Traveler’s Photography Etiquette

Ahhh travel, it’s what we all say we want but don’t really get around to doing it for one reason or the other. When we finally get a chance to do it, all we want to do is immortalize every single experience we had, the food we ate, and the people we met. We want to share our adventures with those waiting back home. Photos are very powerful tool in sharing our stories with others, it enables us to relive those fun moments and share our joy with others. But with twenty million other people travelling and seeing the same places as you, things tend to get dodgy. We forget our manners, and taking photos becomes an extreme sport at best. Here are a few helpful tips on ensuring you get good photos on your trip without it turning into an installment of the Hunger Games.

  • If at the entrance of the museum, temple, monument, park, and/or attraction that you’re going to has a list of house rules that includes photography guidelines, PLEASE FOLLOW IT!! No ands, ifs, or “do you know who my father is?” outbursts.
  • Do not take pictures of worshippers praying. Wait after service/prayers are over before taking any pictures.
  • Ask permission before taking any pictures of children. NON NEGOTIABLE!
  • If planning to post pictures online, let the subject know, especially if they’ve agreed to pose for you, and let them know what site they can see it.
  • Do not stick your camera on people’s faces even if they are working in the tourist industry or part of an exhibit, performance, or diaroma. Just don’t. It’s rude and it’s just downright wrong.
  • If the sign says “No Flash”, it means NO FLASH!! There are no ifs, ands, and buts about it! The sign is there for a reason; continued exposure to light can cause artworks such paintings, murals, or mosaics to fade over time. Some paintings are so fragile that museums have to exhibit them in specially lit rooms to preserve them.
  • Do not shove people just to take a picture. Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of this, especially me. We get too excited about the moment and want to capture it no matter what. Let’s all do each other a favor and learn to wait for our turn or share.
  • Do not photobomb that person who elbowed you at out of what could’ve been a Pulitzer winning shot. Tempting, I know, but that momentary sense of satisfaction is just what it is. Momentary. However, for that person you photobombed, you will forever be the jackass who ruined what could have been the best picture of their honeymoon. You know, the honeymoon they saved up for 5 years.
  • On the other hand, do not hog that spot forever. I understand getting your picture taken on Bridge of Sighs with the Grand Canal majestically sprawled out behind you has been your lifelong dream, but that doesn’t mean you can spend the next half hour doing every single pose you learned from watching ANTM (America’s Next Top Model) as you smize your heart out. Guess what? The dozens of people beside you, in front of you, and by you, we also want our own ANTM moment. Do not deny us our dream, and we won’t photobomb your picture. How many duck face photos do you really need anyways?
  • When in museums, please respect the patrons who went there to actually view the art pieces and exhibits. Do not push them out of the way with your massive camera and even bigger backpacks. Not everybody is keeping score on what painting they’ve had their picture taken with. Some of us actually came to the museum to appreciate the priceless art displayed. Shocking, I know!

Got any more photography etiquette or pet peeves you want to share, add yours to the comments below.

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