How To Take Pictures Inside Stores Without Getting Caught

How can you take hundreds of pictures inside a store without getting caught? It can be really hard. If you ask for permission, it will be likely be denied. If you’re too conspicuous, someone will say, “No pictures!” and you could get thrown out.

Here’s a 11-step technique we used inside Macy’s on 34th st (see our Flickr collection for the results, learn from our mistakes)…

1) Make sure your camera is on, in the record mode, and the lens cap is off.

2) VERY IMPORTANT: Disable flash and A-F assist or red-eye reduction beams. Disable any shutter noises.

3) Crank up the ISO

4) Set the camera to burst mode. This shoots a series of pictures in succession.
a) Use a setting other than automatic
b) Menu
c) Scroll to Drive Mode
d) Select the one with the multiple boxes
e) Your camera may differ. Consult your manual.

5) Wear your camera around your neck. If you don’t have a strap, place the camera on your belly.
storeshots.jpg6) Place thumb over the trigger and hold. Our Canon allows for continuous burst shooting, you may need to keep pressing.

7) Place other hand over hand on the trigger. This will help hide that you’re holding down the trigger.

8) Walk through the store, firing away. Angle your belly at stuff you want to shoot.
vangle.jpg9) Spot interesting looking situations. Set yourself up a small distance away, looking at an item. Turn your belly towards the area of interest and fire away. Having your eyeball line of sight be different from your camera line of sight is less suspicious.

10) Avoid eye contact with employees. If you see one looking too much in your direction, walk to another part of the store.
footlockermployees.jpg11) Upload the best results to The Consumerist Flickr pool.

skurban.jpgWe like burst shot because you can get nice big pictures, one after another. You could use video mode but you’ll have to take screencaps and the quality is limited to your camera’s video mode. You can also take pictures in normal mode, but since you’re not holding up the camera to your eye and able to frame the picture and such, you could end up missing a shot. Experiment with the settings until you find a mode that’s most comfortable and productive for you.

For best results:
• Use a high capacity memory card.
• If possible, take a few test shots in the store and review before doing a burst spree. Adjust settings as necessary.
• Try to stand still when shooting, or you’ll get blurs.
• The small the camera, the less noticeable you’ll be.
• If a situation arises between you and a store employee, don’t argue, hold on to your camera tight and walk out.


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