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Photography Etiquette While Travelling

by Madhav Srinivasan 1954 days ago

Taking a photograph of a memorable sight during your travel is probably the best way of giving yourself an opportunity to relive the moment months or years later.

When filming a shot at a busy area, make sure you follow the following rules of photography etiquette.

  • Finish capturing pictures as fast as you can – don’t create an obstruction to people moving around for more than a couple of minutes. An easy way to do this is to get the settings on your camera right before you ask someone to pose or focus on a particular object for your shot.
  • Don’t throw dirty looks at people who happen to interrupt you without realizing you are filming.
  • If you are photographing your kids with an amusement park character, don’t spend a long time clicking them from different angles – take one or two pictures and make way for the others who are awaiting their turn.


Ask for Permission

Whichever part of the world you may be traveling in, make it a point to ask for permission before you take a photograph of a person. If you are traveling in a country where the local language is not the one you speak, find out how to ask someone ‘Can I take your picture?’, and then ask this politely whenever you want to photograph the locals.


If you find people a little hesitant to pose for you, break the ice by asking one of them to take a photo of you and then ask if you can take one of them. If someone flatly refuses to pose for you in words or by turning away, it is against photography etiquette to continue to photograph them with or without their knowledge.


Offer a Copy

When traveling in a foreign country, make it a point to carry a Polaroid camera so you can offer an instant copy to the people you photograph. While this doesn’t cost you much, it definitely gives them a thrill to have a photograph of their own. If this is not possible, offer them a view of the digital display so they can see how they look.


Respect People’s Beliefs

In certain cultures, people harbor a negative feeling about being photographed. For example, people in the Caribbean region are scared the photo may be used to perform black magic on them, whereas native Americans consider that the camera can enslave their soul. 

Although you can try explaining that your purpose in taking a photograph is not anything like this, take care you don’t poke fun at their beliefs. If people don’t agree to pose for you, then it is important to respect their belief without any ill will.


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