A couple of weeks ago I had a very enjoyable week away in Venice, about which you can read more here.
I am conscious that it is still early in the year and many of you may not have been on holiday yet, so I thought it may be useful for me to draw on my experience of the trip and provide some helpful advice on how you should behave as a tourist based on my observations.
The etiquette appears very simple, but can be elaborated upon as you gain confidence:
- Find a spectacularly photogenic area: an impressive town square or sweeping landscape vista can work equally well. Venice is especially good for this because everywhere is spectacularly photogenic.
- Have a look around to spot anyone with a camera raised to their face about to take a photograph. I say raised to the face, because an old style SLR is best as they are probably the most enthusiastic photographers. A compact camera or even a phone will do at a pinch.
- Carefully place yourself in frame. Be sure to be close enough to the camera to be a major element of the shot, not just a minor background player.
- Under no circumstances make any attempt to look like you blend in or appear in anyway purposeful. A vacant slack-jawed expression is best, showing no interest in the stunning view of which you are now a part. If possible wear a brightly coloured shirt and/ or a ridiculous hat.
- At this point you must remain alert: after a certain period even the most dedicated photographer may weaken and change their position to exclude you from the shot, so you need to be ready to move with them. Be sure to keep it casual so it appears accidental.
- With practice you may perfect the art of briefly walking out of shot, but reappearing at the critical moment the shutter is pressed – this is only for the experienced tourist however.
- Bringing in an accomplice to take pictures of each other whilst in shot is a nice way to mix things up a bit, but be sure to remain unappealing to the overall aesthetic of the shot.
- For best effect the perfect finish is all important and timing is critical. Look for a point at which the opportunity to take the photograph is entirely lost, e.g. a coach party of OAPs turns up or a lorry parks in the way. In extreme cases you may have to wait until night falls. At this point immediately walk quickly and purposefully out of shot.
Hope that helps, have a great holiday whenever it is (just stay away from me!)