Taking pictures is something that people like doing a lot. It’s a practice that’s common today because of technology. With a smartphone, it’s possible to take as many photos as you want.
Given that taking pictures is a practice allowed in mainstream society, what happens when someone takes pictures of you?
To tell someone to stop taking photos of you, it is important that you politely and firmly tell them to do so. For example, “I think it’s nice that you are capturing memories of this place, but please don’t do this of me.”
Where Are You Exactly?
First and foremost, it’s imperative to understand that you have every right to feel the way you feel. Not every person loves it when someone is taking pictures of them. Especially if you’re not sure where the pictures will end up, it’s within your rights to ask a person not to take pictures of you.
That being said, when it comes to this issue, you should ask yourself a few significant questions. The first thing you should bear in mind is where you are. The place where the person is taking photos of you means a lot.
Let’s divide this question into two. You can either be in a private or public place.
When You’re at a Private Place
If you’re in a private place, you’ll have a greater sense of control to stop the person from taking photos. Have you ever gone to a place and found a notice prohibiting people from taking photos?
In most cases, these places are private. It is much easier to tell someone to stop taking photos of you if you’re in a private place.
As you talk to the person, you should do it in a courteous way. The way you speak to the person is very important.
You should say something like:
“Excuse me, kindly stop taking pictures of me.”
This statement is courteous enough for someone to listen to you. It shouldn’t be confrontational. The fact that you’re in a private place means the person doesn’t have the liberty to take photos as they like.
After you’ve made that statement, you can go ahead and say the reasons why you feel you don’t want your pictures taken. Through this, the person will be in a position to understand further why you don’t want to have your photos taken.
You can also give a reason:
“I don’t want you to take pictures of me because I get nervous when my pictures are out there.”
This will give the person a better perspective of why he should not take photos of you.
When You’re at a Public Place
Unlike a private place, you may not have the ability to control people taking pictures in a public place. It’s not illegal for people to take photos in public places.
For example, if you visit a public place like a museum, there will be a lot of people there who like to be photographed.
If you’re not okay with your pictures being taken, the prudent thing to do is to ask the person taking the pictures to stop doing so.
Again, it’s important to communicate in a polite way. According to a 2015 article by ResearchGate, being polite is a great way of stirring a healthy conversation.  If you show that you’re polite, the other person will be willing to listen to your request and let you have your way.
So, as you request the person not to take pictures of you, do it in a respectable manner. It can be something like:
“Hey, I appreciate you taking pictures of me, but please don’t do it.”
For a good number of people, this will be enough. But, there are others who won’t find this statement enough for them to stop.
In such a case, it will be a good idea to confidently give a reason why you wouldn’t want to have your pictures taken. Remember to be nice as you give your reasons.
Also, be as convincing as possible. A good example of this scenario can be:
“I am a very private person and don’t like having my photos in public space. So, kindly respect my decision and stop taking pictures of me.”
This is a respectful way of declining to have someone take photos of you in a public area.
Is It Someone You Know?
Is the person taking pictures, someone, you know? If you know this person, it shouldn’t be difficult to stop them from taking photos, right?
While it might seem easy in this situation, it can also be a bit problematic. It can be easy to stop this person if his capacity to obey is high. However, you may be dealing with a problematic friend who is so annoying and just wants to play a round with you.
For example, with someone who is willing to listen to you, this brief comment will suffice:
“Please stop taking pictures of me”
Out of respect for you, the person will stop taking the pictures. However, the annoying friend or relative will be stubborn and continue taking photos.
You can actually see them joking with you and even threatening to post the pictures on social media. Don’t get mad because of that. Despite the trouble you’re going through, this is someone you can finally reach out to.
If you are in a position to convince this person to stop the annoying photography session, you’ll have to be serious about it.
Get serious and polite at the same time. Do not be rude to this person, because this may work against you. It is also not advisable to threaten the person.
So, start a conversation with this person. Make it polite and serious. If you come out as less serious about the issue, the taking of pictures will continue.
You can say something such as:
“Hey Tom, you know I don’t like taking pictures please stop it.”
This statement shows that the person knows your history of not taking photos.
In another situation, you may not have a history of disliking photographs, but this time you’re not in the mood for the same. In this scenario, you can say something like:
“Hey buddy, please don’t take pictures today am not in the mood.”
This is an adequate statement to show that you’re not interested in the photo session. If you’re serious enough both in your verbal and non-verbal communication, the person will definitely stop taking pictures of you.
Is It Someone You’re Not Familiar With?
If the person taking the pictures is someone you don’t know, all you need to do is to express your dislike for the gesture. The person should have consent from you so as to take photos.
Without your consent, it will be unethical for the person to continue taking the pictures, especially if they may be used in a manner that can be damaging to you. Just like it is in other situations, talking to the person courteously will be important.
Since this is someone you don’t know well, try to avoid a confrontational conversation. You may end up getting into more trouble if the conversation ends badly.
Use polite words to make the person understand that you don’t want your pictures taken.
You can say a simple statement like:
“Kindly stop taking pictures of me. I don’t know why you’re doing it but you’re making me uncomfortable.”
Be as convincing as possible. The person will see your seriousness and will stop taking the photos. The important thing here is to be less provocative for the conversation to be meaningful. You’ll end up getting what you needed.
Who Is Present?
Lastly, you need to consider the people present as you tell someone to stop taking pictures of you. For example, you can be in the midst of your friends or your superiors. Clearly, these are two sets of people that you should be mindful of when you’re addressing issues.
If you’re with your friends, you can approach the issue in a casual way as you communicate with the person.
This is because they won’t end up judging you for what you say. They understand you at that level.
For instance, you can say to the person:
“Hey, why are you taking photos of me? Stop it am not interested.”
As you can see, this statement is civil but with a significant amount of seriousness and command.
If you’re in the company of your superiors, you may want to do it differently. For example, you can say something like:
“With all due respect, stop taking pictures of me.”
The people around you will be able to get what you’re saying and appreciate it. Therefore, be considerate of the people around you as you face the person. This goes a long way to determine the outcome of the conversation that ensues.
Katie Holmes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.