No Photos? Oops! I Didn’t Know!

We’ve all seen the signs. We’ve all heard the security guards. And we’ve all sneaked a photo anyways.


I’m sorry, but I didn’t travel all this way not to take a picture. And why not? Is it really that horrible if I take a picture?? Some people say yes. Supposedly a camera flash can damage works of art. Ok, so why can’t I take a picture with no flash? Because of copyright issues? Because they want to make you pay for post cards and other souvenirs? I’m not sure. I’m not intentionally trying to hurt anything or anyone. And even if I’m pretty sure it’s going to come out crooked or blurry, I would still love a picture because it’s still a memory I’d like to have.


So sometimes it’s been on purpose, and sometimes I honestly didn’t know I couldn’t take photos. Either way, I’ve done it and I’m not the only one! Here are a few other rebels and their stories of sneaking photos all around the world, along with mine at the end.


Abu Simbel, Egypt

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We’re always worried about getting in trouble for taking photos, but it actually happened at Abu Simbel.  Usually, there’s no obvious reason for the prohibition on photography.  We’ve come to understand that these policies are usually about selling more postcards.  This profit motivation was illustrated for us at Abu Simbel in Egypt. We took a couple of photos inside without flash.  One security guard said it was OK, another objected.  The resulting action was swift:  threats from the security guard to have our entire group thrown out – unless we paid him a bribe.  This baksheesh bribe (translated as tip or gratuity) is a form of extortion.  We try to respect rules and policies when we travel, but sometimes the urge for a good photo overtakes us.

Lance & Laura are two busy professionals who work to support their travel habit and write about their experiences on Travel Addicts


La Rochelle, France

La Rochelle

I visited “Chateau de la Roche Courbon” castle in La Rochelle, France on a cruise excursion. The grounds are pretty, but the castle is very average. As my group entered the castle, I saw a portrait  who resembled a friend back home, so I took a photo. The tour guide yelled furiously, shot me down in front of the whole group, and just threw an uncalled for tantrum.  No photography was allowed.  I respected their wishes throughout the tour though other foreigners did not.  This wasn’t even a nice castle at all, why on earth they would be worried about someone taking photos I will never know.  Save that rule for Peterhov Palace in Russia or Eilean Donan in Scotland…puullleeezzz.

Melody is an empty nester turned travel blogger at Wherever I May Roam who resides in sunny Florida and loves all travel, big or small


Copenhagen, Denmark

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I was in Copenhagen, Denmark exploring a private district called Christiania. This self-proclaimed neighborhood was founded in 1971 by a group of rebellious hippies as a movement to freely grow and sell marijuana. In the center of town, there is a “Green Light District” where you can legally buy marijuana from hundreds of vendors in little huts.  Around the area, there are a bunch of signs that say “The Laws of Christiania” which are: 1. NO PHOTOS 2. No weapons 3. No Violence 4. No private cars 5. No stolen goods 6. No sale of fireworks.  Of course, I had to take a photo.

Drew is a 20-something kid from Arizona, who is obsessed with traveling, meeting new people, and having maximal amounts of fun everywhere around the world. Currently in Seoul, South Korea, you can follow his adventures at The Hungry Partier


Blackpool, England

Two Scots Abroad Thriller Photo Blog

Craig treated me to a getaway during our October holidays to Blackpool, England which was AMAZING. My extended family (like all eleven of us) attempted to go when I was younger but the mini bus broke down outside of Glasgow and we spent the day on the hard shoulder, so this was an exciting surprise. Now, Blackpool is all about ‘the shows’ – the fairground and also the theatre. Craig doesn’t really do theatre dahl’ing but my luck was in, ‘Thriller’ was playing and MJ is okay in his books. We attempted to document this romantic moment, discreetly, and this is one example of what we managed…. then a polite tap on the shoulder. Oh we are ‘bad’ (who’s bad?!)

