Photography Etiquette 101

The do’s and don’ts of taking pictures on vacation.
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Follow our photography tips and capture the memories that will last a lifetime on your cruise vacation.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

A Royal Caribbean adventure will give you the chance to meet new people and experience new places, customs and cultures around the world—from the Mediterranean beach vibe of the sunny Greek isles to the icy Inside Passage of Alaska. Today, more than ever, capturing memories through a camera lens, usually on your smartphone, is one of the easiest ways to ensure you’ll remember everything about your vacation. Snap away, but make sure you are following the basic rules of photography etiquette, too. Here are five quick tips to always keep in mind.

1. Be Sensitive With Your Flash

Many times, using a flash improves your photo; however, in places such as dimly lit romantic restaurants, it can be more disruptive than anything else. Make sure you think about where you are before you take a photo with a flash.

2. Be Mindful When It Comes To Advice

Even if you’re an accomplished photographer, resist the urge to direct other people’s picture taking—unless they’ve asked for advice. If you’re a newbie, don’t interrupt someone else’s shot to get tips.

3. Adhere To Local Rules

First, brush up on public spaces where photography may be restricted. This includes airplanes, airports, ancient historical sites, places of worship, casinos, government institutions, and culturally significant places such as memorials. In some cases, such as high-altitude sites, photography is restricted for your own safety.

If a sign says “no photography,” it means don’t take any pictures—not even a quick one with your smartphone. You also should research different cultural norms as they relate to photography when traveling around other countries, and know that they may vary according to region or religion. Festival performances, for example, may be a public affair but might include traditional costumes or objects that are significant to local residents, who may not want them recorded.

4. Show Your Presence

Spend some time in the area and with the people you’d like to photograph. Let them get comfortable with you before you bring out the camera.

5. Work With Your Subjects

If you wish to take a photo of someone directly—such as a Buddhist monk, a policeman, or a craftsman in the market—it’s a good rule of thumb to ask first. If you ask someone if you can take their picture, be prepared to take “no” for an answer. If they do say yes, offer to share the portraits you take, and make sure to thank him or her. It also doesn’t hurt to explain the photo is for personal memories, and not something you plan to sell.

The guidelines are a little looser when it comes to candid shots of people in public places where photography is permitted (see above). Generally, as long as you’re not disrupting their space or being invasive in any way, you can photograph the scene freely.

Ready to capture memories you won’t want to forget? Take a look at Royal Caribbean’s many cruise itineraries available, plan your vacation and get your camera ready.