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What You Should Not Take Photos of on Vacation

Who doesn’t take pictures on vacation? Now that HD cameras come standard on smartphones—and we all own one—it takes little effort to snap pictures. Unfortunately, this causes some of us to live behind the lens. So here are a few situations to get out from behind the camera.


It’s common courtesy to ask permission before taking someone’s picture. Although technically not a legal privacy violation, it’s still frowned upon. That said, if you intend to use the photos commercially, then you must get consent.

Commonplace Objects

Many vacationers tend to photograph everything—never missing a single detail. Consequently, they come home with a bunch of nonsense: pictures of suitcases, signs, common animals, etc. If there’s no reason to take a photo, refrain from doing so.


Unless you harbour a passion for outdoor photography, skip photographing your natural surroundings. Unless you’re a professional, these pictures will not evoke the emotions you might think. Although they add context, you’ll likely never glance at them again because they do not remind you of experiences—only backgrounds. The makes this point clear.



At any security checkpoint, photo-taking is prohibited. This is especially true when snapping pictures of the staff. Depending on the airport, you might get away with taking photos of runaways or waiting areas but little else. Train stations are the only transportation areas worth photographing anyway; the history is often rich.

Museums and Galleries

Most fine art institutions ban photography for two reasons:

  • Flash photography can fade paintings with unnatural bursts of light;
  • Photography causes congestion at each exhibit.

Consider that the photos you take in museums or galleries are unoriginal. These institutions usually digitalize their offerings online, so you can see more vivid depictions of the art by going to their website. There are sundry photos of famous artwork others have taken, too.