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Hilary Duff Challenges 'Creep' Photographer for Photographing Her Kids' Soccer Game

Is it ok to photograph a kids’ soccer game if you don’t know any of the children? It’s not against the law, but that doesn’t necessarily stop it from being inappropriate, and Hilary Duff wasn’t shy to put her point across.

Actor and singer Hilary Duff was attending her kids’ soccer game and spotted a photographer on the touchline. Clearly, something made her wonder if the photographer had any connection to the children out on the pitch, so she approached him to ask, recording the encounter on her phone. She then posted the clip to her Instagram account.

The conversation lasts a little less than 90 seconds, and the photographer doesn’t come out of it very well. When asked to stop photographing, he responds that he’s not doing anything illegal and that he’s simply practicing his photography.

While the photographer is entitled to take photographs of whatever he wants in a public place, there’s certainly a better way of handling a request from a parent who is asking you to stop taking photographs of their children. Regardless of whether Duff — as the photographer suggests — was being paranoid, there are probably better ways of practicing your photography skills without photographing children you don’t know.

In the caption for her Instagram post, Duff states that laws surrounding children and photography need to be changed. How do you feel about this encounter? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

The child in the lead image is from a stock photograph.

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322 Comments
Alex Cooke's picture

If he knows the laws about shooting in public so well, why does he touch her phone and try to push it down when he's uncomfortable with her filming him in return? Yes, he's legally in the clear (assuming that's not a field on private grounds), but legality =/= morality.

Brad MacMillan's picture

I agree Alex. Legality should not overcome morality. If you want action shots, go to the dog park. Catch a pickup game of basketball or football at a park. Ask a high school team if you can "practice" your photography in a tfp fashion or something like that. Go to a pond and practice your tracking and settings with birds. There are literally thousands of better ways to "practice" your brand of photography. Have some class.

Jacques Cornell's picture

What, exactly, is "immoral" about photographing kids?

Brad MacMillan's picture

Nothing. If you have kids there, know some of the kids or at least the parents or have been hired. This day in age, there have been too many issues with pedophiles and kidnappings around the world. Also, when a parent asks you to stop photographing their child, you stop. Simple as that. You don't state that it's not illegal. That makes the photographer look worse. If he apologized for taking pictures of her child and then made them aware that it's not illegal; but didn't shoot any more pictures of them or moved on, that would have been a much better response. Someone taking pictures of just kids they don't know and then very matter-of-factly stating its not illegal, that doesn't fly, morally.

Dan Marchant's picture

"there have been too many issues with pedophiles and kidnappings around the world. "

Except that the truth is that countless studies by police and various social services show that those kids are far far far more likely to be abused by.... a parent, close family or friend, the coach, family priest, scout master than they ever are by a random unconnected person with a long lens.

Brad MacMillan's picture

But it's perception. I was storm chasing last year and approached by a rancher, wondering what I was doing. I happened to be shooting a time lapse. He was concerned over whether I was spying on his Ranch. Seeing if there was anything to steal. Perception. I also explained exactly what I was doing. I didn't challenge him and just say "I can be here, it's not illegal." Again, perception. A guy at a kids' soccer game that has zero connection to those kids, zero communication and is stand-offish right off the bat, is perceived as a threat to a parent. I completely understand that.

Adam Simpson's picture

Dan, you're absolutely right but, parents don't play with statistics - keep in mind that John Walsh of America's Most Wanted fame had his son abducted by a stranger and later found decapitated. It can happen . I don't believe this guy had any ill intent he was just a little clueless to the social faux pas. The fact of the matter he was singled out because was amale, I've caught the glare of some angry mama bears taking pictures of my son at the park and there have been countless other stories of men being singled out for having cameras at public events involving children-it's an unfortunate thing in our society where men are often seen as predators - had this been a woman,no matter the color, I doubt many would have batted an eye. Now, a hypothetical: what if situation was changed up a bit and it was say a group of 12-14 yr old girls practicing cheerleading, I think the perception and people(mostly men mind you) siding with the photographer would dwindle down a great deal. That all being said Hillary Duff handled this very poorly and it probably comes with the territory of being a celebrity(no matter how small) and just snap under the paranoia that comes with fanatics always hounding you.It would do her good to apologize but we live in such a litigious society that she probably fears being sued. I can say though, If I was at the park with my son and some stranger was taking pictures of my son, I would be on edge myself

Krzysztof Kurzaj's picture

So in your opinion photographing children playing soccer is in the same subset of criminal activities as pedophilia and kidnappings? Dude, what the fuck is going on in your head??? I'm seriously asking. How do you even connect the dots here?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

These games are organized on public land, not for people to assume their first amendment but to give a place for kids to play safely. A 7 years old has no clue what an amendment is.

