This somehow seems to be the most controversial part of the Ask First Campaign. The digitalization of life has made the ability to share ourselves vastly different than a generation ago. Regardless of the legality, it should really be common sense to just ask someone if they mind being photographed or recorded, especially at something as sensitive as a fetish event. Instead of seeing this discussion as a threat to freedoms it should be a reminder that these freedoms exist with a responsibility that some don't think to apply to camera phones, casual, or even professional photography.


6 ways to gain permission when photographing someone in a crowd:

  • Verbal: ask and LISTEN to their response. Try, “May I take your picture?”

  • Non-verbal: make eye contact or gesture with the camera, await a nod or smile as a response. If they shake their head no or are unresponsive, do not photograph anyway.

  • If someone is posing/hamming/performing it up for multiple cameras, it’s probably ok to photograph. When that person stops engaging with the cameras stop shooting them. If they are posing to have a friend take a picture of them, it is not a green light to make your own photo.

  • You will probably not have many issues when you are taking general, wide-angle shots of the crowd. Focus on keeping your lens or cell phone out of people’s personal space. Ya, I’m talking to you up-skirt dude and the person who takes unsolicited breast level shots as they walk through the crowd.

  • Be aware of privilege and power dynamics. Have you asked them 20 times already? Are you trying to convince them? Is this person younger or smaller than you? A different gender? Is the person you are attempting to photograph alone? Don’t pressure anyone with your camera.

  • If someone is generous enough to pose with you for a photo - it is NOT an invitation to touch or grope them. That is a gross way to assault someone.