About a week ago I wrote a post about using your camera for networking.  I got a little bit of feedback from some trusted advisors and the general consensus was, well, that it was “creepy”.

So, I’ve thought a bit about what they said, and they do have a point.  Walking up to a stranger at an event and shooting their picture is a little creepy.

And creepiness is not the hallmark of a good networker.

So, I’ve tried to come up with some situations in which it would be completely appropriate to use your camera:

  1. You are the official photographer.  With this you pretty much have carte blanche. You are just doing your job at this point.  You can even explain that to people and use it as an excuse to get their name.  Heck, this is even a great way to make good connections with the organizers.  Chances are they will be too busy to take photos themselves so your volunteering will give you high marks.
  2. You are running the event.  It’s your party and you’ll take pictures if you want to.  This would also be a opportune way to to follow up with the attendees afterwards.
  3. Crowd shots.  If you pull out your camera phone and shoot a few general pictures of the networking crowd, you can send the results to the people you know in the photos without them viewing you as a potential stalker.
  4. The speaker.  The people who speak at events are there to be the center of attention.  More than likely, they will actually be pleased to get photos of themselves in action.
  5. Friends and family.  OK, so this rarely happens at a networking event, but I’m just putting this in here to let you all know that I am not giving up my rights to record family events.  So, just stop complaining and giving me dirty looks and covering your face and “flipping the bird”.  You can have my camera when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

Er, um, where was I?

Oh, yeah, so do be careful when using this technique.  If you are obviously making someone uncomfortable, just cut it out and use one of the many other techniques you have at your disposal in order to further your relationship.

So, in what other situations is it OK to pull out the camera?