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Taking Photos of Other People When Traveling

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Taking Photos Of Other People When Traveling

Not my best one arm shot nor most flattering photo of me, but if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can?


I get a lot of requests from other people to take their photos when traveling.  “Could you take a photo of us? Would you mind?” as they hand over their camera, trusting that I’m a good soul versus an opportunistic criminal who’s going to run off with their camera or iPhone.

Maybe it’s my friendly, smiling face. Or maybe it’s the big honking DSLR with the huge lens.

Either way, I get more than my fair share of requests to take photos of other people. And usually people are good about responding in kind and taking my photo.

As a frequent solo traveler, most travel photos that include me tend to be one arm shots. You know the ones I’m talking about, where you hold your camera at arm’s length and snap away.  So, I’m always grateful when someone offers to take my photo.

But looking at my photos from last weekend’s trip to Rio de Janeiro, I realized I have 2 photos of myself at Christ Redeemer. Yet, I distinctly recall taking at least 25 photos of other people.

Applying the Golden Rule, I should have a similar amount of photos of me.  Yet, reciprocal photo taking was not returned.

But I’m not a pushy person.  If they offer to take my photo, I accept. If they don’t offer, it’s back to the one arm.

But what I don’t understand is why you don’t offer to take someone’s photo who just took yours? Especially when the person who just took your photo is traveling solo.

You’d think it would be a no brainer.

Does this happen to you?  Are you always asked to take photos of others, yet have few to no photos of yourself?  How do you handle the situation?

Should I just be more forceful? And tell people when they ask, that I’ll only take their photo if they take mine?

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Tracy Antonioli

Monday 22nd of April 2013

Perhaps the people who ask you to take their photo are actually intimidated about using your equipment to take one of you. They are clearly trusting you to take theirs based upon their perceived belief that you are a 'real' photographer--because of your big honkin' dSLR with huge lens--so they'd feel like they'd take an inferior shot of you. Or they are just afraid of your camera. You know, like how the pretty girl never gets asked to dance? Just a thought. ;-)

Traveling Well For Less

Monday 22nd of April 2013

Hi Tracy,

That's a good point, the DSLR can be intimidating.


Monday 22nd of April 2013

I don't think of it as being forceful to ask someone to take my picture with my camera. Like you said: most people are nice. If you ask them they will take your picture. I prefer not having myself in the scene (but I look like Shrek) ;-)

If I see someone taking a picture of themself, I offer my help. It is a good way to meet others. But some people only want to do it for themselves.

Traveling Well For Less

Monday 22nd of April 2013

Hey Paul aka Shrek, ;)

I think I'll just have to make it a standard, "I'll be happy to, if you wouldn't mind taking one of me."

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