How to Take Amazing Photos in Museums, Without Getting Kicked Out: A Summary

Julia Kennedy - Marketing & Aud Dev Associate

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From museum selfies to posed tableau vivants, we love taking photos on our tours. And with museums now taking advantage of the popularity of social media like Instagram to engage their audience, taking pictures in museums is becoming an art form all of its own.

Lifehacker recently published an article about taking amazing photos in art museums, without getting kicked out.

“One of the best things about visiting art museums is being able to see work that touches and inspires you, and it makes sense that you might want to snap a photo. But, many museums have rules restricting photography, and the last thing you want to do is be kicked out or damage artwork for the sake of a photo.”

Be mindful of the do’s and don’ts of taking great museum photos.

Here are Lifehacker’s top tips:

Follow the Museum’s Rules

Just because the museum is sharing its collection with you doesn’t mean you can break the rules to share the perfect shot with your followers. Read up on the rules of what you can and can’t do, or ask a guard (they’ll be really happy you asked!). Need the photo for a project? Try reaching out to the museum beforehand and they may accommodate your request.

Respect Other Visitors

Be mindful of other guests visiting the museum, by keeping equipment to a minimum and waiting your turn for a moment with the piece. The best times to go to a museum for photos without a ton of visitors in the background are during opening or closing hours. More and more museums are even hosting Instagram meetups, either before or after hours for museum fans to meet and get the best shots of the space.

More and more museums are encouraging photography in their spaces.

But in the case of speaking to another visitor, be polite. Lifehacker recommends:

  • “Pardon me, I didn’t mean to bump into you.”
  • “Hi, sorry to disturb you. Do you mind moving a couple steps that way so I can grab a photo quickly?”
  • “Excuse me, I love this painting and want to take a quick photo. Do you mind if I stand next to you?”
  • “So sorry to interrupt, I want to take a quick photo but don’t want to accidentally include you in the shot. Do you mind stepping over there for a second?”

Take Your Time

Allow yourself plenty of time to visit the museum in general, and plan your photos. Our CEO, Nick Gray, made a video of his top tips for visiting a museum – check it out:

Consider different angles, or test different ISO settings. If you’re feeling up for it, maybe even a wide lens, or long exposure to capture the feel of the gallery.

Don’t forget to quickly snap a photo of the label to give proper credit to the artist, or, if sharing on social media, tag the museum.

Got a great photo from a Museum Hack tour? Tag us or use #museumhack and you might see it shared on our social media pages.

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