Gemma and Craig are downing tools as teacher and tradesman to take a sabbatical and travel The Americas, beginning at SXSW Music Festival. Hop aboard for the ride at Two Scots Abroad


Buenos Aires, Argentina

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I’d heard the Teatro Colon was one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world so I just had to check it out for myself. I was able to find a decently priced balcony seat, so I had a great view of the main concert hall and the ceiling frescoes. Unfortunately, as soon as I took a picture, a woman came up to me and said “No fotos” in Spanish. In English (I’m fluent in Spanish btw), I responded “Oh, I’m sorry.” Then I waited until she left and tried again. I don’t know how she knew, but she came back. That time I said “Ok, ok.” Then I tried again. I’m stubborn damn it. That third time she just looked at me with a death stare and I knew she was about to kick me out. So with the most apologetic face I could muster, I put my camera away.


So what do you think of the “No Photos” rule? Have you ever sneaked a pic?


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  1. I always try and sneak in a pic! My most memorable attempt was at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, it was super difficult as there were people watching to make sure no one was taking photos. I had to be super sus and hold the camera down by my side as they would have noticed if I’d lifted it!

    1. I did the same thing when I was there Ashlea! Down at my side and with no flash. The pics came out horrible, but I’ve kept them all lol

      1. Glad I’m not the only one! My pics weren’t anything special either, from memory there were a few people’s chins in the photo.

  2. Hey Vicky,

    This post made me giggle:) I am in Ho Chi Minh and yesterday I was at at bus depot taking pictures of the buses and this man came up to me and said no photos, I said why not ? He replied I don’t know, I took a picture and carried on hahaha as you said we didn’t come all the way not to take pictures 🙂

    Annie ox

    1. Hi Annie! Haha! That’s funny. Glad you understand! 🙂

  3. I totally get the no pics because it spoils works of art argument, or no photography during a performance because it distracts everyone (Even if you try to enforce the no flash bit, cmon’ it happens either because you forgot to turn it off, or dont quite know how to even if you didn’t mean it maliciously). But apart from that, not allowing photographs is just ridiculous. If anything else, photographs are going to help your site get more famous and draw more crowds.

    1. I agree Revati! It’s pretty much free advertising!

    1. I think it happens more often than people would like to admit 😉

  4. Trying to tell the story without a picture is challenging – particularly when the reason for not allowing them doesn’t make sense. Fun post

  5. Haha, I personally think that any sign that says “DON’T” or “NO” is just like an invitation (or a challenge) for someone to do it! :))) Well, we are all rebels, aren’t we?

  6. Going to Abu Simbel is top on my list. I can’t believe you can’t take photos! That is unfair!

  7. Hmm, I can’t think of any particular instances when I couldn’t take a photo, but I’m sure there have been a few! Funny, I think telling people they CAN’T take a photo just makes them want to take it that much more!

  8. I try and respect places which request no photography as much as I can, though I must admit I get frustrated when I go somewhere and everyone else has their camera out anyway so usually join in – like the Vatican. A walk through the Sistine Chapel and there was supposed to be no flash photography, no talking – you walk in and everyone’s yelling, screaming, and flashes going off every which way.

    1. OMG yes! I hated that! And you end up getting yelled at even though everyone else is doing it too LOL

  9. Most in airports. But I guess you have to understand the laws of the land despite the reasons that may seem, well, just am… funny?

  10. Aha I’m laughing because I do this all the time and then laugh at people who do this! Museum staff especially are onto us (they know are ways and tricks)!

  11. Too funny! I hate it when no photos are allowed. I have to admit I’ve done it a few times too–sometimes on accident, but a few times I just couldn’t resist!

  12. I took a picture of a big Welcome To Sydney sign in the airport just as I got across the border at the airport (so my back was to all the screens)…a security guy came up and made me delete it in front of him! It was one of my first trips abroad by myself when I was 19 so I was fairly new to the travelling game. I thought it was only no photos of the border area…not of the sign on the wall once I was past it!

    1. Oh wow, that’s crazy! I don’t see anything wrong with taking a picture of the sign. What a way to start the traveling game! lol 😉

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