in the grocery store

Sometimes … quite often, I see stuff in the grocery store that I would like to take pictures of. I don’t feel comfortable taking pictures in stores because twice, I’ve been told not to. First time was a store in a mall in Quebec and the second time was here in Saint John, in a mall called Brunswick Square.

The other day, I shot these, irresistable, dragon fruits with my cell phone. I felt like a bandit, hoping nobody saw me (!). Cell phones can be really good for photos … if the lighting is good! Not otherwise, and this was a disappointment.

One time, a couple of years ago … in fact, I think it was the same day as I’d bought the 50mm lens … I saw something there in the supermarket, Β that I just had to shoot, so I got a hold of the manager there and asked permission. I’m still happy I did …

How do you feel about shooting pictures in stores and public spaces?

31 Replies to “in the grocery store”

  1. What is the big deal? The Government has cameras everywhere, most businesses have security cameras. Why would it make any difference if you snap off photos of the fruits and veggies. If it were me, I’d just do it and apologize to the manager later if they had a problem with my doing so.

    1. The first time, I felt really silly, and he spoke in French so my husband had to be called in. The second time, we were a photo group of people, and the guards came. I don’t know what the big deal is… πŸ™‚

  2. Do you like photographing the interior of buildings – stairwells, windows, that kind of thing? I am attracted to the architecture – rarely to what is in the store.

    I find my phone to be perfect for shooting into stores from the outside by putting the phone against the glass. It cuts out reflections and it holds the ‘camera’ steady πŸ˜‰

    1. Stairwells!!! I love stairwells πŸ™‚ I have a project here in the city, that I really should get around to… there I probably must ask permission, it’s in the court house. I must try that against the glass! It sounds interesting. Inside the stores …the only thing I’ve been interested in so far, have been fruits and veggies πŸ™‚

  3. Hi,
    Isn’t it amazing how most places don’t like you taking pictures, I will never understand this, yet it has been this way for a long, long time. I personally have never understood this, plenty of times on holidays I have been asked to not take photos, and yet in other places, they don’t mind at all. The camera phone is ideal for these situations, but why are we made to feel like a criminal for wanting a photo. (sigh)

    1. Yes, it’s really strange?! They, whoever ‘they’ are, are filming us all the time in public places. I don’t get it πŸ™‚

  4. Not sure why they would care. if you blog it, free advertising. And competitor stores can send anyone to visit to check out what is for sale, prices, etc. A shop where there are handmade things is different. Don’t even try. My elderly uncle liked to make things from wood. We were in a craft shop and he wanted a photo of something so he could try to make it. He never sold what he made, gave them to grandkids, etc. He got yelled at. Yelled.

    I do take photos in stores sometimes but usually with my cell. They cannot see what you are doing for sure. Could be checking messages, or something. Irritating because my camera takes better photos.

    Loved your photos. Very cool!

    1. This was the first time it hit me [with the dragon fruit]; I felt like a criminal LOL These images are shot in the same grocery store. The manager actually looked really surprised that time when I asked permission … like he didn’t get it, why I asked, so that was alright.

  5. I have experienced this feeling only here in Toronto. In South Africa people do not make such a big deal of being photographed – in or out of stores.

    1. I think this is an issue all over North America … I’ve seen many in my online circles talking about it..

  6. Himself was approached by Security in Donegal about camera usage in an arcade we were visiting. He was waiting for me to pose for a pic. and was given an okay, but it was explained that a great many people bring their kids to the arcades after their Confirmations or birthday parties…which is reasonable enough but I figure that it also had to do with people border crossing.
    I would think the same would hold true in Canada, but if you were specifically there to film produce or some other interesting shot, and got permission for specifics…it should be okay. But peoples privacy is another matter…think of all the awful Walletworld photos of how people dress or don’t dress…that’s an invasion of privacy, which is really the only issue. Photographing naked melons or undressed lettuce…shouldn’t be a big deal. *S*

    1. When was this …in Donegal? I have this feeling, this has become a bigger issue after 9/11.

      I have mixed feelings about the privacy thing. When you’re in a public place, there’s always the risk of appearing in a picture even if you weren’t the main subject?! I don’t know … I might be thinking in the wrong direction..

