Photographer vs. Soccer Mom

by on September 24, 2007

in Learn,Photographers

Here’s one worth a read. A poster over at DPReview.com was “testing” his equipment at kids’ soccer games and was confronted by a soccer mom. This is his account:

Went to soccer games testing my equipment. When I finished one field moving to another one, one mom asked me if I have permit to shoot, I said no. So she wanted me to give her all my images and leave. I told her no way. They want my business card, I don’t want them to harrass me so I said no. I’m not sure if her husband shoots soccer and don’t want any completition. I told them I am a pro sports shooter and just here to test my equipment. I told them I know the vendor that shoots their league and I don’t want to mess up his business so I won’t give them the images. She said if I don’t they’ll call the police. I said go ahead and they called the police. I heard the father trying to explain the serious this could be. I stayed there until he finished his call. The father at this point change his attitude trying to explain they were just trying to protect their kids. I went on to shoot the other team until the police tapped on my shoulder.

The police asked why I shoot, I told them I’m here to test my equipment. He ask to see my images, after reviewed 300+ images he said no problem. He asked me for a business card so I gave him one. He then asked if I want to call it a day. I said not right now I don’t want to give them the impression I was escorted out. I also told the police to tell the moms to cool off not to over-reacting and harrass me by asking my images with bad attitude. So I stayed there for another hour shooting away.

After the first game I met the father calling the police, he was much nicer, no problem any more. Later I gave it a thought, maybe I should show the parents some great shots I took of their kids, but I doubt it will make any difference.

Any suggestions?

Things get interesting after this. There’s a lot of differing opinions over there – some were glad he stood his ground and others would have cold-cocked him. Check these links out and tell me what you would have done.

This is a probably a good time to plug my post: 5 Things You Should Do When Confronted By Police.

[tags]photography, photographer, police, rights[/tags]

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{ 3 comments }

1 Tim Solley September 26, 2007 at 9:12 am

I\'m of the \"catch more flies with honey than vinegar\" crowd. I find that diffusing a situation is often times better than escalating it, even if you\'re in the right.

That said, I would have stood my ground, especially if the woman was being aggressive. But I would have dealt with her respectfully and would have simply explained myself to her. Many times you can easily disarm someone by simply being respectful and \"taking the high road\".

Based on the original poster\'s account of the incident, it\'s a little unclear how he handled the situation. The written text seems a little terse and he very well may have come off that way. Then again it could just be the written account that comes off as terse…

2 Tim Solley September 26, 2007 at 2:12 pm

I’m of the “catch more flies with honey than vinegar” crowd. I find that diffusing a situation is often times better than escalating it, even if you’re in the right.

That said, I would have stood my ground, especially if the woman was being aggressive. But I would have dealt with her respectfully and would have simply explained myself to her. Many times you can easily disarm someone by simply being respectful and “taking the high road”.

Based on the original poster’s account of the incident, it’s a little unclear how he handled the situation. The written text seems a little terse and he very well may have come off that way. Then again it could just be the written account that comes off as terse…

3 Sonolta Alpha May 20, 2008 at 5:04 pm

My advice is don’t mess with the kid’s games unless you have permission from the refs/coaches/etc. I’ve found it simple enough to ask permission from a men’s am game, and that might be what you want to limit yourself to. Mind you, I’m not saying the rude soccer mom was in the right, but it might be more trouble than it’s worth. Parents are very worried about stalkers and other unsavory characters, and unless they know you, will make whatever assumptions they want.

Comments are closed on this post, but you can carry on the conversation in the Photography Bay Forum.

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