with the entire world at the simple touch of your finger. 

While it is legal to photograph a stranger in a public place, is it ethical? If you snap a picture for well-intentioned reasons, does that make it okay? What if you sneak a photo of someone wearing a ridiculous or hideous outfit? Or someone who is embarrassingly drunk? And if you don’t plan to share it on social media, does that make it okay? Do you have to ask permission first? Or should we all be on our best behaviour in our Sunday best, because it’s a free-for-all?

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