Here’s how Travel Photographers can keep Unethical Practices at bay!

Travel photography is not just the reflection of a place but its people, history, culture and art too. Not to forget, it is a beautiful means to weave memories that can be looked back and cherished with a smile. However, there are certain ethics that should be followed before rotating the camera on the beat of your heart.

Here’s a list of ethics of travel photography that must be kept in mind for an enriching experience.


Before lifting your camera to capture anything and everything, it is crucial to learn what behavior is acceptable for ethical travel photography. The first question that should immediately pop up is whether you are a welcomed visitor or not. Remember, a photographer does not have the license to be disrespectful towards their subjects. In order to avoid any complications, travel photographers should begin with paying attention to the surroundings, engaging in meaningful conversations with the locals and respecting the choice of a subject who does not prefer to be clicked.


If you are looking for a photograph of an individual, it is courteous to seek his/her permission. One must not forget that the right to be snapped or clicked is purely the choice of the person in the frame. The best way to approach is to build up connections with the people around you. Openness and friendliness make the other person feel comfortable wherein he might provide you with the much-awaited click of your choice.


Intent plays a significant role when it comes to clicking photographs while traveling. It provides clarity on the story or the message that you wish to unfold through the pictures. Also, it makes the task a lot easier as it saves time and helps to communicate exactly what your heart and mind want.


To pay someone for a photo does not hold true everywhere. It is a mutual bargain that travel photographers should pay attention to while clicking pictures. There are times when a smile can negotiate for the photograph but there are places where posing for the pictures serves as a means to earn money. So, photographers have to find their own ways to get a shot they are aiming for.


One of the most important ethics of travel photography is to show respect towards the choices, emotions, culture and traditions of the people. Emphatic and considerate behavior is what you need to adopt to establish a meaningful bond and represent the subjects with dignity. Even after seeking permission from the person, travelers must ask whether their photo can be used for commercial purposes. In other words, the choice of the subject should be the focal point as far as the ethics of travel photography are concerned.


While living in a technologically-advanced world, it has become easy for us to glorify and morph photos as per our choice and preference. These days, photos clicked by travelers are modified to serve the demands of the market. However, the ethical behaviour demands that originality of the photos should be retained as travel photography does not welcome misrepresentation of subjects. Just like the right to privacy, subjects also possess a right of publicity. In case you violate it, you will have to encounter legal repercussions.


Do photographs contain objects that are protected by copyright?

Yes, a wide range of material is protected by the copyright law. This includes literary, artistic and photographic work, maps, globes, charts, diagrams, motion pictures and commercial prints.

Is it important to seek permission from the subject before clicking him/her?

Yes, it is really important to seek permission from the subject before clicking him/her.

What if a person reproduces a copyright work without permission?

If permission was required, then a legal action can be taken by the copyright owner against the person to prevent unlawful activities like selling posters with a picture of the owner on it. Even compensation can be demanded to repair the damage.

What fundamental rights are involved while photographing people?

There are two fundamental rights that come into play when you snap a picture of another person. These include the right of the subject to privacy and the right of the photographer to free expression.

Ethics of Travel Photography