Reader Alan asked the following question on the Ask Lucky page of the blog, and while my answer doesn’t have any earth shattering information, I figured I’d share my approach and am curious to see how others approach it.
Hi Lucky, I have traveled around 140k miles last year and had 150+ hotel nights. Each time I visit a lounge, a hotel room, a restaurant, or a cabin, I took several photos of the settings, dishes, spas, gyms, and the details. My question is, per your experience, how do you take photos in these place without making others feeling uncomfortable(in first class cabin view especially). And what’s your techniques/gadgets when taking the shots? Thanks!
Interestingly I’ve never had a serious issue with taking pictures while traveling. Yes, I’ve had the occasional situation where an employee on a power trip tells me pictures aren’t allowed, but that’s about the extent of it. I’ve never had an issue with a fellow passenger or hotel guest. While I realize not everyone agrees with my approach to taking pictures at airports and on airplanes, here’s my general approach:
I use a point and shoot camera
I used to have a “professional” camera, and in the meantime have downgraded to a point and shoot camera. Not only does it save space in my carry on, but I find you freak less people out when using a camera that doesn’t look “professional.”
I use an iPhone for more “risky” pictures
I don’t really take pictures I consider “risky,” but if I’m taking a picture of an area with lots of people I’ll usually just use my iPhone. It’s possible to be more subtle that way, and most of the time people don’t even know you’re taking a picture.
I try to avoid taking head on pictures of people
Do you have a reasonable expectation to privacy at an airport? I dunno. But I still do my best to avoid taking head on pictures of people whenever possible. That being said if people do happen to end up in my pictures I won’t blur out faces because pictures end up looking super weird then. That being said that’s kind of impossible in gate areas, for example, where some peoples’ faces will end up being in the picture no matter where you take the picture from.
I don’t usually tell the crew why I’m taking pictures
I know some people like to take pictures of crew members. I don’t usually do that, though I do love taking cabin pictures. My general approach if it’s a new plane or product is to comment to the flight attendant in passing that it’s my first time in that specific configuration, and then ask if it’s okay to take pictures. I only do that if I plan on taking lots of pictures of the seat. Otherwise I just don’t say anything, and haven’t really had an issue.
For those of you that take pictures on planes, what’s your approach?