Deadly Selfies

After just having spent three days on the streets of San Francisco, there were a number of things that I noticed while keeping an eye out for my workshop crew. And one that really jumped out at me was how tourists lose track of their surroundings while capturing selfies.

P4090959-SF-2017-Workshop.jpg Beware of your surroundings when capturing selfies. Photo by Derrick Story.

I watched people stop in the middle of the street, step off curbs, and hang over railings while photographing themselves. Yes, I absolutely believe in becoming part of the story, but doing so safely.

What I recommend when shooting in potentially dangerous situations is to assign a friend or family member to be a spotter during the capture. If no one in your group is available - group selfie - then most strangers would be happy to keep an eye out for 30 seconds while you take the picture. Just ask a friendly face on the street to serve as lookout.

And even if you don't have the camera pointed back at you, it's easy to lose track of your immediate surroundings when engaged in street photography. Stepping off the curb to get a better angle might not seem that hazardous, unless a bus comes rolling down the street and clips you with its side mirror. Once again, having a lookout while you shoot is a good practice.

If you're the "adult" in the group, be sure to spread the word about staying safe when taking pictures in urban environments.

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