Becoming Unphotographable?

Something I’ve been pondering lately, as I’ve had photographs taken of me, without my knowledge, for the purposes of social media posts on platforms I disagree with:

How might one go about making one “unphotographable” - or, at least, really annoying to photograph?

I don’t think the Eurion pattern (currency pattern) really works on smartphones - I’m able to take pictures of money easily enough. And while high intensity IR should scramble things nicely, it also has some rather harmful impacts on human eyes - just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not of damaging levels (also, power consumption).

Has anyone experimented, or found research on, ways to generally scramble smartphone cameras without doing damage to humans in the process? I’m wondering if very brief IR pulses would be sufficient to confuse the exposure calculations.

Not the more modern HDR smartphones, but superreflective materials are a great way to scramble flashes. The microbead style of reflective jacket is really good at that. Most camera logic, especially with flash, tries to prevent overexposure, after all.

As for active measures? Well, messing with the exposure is the best way, but unfortunately modern HDR is harder to defeat.

Ways to deal with ML photograph “recognition”, gait recognition, and other observable biomarkers, may be THE question for our era… ML has not proven itself infallible, nor does it actually reason, it simply finds patterns in trained reasoning and applies them to unknown inputs in ways consistent with its training, which is nowhere close to the same thing, and part of why it’s actually so unbelievably untrustworthy and a terrible tool for law enforcement to rely on, as it will ultimately degrade trust. I expect instagram videos and other FB-hosted video are also being used for gait recognition training, etc.

TikTok is almost certainly feeding into Chinese ML systems as well.

The best passive way to do this is with retroreflective materials like @milfox said. Google anti paparazzi or anti camera for options like scarves, jackets, hats, and fabric if you want to make your own accessories. If you’d like to be more active check out a slave flash. It only flashes when it detects another flash, so won’t use much battery power, especially since you’re just trying to create some luminescence to wash out the picture being taken, not illuminate a whole room to take a well lit picture.

Both of those will only work against auto flashes, so if there’s enough ambient light that no flash is used or your photographer is smart enough to use a manual mode of their camera, they’ll do little to nothing, but if the people taking your picture know you, it might make it annoying enough to take pictures with you in them that they eventually just stop taking your picture.

Good point about lack of flashes making cameras hard to deter.

I’ve seen some prototype systems that use IR pulses to detect lenses and somehow scramble them, but I think the equipment required to manage that would be far more distinctive than helpful.

Yeah, and useless against non-flash image stacking.

Super bright IR LED hats can be pretty inconspicuous (in the visible spectrum), and effective against lowlight cameras like surveillance ones. Again, defeated by visible spectrum image stacking.