Cameras at volleyball games

Dear Forum Friends,

My daughter recently started on the schools volleyball team. I’d like some advice from other parents (or players, I guess) about something rather concerning.

At my daughter’s first game (they won by the way!), I noticed at least two or three people in the audience who were taking pictures. Frankly, they just didn’t strike me as being other parents. Now I have no idea if I’m over reacting or what, but something makes me really uncomfortable about guys being at these games taking pictures. I feel that wearing the school’s proscribed uniform, my daughter is in a particularly vulnerable state if you catch my drift. I did actually speak with someone from the school, but they said that the games are essentially open to the public and they don’t currently have a policy about cameras at volleyball games. I don’t know if they were basically telling me to “get over it”, or if maybe I should.

Any ideas, advice, experiences?

Karen S.

I’m not a parent myself, and maybe my attitude would be different if I were, but I think yes, you are overreacting. Adult male does not equal paedophile, regardless of what the media might tell you. IMHO there is far too much pussyfooting around and regulation around school activities - at the school where my wife works, parents aren’t even allowed to video school plays. (Obviously there’s a huge demand from internet perverts for school nativity shows :rolleyes: )

I think the whole paedophile “meme” (for want of a better word) is terribly destructive. A tiny fraction of 1% of adults pose a threat, yet kids are brought up to believe that all men are child molesters, and parents are made to feel paranoid for no good reason.

OK cue the pile-on for expressing my views…

Believe it or not, but we’ve actually discussed this before:

What kind of vibe did you get from the people behind the camera? If I were at the beach taking photos and saw a school volley ball game in action, I would probably stop to take some photos. I’m a photography geek though. It wouldn’t be to be sketchy, it would be to get some good practice with action photography. There’s a thrill in capturing a certain moment in shots, even if you don’t know the subject.

Photographer’s rights can be a touchy subject. I don’t know your location, but in most situations in the US, a photographer may photograph whoever and whatever they want from public property. There are some exceptions, most notably military type exceptions, but scantily clad volley ball playing teenagers are not one of the exceptions. If this is a concern of yours, I would consider petitioning for the games to be played on private property, or, perhaps a more likely solution, petitioning for uniforms that you wouldn’t have as many issues with people photographing.

Statistically speaking, I bet it’s more likely that your daughter will find a way to put her own naked pictures on the Internet than it is for some random guy in the audience to happen to snap a good-quality porno pic of a moving sport at a great distance with a telephoto lens.

Of course, it’s much more probable that the shutterbug is, I don’t know, the parent of one of those kids.

If you’re worried about it, bring your own camera and take pictures of the shutterbugs. Introduce yourself. Meet them. Chances are, anybody with untoward intentions will be scared away, and any proud parent would be happy to meet you.

If your daughter’s an athlete, you’re going to have to get used to people taking pictures during her games. I used to do that sort of thing often, hoping to sell the pics to the local paper. Made a little extra money, and got to practice sports photography, which was one of my hobbies at the time.

How is it any different from people taking pictures at boy’s sporting events?

Read this thread.

How nice are their cameras? Could they be media or some other type of professionals?

Utterly depressing. A good bit of my early photo book is candids ahot on the streets of Philly and N.Y.C. in the early 1980’s.
My agenda? Capturing a human moment. Something of beauty. Something that resonates.
Why not just walk up and ask the single safest and most innocent ( yet useful ) question of these photographers?
‘’ Which one’s yours? ‘’
There is great beauty in athletics. If you are disturbed, find out if they are a parent. If you are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, then ask to see their work.
A hobbyist is not a pedophile.


It is worth mentioning that the outfits the girls wear while playing volleyball are very tight and very short. They make the cheerleaders look modest. In fact, googling “volleyball shorts” to find an example picture, I am finding picture after picture of “sexy volleyball shorts” and a lot of pictures of random girls’ butts. They may all be in college, but who can tell?

I have no idea why this type of clothing is the case for volleyball but not any other girl’s sport, but I can see having a moment’s hesitation about it.

Me, I’d make friendly with the other volleyball moms, and then ask them if they know who the shutterbugs are. They probably do and can set your fears to rest. If they are also concerned, you can all go over together and figure out what’s going on.

I would think it makes more sense to talk to the photographers, or someone who might know them, rather than the school first. Although it should be in a friendly way (all going over together seems a bit much).

Count me in with the word usage pedants who think your daughter ought to be wearing the proper uniform.

Almost everywhere in the world, the cultural application of sexuality is markedly different between males and females.

Athletes are athletes. This is a sporting event, not a peep show. Having spent some time around female athletes, I can assure you that they are every bit as serious about competition as the guys are.

Why is it worth mentioning? Stop trying to sexualise it. It’s kids playing sport at school.

At most large tournaments for kids, there are professional photographers roaming the sidelines taking shots. Parents are encouraged to come to a booth to look at sheets of photos segregated by team where they can buy single shots or packages. The photos are usually 10X better than what a parent will come up with on their own.

I wouldn’t be surprised if at a later game you are given a flyer with a website where you can look at the shots and order them online.

Get her one of these

Since the OP is asking for personal experiences and advice, this is better suited for IMHO than GQ.

General Questions Moderator

What if one of the photographer didn’t have a kid there?
And on the subject of ‘what kind of vibes’, well, that implies some sort of paranormal ability.

‘vibes’ are BS.

The fact of the matter is that with the digital revolution, amature (non-professional) photographers, can have pretty good, or pretty good looking equipment. People were mighty imprerssed when I brought a tripod and a SLR to photograph fireworks. I’m not a professional photographer, although a lot of people there assumed I was and a few asked what magazine my photos would be in. So you can tell nothing about a photographer by looking at his gear.

So some strange man is taking photos of your daughter in public. The innocent explanations far outweigh the perverse ones.
Now to me, it sounds like it is not the fact that your daughter has started playing volley ball, but that your daughter is growing up and is starting to look like a woman. The volleyball uniforms and the photographers sound, to me, like side issues.

I don’t like having photos taken of me without permission, but unfortunately it’s something we just have to deal with.

Probably any proud parent would consider it an eye-brow raising thing, if someone else in the audience turned around and took a picture of them. That’s creepy, not a friendly icebreaker.