A Handy Guide to What Photos NOT to Post on Facebook This Summer

With the first "official" weekend of summer in the books, I think it might be a good time to review what your personal policies on posting photos to Facebook should be this year. Judging by what some of you post on a regular basis and by the responses of your victims, this appears to be a very important issue for us all.

Summer means the pool, the beach, drinking, carousing and general mayhem. Most of us would prefer very little if any of this activity were captured on film...er...pixels. This is particularly true if your co-workers, boss, great-aunts, grandparents or clergy happen to be friends with you on Facebook. Hell, for many women, their friend who can eat like five burgers a day and still look like she's training for the Olympics is enough to make them heavily edit any photo that shows up on their profile.

So, when you take pictures of your friends this summer and are tempted to put them online, here are five simple rules to guide you.

5. Crop out the drinks.

Okay, if someone is sipping a glass of wine or maybe a tropical umbrella drink on vacation, this might be okay, depending on the person. But beer bongs, multiple beverages and drunken "Hey, look at me and my Four Loko...woo!" pics are strictly off-limits. It's bad enough we actually do these things and that people occasionally snap photos of us doing them -- often with our drunken encouragement -- but seeing them enshrined online forever is not the way we want things to go.

4. No photos with friends making out with anyone other than spouses or committed significant others.

The drunken hookup and the summer fling are staples of B movies with college hijinks and there's a reason: Pseudo-art often imitates real life. But if you're a friend, you should know better than to post a photo of your buddy cramming his tongue down some girl's throat who he assumes is 18 at that frat party. Worse yet, don't post a shot of your BFF making out with that hot foreign exchange student from Italy when she lists herself as "in a relationship" with your mutual friend Ryan online. We don't condone her behavior, but you are her friend and don't need to provide evidence.

3. Nothing from behind.

Does anyone not purposefully shoving their butt in a lens actually like shots of themselves from the posterior? The answer is always no.

2. Unless your friends are swimsuit models posing for you, swimwear shots are off-limits. Period.

Sure, if your friend just did a six-week ab-buster diet and looks like a poster for hot, sweet and awesome, your complicity in her showing off her new bod is probably okay. But letting people in on the wink-wink, nudge-nudge agreement we all have that our beach bodies are way hot even when they are way not is a serious no-no.

1. ALWAYS ask permission.

I'm shocked when people don't, frankly. I don't mean ask permission to tag someone, either. I mean ask permission to post in the first place. Good etiquette here would be to send the photos to your friend via e-mail and let him or her make the decision to post them or not. I'm certain you would want the same, unless you are one of those "Oh, I love everything about myself because that's healthy and good for the world" hippies, in which case, why are we friends again?

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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke