Travel Travel Tips

My Biggest Pet Peeve About Tourist Attractions

One thing that really boggles my mind is when tourists spend so much time and money traveling to a place to tour an attraction just to find that photos are not allowed. This has happened to us on many occasions; even if we knew beforehand that photography was not allowed it was still very annoying!


A big example of this was when we finally got to see Michelangelo’s Statue of David at the Academia Gallery of Florence. There stood one of the greatest works of art and I could not take a single photo of it! I couldn’t have a photo to commemorate my Statue of David experience. There were a lot of people trying to be “discreet” about snapping a photo, however, we didn’t want our camera confiscated by security so we dared not try. We did manage to snap a nice photo of a bronze replica at Piazzale Michelangelo!


I’ve always wanted to take a tour of the White House so I was excited to find out that the photo policy had changed for White House tourists. You are now allowed to take photos inside of the White House on the tour route. You are also allowed to post them on social media!

I was born and raised here in the USA and have yet to visit the White House of all places. It’s on my bucket list so maybe we’ll take a road trip to Washington, D.C. in the future. Plus, I really want to check out the Smithsonian because everyone says it’s amazing. Did I also mention my husband and I are big Scandal fans too? Hello, Olivia Pope!


Photos are allowed to be taken but there are still some restrictions. You can use phones or compact cameras with lenses that don’t exceed 3 inches (stills only). Tablets, video cameras, cameras with interchangeable lenses, tripods or monopods, and “camera sticks” (selfie sticks) are NOT allowed. Flash photography, live stream, talking and/or texting on your phone are also not allowed on the tour. If you do it, your phone may be confiscated by US Secret Service.

Not only is this a blog post about travel tips for photography at the White House, but it is also good tips for bloggers. Since I have yet to visit the White House, I was able to use a photo from Pixabay. It’s a website of royalty free stock photos that you could use to spruce up your blog posts. All photos in this post is from Pixabay, with the exception of the bronze David Statue which was taken by my husband.

Do you dislike tourist attractions with a no photography policy?

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  • Reply
    September 17, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Oh my god it’s SO annoying when that happens! In India you often have to pay a ‘photography fee’ to be allowed to take photos at an attraction. I got in trouble a few times for not respecting that rule haha

    • Reply
      September 17, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Oh wow a fee? I’ve never came across something like that – yet lol

  • Reply
    Christina M
    September 17, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Imagine if when you had your extraordinary moment with David, you could not even see the statue but instead had to push past 30 others and elbow your way to the front of the rail just to get a look. Would you have liked the statue as much? Would that photo have meaning to you?

    While I understand the frustration you express, as a fellow tourist I respect the fact that photography is not allowed in certain places. It forces people to live in the moment, be present, and have a genuine experience as opposed to checking items off a must see list and moving on. I had a tour of the Vatican back in 2005 and whole groups walked through the museum with a camera or video camera in front of their face for the 2 hour tour. They never once looked up to enjoy the beauty and history surrounding them. Plus their equipment often blocked my view and they were not watching where they were walking. This happens in places I have visited all over the world.

    As with anything, moderation is hard so I support no photos in places where it just overwhelms the space. But like you, I have excited about the White House change in policy. I live in DC and write weekend travel guides at so let me know if you need any advice or a personal guide once you are ready to visit.

    • Reply
      September 17, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Christina,

      Yes I understand what you mean. We have visited places (photography allowed) and there were tons of cell phones in the way, it is quite annoying. I just wish I were able to snap a photo of something memorable to me like David for keepsakes. Instead we opted for a mini statue from their gift shop lol We did however see a lot of people sneaking photos of him with security around. I think if photography is not allowed, then don’t do it. It’s disrespectful to the museum or whomever set those rules. I will check out your site for DC! I’m hoping to visit on a long weekend trip someday.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Yes, that’s is the most annoying thing EVER!!

    There was a beautiful palace in Vienna that we once visited on holiday there. No photos were allowed inside the palace which I know is usually a common thing in old buildings and palace…but I really really wanted to take a photo of the inside as it was just so beautiful!

    In some places, they set up photos in areas that have the best view/background etc and make you pay to take a photo in that area.

    • Reply
      September 23, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      Hi Krystal,

      Wow! So far I have only encountered no photography places but have yet visited a site with a fee to take pictures. Maybe I will eventually, I just wonder if I’ll decide to pay the fee though haha

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