How to Practice Proper Vacation Photo-Taking Etiquette

Question: I went to Disney World recently and had a number of issues with other people being rude while I was trying to take photographs or videos. Could you give some tips on how people should behave when they see someone else trying to film something?

Answer: Sure, but I only think it's fair to include tips for photographers too. There's rudeness on both sides.

If you see someone holding a camera up to their eye, don't walk directly in front of them if you can possibly help it. Obviously, if stepping around them means you'd get hit by a bus, no worries, but make the effort if you can.

If you inadvertently photobomb someone's shot, apologize.

But, photographers: Get your shot and put your camera away. You can't hold up foot traffic on a busy pathway for 10 minutes while you play with every setting on your DSLR.

If someone's taking a video within earshot of you, don't use any language you wouldn't use in front of your grandmother.

It's unrealistic to expect everyone around you to maintain total silence while you're filming. People are going to yell and clap when the space shuttle takes off; little kids are going to get excited if they think Mickey is waving to them in the Electrical Parade. It's rude to give them dirty looks.

Don't let your kids run right up to the amusement park characters if someone else is already posing with them. (Try talking to your kids about this in advance. However, if, like me, you have a 3-year-old who is obsessed with Mickey, wear shoes you can run in, because you will probably have to sprint after him.)

When your kids are with a character, keep it snappy. An autograph plus one or two pictures is enough if other kids are waiting.

Readers, any other tips for polite travel photography?

Travel Etiquette for Photos

Q: You've talked about "passengers of size" on planes before, but what about "theatergoers of size"? I either fly first class or buy two seats on a plane, and I don't have a problem with that, but I'm not sure what I should do about going to a Broadway show. Buying two tickets won't really help, since I don't imagine the armrests can be pushed up, and it's not like I can somehow test out a seat before I book tickets. I'd hate to miss this particular show when I'm in New York, but I also don't want to embarrass myself or make the people seated next to me uncomfortable. What, if anything, should I do?

A: Call the theater before you book your seats. You might be surprised -- some theaters have been renovated and have much roomier seats. If there's box seating, that might be a more comfortable option as well. Just make sure you call the theater itself, not the ticket-booking service the theater uses, because you want to speak with someone who is actually in that particular theater and who can go out there with a measuring tape if need be.

Lesley Carlin has been writing about travel and etiquette professionally for more than 10 years. As one of the Etiquette Grrls, she is the co-author of "Things You Need to Be Told" and "More Things You Need to Be Told" (Berkley). Have a travel etiquette question of your own? E-mail Lesley at