      1. The Donegal trip was long before 9/11, but at around that same early time we photo class people were assigned to get a variety of shots showing line structure, action shots, fill the frame stuff. I saw some kids in a school playground, playing tetherball and also riding on a little merry-go-round…from the sidewalk I got a few shots, but when the kids noticed me…the lot of them took off…obviously fearful that I was some creepy stalker. I felt very bad about that, but they were absolutely right to haul ass outta there. I could have been a kidnapper, or a molester. Flight was a good thing for them to be quick to think of…

        Most people pay no attention to photographers, except to politely move away when they see a shot being set up. But a lot of people are paranoid for their own reasons. Stores don’t want to be held liable if anything happens to a customer, and most photographers worth their salt carry a pad of Release forms in the event they want to photograph a stranger. I still have mine from college, cause I’ve never found a human all that interesting enough to take a picture of, and it’s hard to get a potato or a bottle of soda to sign a waiver.

        1. Oh, I had no idea you had a photo project when you went to Donegal.
          Yeah, there are lots of paranoid people, and you’re so right — every tourist with a cell phone should carry one of those pads. I’ve never seen one. I don’t like to photograph people and I avoid it at all cost, but I have taken some pictures of the City Market here in Saint John, which is a popular tourist spot apart from everything else… Always crowded in there — impossible to get a shot without people in it..

  7. I have asked for permission to take pictures before, but there have been times when I had a cell phone out to take a picture of my kids, and people have freaked. I don’t get it.

    Recently, I wanted to take a picture of my youngest daughter on the carousel at the mall in South Portland, Maine. The lady running it told me I couldn’t stand on the pavement and take a picture of my daughter on the carousel. But then when I got onto the carousel with her, and tried to take a picture, she said I couldn’t do it there, either!

    Seriously? She said it had something to do with “getting sued”. Instead I sneaked a video of my daughter while she was belted in and I was standing right next to her, and the attendant really blew a gasket! I felt justified, though, because really–we’re not talking nuclear submarines here. It was a carousel, and I wanted to send a cute video to my sister to cheer her up, as she was home very sick that day.

    I never did get a straight answer out of the woman as to what the problem was. She did a lot of eye rolling and frowning at me afterward. It’s a miracle we didn’t get kicked off.


    1. I’ve read so many, similar stories, in different photo groups I belong to. They have endless discussions about it, and no one knows what’s going on or what the rules are. Photo groups, being out on photo walks, taking pictures of buildings/architecture in big cities, have been questioned by police and so on … This must be just getting worse all the time, since photography has become so popular with the digital camera + all the cell phone cameras.

      1. At the same time, though, wouldn’t you think it would be more acceptable if everyone is doing it? I think it has to do with a reasonable attitude. Being extreme never works well, in a grocery store or a carousel! πŸ™‚

  8. Interesting conversation. One I will have to think on before I offer an opinion, if ever.

    Don’t know that I have ever seen dragon fruit or even know what it is.

    1. Linda,
      I’ve been told the dragon fruit is very good … tastes a little bit like kiwi, they said. Perhaps I’ll buy one and photograph it here at home instead πŸ™‚

  9. Before my camera went haywire… I carried it all the time… and I ‘ve taken lots of pictures of things … I love the bottle pictures… cool

    1. oh thank you! πŸ™‚ There’s a lot of beauty in the supermarkets …big piles of Lime …I like those..

  10. I’m nervous about taking photos. They don’t let you in casinos either. I always think people will think I am taking photos of them. The stores think you are spying for other stores. I guess either their competition for pricing maybe. The casinos think you are trying to take photos so you can cheat their system.

    1. Good points..
      This really isn’t a big problem for me. It’s so rare that I see something in the stores, and I don’t want to take photos with people in them …

  11. Here at home I have taken photos in my neighborhood and people have asked what I was doing when they didn’t realize who I was. They think you are going to break in. Some crooks take photos of doors or windows and later look at them to see how to best get in.

    1. that was a new one to me … I guess, since we don’t think in a ‘crimial way’, at first it seems far fetched..

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