Krzysztof Kurzaj's picture

And at which point exactly did this photographer endanger well being of those kids?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

You should be the one answering this since you are the one associating these kids with danger. That's really not what happened here despite your efforts at funneling your interpretation toward imminent danger.

Jacques Cornell's picture

"Someone taking pictures of just kids they don't know and then very matter-of-factly stating its not illegal, that doesn't fly, morally."
That may not fly DIPLOMATICALLY, but there's nothing immoral about it. Know what's immoral? Harassing strangers in public and then vilifying them before an audience of millions. Shame on her, and shame on you for defending her.

Mike Conley's picture

Jacques, you're absolutely correct. They weren't too concerned about it when Meg Britton was taking her suggestive photos of kids.

Jacques Cornell's picture

V V - Well? Spit it out. What is immoral about photographing kids? Don't just hide silently behind an anonymous downvote.

Mark Houston's picture

Who gets to pick the "morality"...In this day and age "morality" has become pretty flexible.

MC G's picture

The Democrats

Krzysztof Kurzaj's picture

Dog park? Well, I say it's immoral to take a photo of my dog. What are you going to photograph now?

Brad MacMillan's picture

Go to the pond and photograph the birds landing and flying. It'll work on your tracking the same way. You're taking action shots at that point, so birds work just as well. Once you get good at tracking offer your services to some sports teams. Go about it the right way. The main thing is, as when someone asks you to stop taking pictures of their child, or in your case, dog, don't challenge them. Stop. Don't be a dick about it because "you can."

Joseph Balson's picture

Where does it stop Brad?
When do you stop complying with anyone asking you to stop doing something perfectly legal?
What if someone at the pond just doesn't like you shooting the birds and asks you to stop?

also, we have rights now because someone has been a dick about it in the past.

Krzysztof Kurzaj's picture

You really just don't get it, do you? Duff is posting on her IG a ton of pictures of her children in virtually every situation, including taking a bath. The kind of stuff that may actually become embarassing to them at some point in the future. Yet, she ferociously confronts some dude who is taking photos of children playing soccer in a public park. Note also that at no point it was discussed whenever he actually took a photo of her child in particular or whenever he wants to publish such material. Ask yourself a question who is a dick about this whole thing in the first place.

Brad MacMillan's picture

I get it just fine. But that is her child. Not yours. If she wants to post something of her family, that's her choice. Not yours. This is the morality dispute.

I once had to stop a photographer from photographing a dead teenagers' body. He was crawling through the ditch, in a closed off area. The morality of stuff like this is just that people want to push boundaries. "How far can I take it?"

Andrey Lutsenko's picture

Morality over legality, that's what your first comment read. Is that really a place you want to live? Who determines what is moral? There is a reason we have a legal system and not a "moral" one. Morals are subjective, laws are not. Dude was perfectly within his _right_ to photograph. Now he's vilified because a celebrity decided to blast him online to her millions of followers. The way this country works is that you can do whatever you want as long as it isn't explicitly against the law. Was what the guy doing against the law? No? Class dismissed.

Jacques Cornell's picture

So now YOU get to determine what WE get to photograph? Um...no.

Darin Simmons's picture

To answer your question, because mob rule is scary.

Mr Blah's picture

Mob rule and he is black. That's why he's nervous probably.

Rob Davis's picture

Absolutely. Black men have died for “looking suspicious” in America. A famous white woman leveling that charge against you must be nerve racking.

Alex Cooke's picture

That’s a really good point.

MC G's picture

Say what? That's a sad racist lens you view life through. If he was white he'd be more likely splattered across the headlines as a prime example of toxic masculinity..

Mr Blah's picture

you are one special kind of blind...

Erpillar Bendy's picture

There are too many examples of black men being shot for less. He could be holding anything at all — a camera, a phone, a cat, a pizza — and it is presumed to be a gun. Police show up and start shouting "Gun! gun! gun!" and in moments he is shot dead. Their excuse is always that they "thought he had a gun".

Bernie Bros's picture

Whites are victims of murder and other serious violent crimes committed by black males at an exponentially higher rate than the inverse. In fact, white on black murder is one of least likely types of crimes while black on white murder happens at an exponentially higher rate. Why is that? Doccops routinely let off white killers of blacks and this huge disparity is really just the result of thousands of white murderers being let off?

Robert Nurse's picture

Having the police called on you for whatever, especially these days, is real and could have landed this guy in a world of hurt. I just don't take pictures of kids anywhere anyhow unless I'm asked. I'm not saying he was wrong or anything. But, he's a situation where, if she had called the police, it would have been a lose-lose for him. Now, if this were a public park, he could have taken the initiative away from her and called the police himself.

liliumva's picture

She did call the police, they did nothing to him. She was furious because nothing was done.

