Please sign in to post.

A tip on taking photos on a group tour without interfering with the group's dynamics

On my first Rick Steves group tour, I was continually stopping to take photos and then running to catch up. My sister was in the group with me, and she pointed out that 1) this was distracting to the our Rick Steves tour leader, and 2) she had figured out a way to solve the problem. something which seems obvious to me now that she pointed it out. Whenever the group stops to listen to the guide explain something, I work my way slowly toward the side of the bunch of us which is closest to the tour leader. That way, when the group starts moving, I'm near the front. This means that if I do stop to take a photo, I may end up near the end of the group but I won't be causing them to slow down. (Yeah, I know Rick feels that memories are as good as photos but not at my age! I do agreevehemently with most of the Rick Steves travel philosophy; I'm a light packer, never a complainer and talk to locals as much as possible....but when I look at the photos of my '08, '09 and later trips, the whole wonderful experience comes flooding back!)

Posted by
2526 posts

You are an adult. The guide knows you are an adult. Enjoy taking photos.

Posted by
5789 posts

A good tour leader understands that photography is an important part of the travel experience for some and will facilitate and even point out photo opportunities. Up to a point.

Posted by
489 posts

Take your photos.. you paid for this trip and forget RS philosophy ... He took many photos his first times in Europe... I would bet big money on this...

Did your RS group have the nice "quiet devises"? You know, the ones you plug into your ears and can hear from several meters away? Well, don't worry then, as you can catch up to the group. And I would NOT worry what the tour guide thinks, unless you were constantly late to the bus due to photo opportunities. Or you were getting lost due to the photo opportunities.
I love my photos and have them as a screen saver show on my computer so I relive my trips everyday.

Happy travels, T.

Posted by
1068 posts

I take lots of photos and have only lost my group once (after a number of Rick Steves and other tours.....when the group of tour members I was following turned out to be lost!!) Generally, I do it by: a) moving to the front when we stop, b) always keeping an eye on tour members (as in ever 30 seconds or so) and c) letting folks know I am off taking pics. Not that I think it matters, I say take your photos. One of my pet peeves is tour guides talking and talking and not thinking we might actually like to see (or photograph) what we are there for!!! Also, as someone who has done neuropsych testing for years, I agree with previous posters who prefer photos....basically, our memory stinks (at almost all ages....we are NOT computers)....so I like photos! Plus, I think it enhances us creatively if we try to take artistic photos instead of "we were here" stuff (which is okay too, I have lots of those.) In any event, if you are a snapper on a RS tour, I say "go for it!" (PS: I don't mean this to be a photo rant, if you don't like to take them but instead to "be in the moment" that is cool too, I just like to snap!!)

Posted by
3789 posts

May I suggest 3 other tips to reduce photography infringement or distraction?
1. Turn off the sounds for your shutter and any other photography alarms
2. If you use an iPad or selfie stick understand just how many around you have their sights blocked when you stick your arm/s out. Sometimes, despite bending down or trying to make yourself small, due to focal lengths and where your pad is, you can reduce sight for numerous people. I try to make allowances, but on a trip to Galapagos, 13 of us were on a narrow path with a large tortoise lumbering along. One person insisted on filming with her iPad and as she was squatted down, thought she was out of the way, but in reality we could only watch around her pad and few could photograph or record without her iPad taking centre stage....and she didn't back away to give anyone else a turn.
3. Learn how to use your zoom rather than moving closer or sticking your arms out further.
There is always space in our life for photos. A good guide should realize and provide a little time for this. I love my photo screen savers, but also the emotional memory of experiencing happenings without a camera in front of my eye. Our visual eye may not be perfect, but without the distraction of trying to photograph, our other emotions are engaged. A recent trip to Spain showed that museums with 'no photographs' were less stressful or distracting, and allowed closer engagement with the art or artifacts.

Posted by
11292 posts

Turn off the sounds for your shutter and any other photography alarms

YES - and not just when abroad! A surprising number of people don't realize that these sounds can be turned off, and that your phone or camera does not have to make a loud, disruptive "ka-THUNK" sound every time you take a picture.

Posted by
2051 posts

I always have felt as if I was "running to catch up", too. Great tips. Thanks for posting, everyone!

Posted by
1068 posts

If you turn your sounds off, please read your manual to find out what else on your camera that may impact. For example, the Sony RX100 V1 does not give you access to some functions when you go to electronic shutter (turn sounds off.) Also, it may change the maximum or minimum shutter speed you can access.

Posted by
646 posts

One additional advantage to turning your camera's sound off is extended battery life. Too bad selfie sticks don't need batteries.

That said, I can't see why photo takers in tour groups are a particular problem unless they actually hold the group up or impeach the group's vieiw.

Posted by
210 posts

I do take many images during my tours. Yes, I am the one at back of the group always trying to catch up. (Honestly......several times I have had to rely on the new "whisper" systems as "sonar" to find my group...lol.) I am mindful of the group so as to not slow the group down or block out others from their experience. I have not perceived myself as an issue for the groups or guides....but others may disagree (?) Many times I will go back on my own and do more "work" on a special location.....or sometimes on my "pre-tour" days I will visit the tour stops for photographic reasons. Yes, I have a problem. LOL. But......I do have awesome visual memories of my experiences.

Posted by
1068 posts

Yes, I have a problem

I don't think so. Just a hobby. It is great to be able to rely on a fantastic visual record (much better than our memory in terms of accuracy.) Additionally, trying to take an artistic picture means you really have to "see" the scene, not just stand around and gawk. (which is okay too!) I do my share of gawking.... many places don't permit photos and sometimes I have enough, and I certainly don't want to photograph EVERYTHING! So if you take photos- good, if you don't take photos- good, if you take a few photos- good, if you take movies- good, if you use a cell phone- good! All works. The key is trying not to disturb others. I certainly have been disturbed by other photographers and also by people who are not taking photos. So as long as we try to be kind to others, I think we are okay.