- Lots of tourist destinations around the world try to stop people from taking photos.
- Places of worship generally discourage photography.
- The Eiffel Tower bans commercial photography at night.
- Other locations require a permit, while still others don’t ban photos out-right but do ban selfie sticks and tripods.
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Before you travel anywhere, you may want to research where you can (and can’t) take photos.
Museums, places of worship, and other major tourist attractions around the world have discouraged the public from taking photographs. While some places discourage photos to preserve art or protect copyright, other locations don’t prohibit photography at all but do ban tripods or selfie sticks.
These are attractions where you may want to put that camera away.
The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rome, has a no photos policy.
One of the most famous art pieces in the world forbids photography.
The Nippon Television Network Corporation of Japan received exclusive rights to photograph the Sistine Chapel until 1997, in exchange for funding restoration of the famous artwork. Even after the deal had expired, the Vatican decided to keep the “no photos” rule. Guards are stationed inside the chapel to remind tourists not to take photos or videos.
A few parks in India banned photo shoots to protect their guests from bee swarms.
Lalbagh and Cubbon Park (also known as Sri Chamarajendra Park) in India were hot spots for photo shoots and events like wedding shoots, but also for honey bees.
The horticulture department banned photo shoots, professional cameras, and flashlights because they can distract honey bees, who could then attack visitors.
Petitions have tried to get the parks to reverse the ban, to no avail.
Photos of the Eiffel Tower at night may not be allowed to be published.
This “symbol of Paris” is within the public domain, meaning that anyone is allowed to take photos and even use them for commercial use, like in advertisements.
However, at night, the tower is on a timer to dazzle with a golden light show. To film the tower at night during the light show, you need special permission. Anyone can take a photo, but using a shot of the tower at night for a sponsored social media post would be against their law.
No photos are allowed at the Pentagon.
The US Department of Defense is fairly strict regarding their “no photos” policy in the Pentagon for security reasons.
The one exception is in the Pentagon Memorial, which is a tourist attraction.
This historic tree-lined street in Houston has attempted to ban photo shoots to much controversy.
One of the shooting locations from the movie “Terms of Endearment” is in a picturesque Houston community called Broadacres. The oak-lined streets and promenades on North and South Boulevard are popular photo-op locations, but residents have made unflattering headlines for kicking out people for staging photo shoots there.
A battle now wages between the homeowners association, which wants to ban photo shoots and photos, and the City of Houston. While the City of Houston says the streets and esplanades are public property, the home association believes the property was deeded to them.
National Parks have banned commercial photography unless you have a permit.
You can have a personal photoshoot, but national parks have banned commercial photography without permits.
According to the National Parks Service website, commercial photography that would need a permit includes “film, electronic, magnetic, digital, or other recording of a moving image by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience with the intent of generating income.”
In the United Arab Emirates, be careful where you take photos.
An American tourist was arrested in 2014 for taking a photograph in Abu Dhabi. The architect from Athens, Georgia, was in town for a conference and served jail time for photographing houses and mosques in the capital.
At the Yas Marina Circuit, photography is not forbidden, but if it’s thought to be commercial it can be punishable by jail time. Two Bangladeshi residents were arrested and fined for taking personal photos in 2011.
Experts say these arrests aren’t common, but that you should still exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings.
No one is allowed to take photos of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”
Leonardo da Vinci’s painting resides in the Milan Museum and can be viewed by reservation only, which need to booked weeks, or even months in advance.
Photos are forbidden inside the Valley of the Kings.
On the Nile River’s West Bank is the Valley of the Kings, the renowned collection of ancient Egyptian tombs.
There’s no photography allowed inside, and the sneaky photos someone could manage to take will come out poorly due to the lack of lighting. That said, the occasional rare photo is allowed to be taken if you apply to Egypt’s tourist authorities.
Quite a few US museums explicitly forbid tripods and selfie sticks.
While most museums say its to prevent overcrowding, some critics say it’s so the museums can boost revenue.
There’s no photography in the Anne Frank House.
The outside of the Taj Mahal is famous, but not the inside.
The white marble Taj Mahal in India is a mausoleum, so photos are prohibited inside.
Some Japanese temples have banned photography because of badly behaving tourists.
Genko-an Temple, Jissoin Temple, Daigo-ji Temple, and others have banned photography completely to respect those who are trying to worship or enjoy the scenery in peace.
Apparently, at some of the temples, there were reports of “photographers setting up tripods and blocking the walkways, trampling into gardens, and leaning on walls and pillars that are important cultural assets.”