Robert Nurse's picture

Yeah, you really can't do anything to someone in a public space doing nothing "wrong". Personally, I wouldn't have been doing that. But, she could have handled this a lot better. She was being accusatory and then to go post something that way, I wonder if she knows the definitions of libel and defamation.

Mike Ditz's picture

She probably got mad at the cops after she said "Do you know who I am?" and they said "No." :)

Joseph Balson's picture

None of this makes any sense.
Sexual criminals are mostly attracted to people of their skin color. They most of the time know their victims (family, friends, coworkers). They tend to not do their thing in the open (well, exhibitonists operate more in public).
Child abductors don't care of race, but they don't operate in the open.

Basically, a BLACK male taking photos of WHITE kids in the open? that is a non issue.

Billy Walker's picture

Interesting that you used the word "mostly"... and then you used the words "non issue"...

Deleted Account's picture

Correct. If he wanted to expose and insult kids in public, he should become a modern journalist. Remember the case of the Covington High School kids? I don't approve either behavior.

Krzysztof Kurzaj's picture

Hey Alex, what is exactly immoral about taking photos of children in public space?

Isaac S's picture

How is it immoral to photograph in public? Surrounded by other people.

liliumva's picture

He was well within his right to take photos of the public event. This is a baseless one sided story that does not offer the photographers intentions. Who knows if either team allowed him to be there ,we won't know because it's one sided. The mere fact that she brought up how many IG followers she had was utter malarkey and the sheer entitlement of it left me gagging.

davidlovephotog's picture

I think he would've said if someone invited him out to take pics of their kid. He was a random stranger that claimed to want to practice taking pics of 7 year olds. Not a lot of sports action with 7 year olds. I think the mention of her followers was to scare him with exposure and it worked because he started trying to hand her phone.

My brother asked me to come out to his daughters homecoming at her high school and even doing that I felt weird because I know as a parent I would be protective of someone snapping away. And that was high school, this is 7 year olds. In a situation like this, you only need one side of the story, the parents of young kids not wanting a random stranger with a zoom lens taking tons of pics for "practice." Legal or not he should've bounced as soon as she approached but he liked telling her he could take pics of her kid and there was nothing she could do about it. Now that is creepy.

liliumva's picture

We can only assume. He, again, still could be there with approval and not tell her. He might have decided not to tell her on account of how hostile the situation was... and she was hostile. You don't know his intent, you only assume it's illicit. She was the only parent up there engaging this person and calling it creepy. Please, tell me why he's creepy? Because he's a man, with a camera, taking photos of people? Regardless of age, this man was out in public, in the open and not hiding behind something taking photos. The video was cut off, you don't know the rest of what was said when he put his hand up. He, however, would have given his information and that does matter. You say she said her follower count to scare him off, in other situations like this people have been dox'd and threatened. Is that ok? To potentially have him harassed, threatened and harmed. It's happened plenty of times before.

No, sorry, you need two. This is lynch mob mentality. Nothing this man did was illegal, apart from the leftist idea that men=bad. You are assuming that he was doing something wrong, because you want him to be doing something wrong. This tells more about the view of street photographers, mainly men, to the public. Had this not been a middle-aged black man, but instead a blonde white woman, I imagine there'd be NO issues from the parents(just Hillary actually) because they wouldn't be profiling her. He liked the idea of telling her it was legal? Oh boy...

I want to also add she called the police after engaging him. They did nothing to him, as he did nothing wrong. She was outraged because he was not taken away for taking photos in a public place. People like this that think street photography, or public photography, is wrong want the laws to change. To 'protect' people, but it would be stripping the rights of citizens with no just cause. You have no right to privacy in a public setting, period.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

You sound like some one who would pose for a random photographer who would shoot you on the street. Not!

liliumva's picture

Actually, I would. I have no issue with street photography at all, even with children. Perhaps it's because I understand the importance of candid , or 'real' photographic work without bounds. But it's funny to me how so many of you men are demonizing this guy as if he's a creep when you all would be seen just the same, no matter how nice you were to the parents. But I imagine since it's not you, it's ok huh?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Oh believe me I would have asked you if you were shooting me or my kids. So you have a problem with men now! Just playing your game.

liliumva's picture

Oh boy that went way over your head, didn't it?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

And there again, you making decisions for others.

Deleted Account's picture

You ruined a good argument with your stupid "the leftist idea that men=bad". Sad.

liliumva's picture

Where am I wrong? Because that's how they think? Or are you not in with the times that somehow being a man in this day of age when it comes to the left is bad? Automatically being labeled a creep or pedophile simply for being a man. But eh...

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