Miss Manners: How do I politely decline being photographed at events?

Dear Miss Manners: Is there a polite way to decline to be photographed at parties and other private events? Not that anyone asks beforehand. I sometimes notice that I’m being snapped while in the midst of a friendly conversation at a host’s home, and people then post my photo on social media.

I simply don’t want my photos to be on the internet. If I say, “Wait, let me step out of the photo,” it seems to cause a scene. People ask, “Why don’t you want your picture taken?” and become upset, as if I’m behaving badly.

I’ve had people rudely criticize me, insisting that I “shouldn’t be worried about it.” There are dozens of reasons someone might not want their photo online — from having dealt with a stalker to being employed in a role in which party photos are frowned upon.

I don’t think these reasons are anyone’s business. Of course people are going to take photos at weddings, but at cocktail parties and the like, shouldn’t I be able to say no? If so, how?

Turn your back on them. No, not while they are speaking to you, of course. But if you find yourself being photographed without consent, Miss Manners suggests you slyly turn to look at something or bend down to tie a shoe.

If questioned, you may say, “You know, I don’t want to ruin the picture, so I will just step aside.” After a few takes of this, your would-be photographers will probably be too exasperated and bewildered to protest.

Dear Miss Manners: I received a wedding invitation that states “black tie only.” This leaves a bad taste in my mouth: It seems to say that I’m important enough to invite to your wedding, but that you don’t think I have the sense to show up and look nice.

I honestly cannot afford to buy a new formal outfit but have plenty of dressy clothes in my closet. Not sure what to do. If I show up in a dress that’s not “black tie,” will I be told to leave?

Or should I break the bank buying a dress and then not be able to afford a gift? I’m really perplexed over this.

For women, “black tie” generally means a floor-length dress made of a dressy material such as velvet, chiffon, silk, satin or taffeta. But its interpretation is widespread, subjective and influenced by fashion trends.

Hence the bad-tasting “only” in that invitation. Merely stating “black tie” is the traditional notification to guests that the event is formal.

If you do not already have something that fits the criteria — and most people do not, unless they are regulars at Hollywood award ceremonies, opening nights at the opera or the bridesmaid circuit — Miss Manners will defend your choice to wear the best of what you already have in the way of dressy clothes. She assures you that you will not be the “only” one.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.