In the last month or so, I've been having bad luck when it comes to photo locations. Getting good photos in the winter is always a challenge because it can get bitter cold in NYC. And as most of you probably know by now, the majority of my photos are taken with a self timer and tripod. Shooting photos alone can be more time consuming as opposed to having someone on the other side of the camera. It's hard to physically be outside in the cold long enough to get a good photo when I'm shooting alone. Because of this, I usually venture indoors during the winter months and find retro inspired interiors. Yes, sometimes it can be embarrassing and people stare when I'm shooting in a restaurant or store, but I've rarely experienced the owners or managers telling me I can't take photos until recently.
Aside from 2 record stores and a magazine store, the diner I took these photos in was another place I got in trouble at recently. I met my friend here for breakfast before work one day because we both work in the area, and I figured I would have her snap a few photos of me in this dress. After we ordered, we took a few photos in our booth. Then I moved to the counter (where there was only one other man sitting at the time). Finally we went into the back of the restaurant where they had a wall of vintage decor (which was also empty at the time). A few seconds into taking photos in the back, a waiter came over and said "you know, people usually pay to take photos in here". My friend replied, "oh, we're eating here", so he knew we didn't just come into have a photoshoot. He said, "I know, they usually pay on top of that". When I looked at the diner's Instagram, I saw a few brands had rented out the space to hold a photo shoot or fashion week presentation. I totally get a brand or company paying to use the space. Most of the time, I'm not earning money from the photos I take, so it's not like I'm using their business as a way to profit and not sharing a cut of the revenue. If I'm a paying customer and not in anyone's way, what's the harm in taking a photo of my outfit?
I was venting to a friend about how annoying it was that I kept experiencing push back lately and he sent me an article about a restaurant that had to enforce a "no photo" policy because of influencers. I totally get why business owners could get annoyed with influencers taking photos in their store or restaurant, especially if they're taking up space without buying or ordering anything or getting in the way of paying customers. The article said customers were still allowed to take photos of their friends or food, but influencers were not allowed to. When looking through the other tagged photos from this diner, I saw a photo of a girl, clearly taken with an iphone, posed on the stools just like I was, but she was dressed casual wearing sweatpants. I feel like it's unfair to determine who can and can't take photos depending on how they're dressed or what they're using to take the photos with.
Nowadays, I think everyone can technically be considered an influencer. No matter how many followers you have, what you post on social media can influence the people that see your content. Influencer marketing has been dubbed the modern day word of mouth. I wish more business owners would realize the power of social media and by letting people take photos in their store or restaurant it can drive more traffic to their business.
What do you think? Should business owners be okay with letting influencers take photos in their establishment?
If you'd like to shop my dress, you can find it here:
Dress: c/o Karina Dresses
Sunglasses: Rainbow Optx; Tights: Vintage; Sneakers: Converse
Location: Square Diner (Tribeca, NYC)