How to Take Pictures in Public

How to Take Pictures in PublicASK ELIZABETH

Question: Blogger to blogger, is it weird to have your camera out and snap pictures at each place when you travel or work on posts in public? I’m sure you make it super seamless, but I was just wondering because I’m so self conscious when I try to take pictures out at restaurants or in public places.

Today’s question comes straight from the comments on a travel post awhile back. It was this one on Being Foodies in Wichita if your curiosity was getting the best of you πŸ˜‰ I like this question a lot because I think it is something we all think about. I still sometimes get super self-conscious when I am taking pictures in public – like posing in line while we were at Disney … hahaha. But so many of those photos we want to remember are in public – parks, restaurants, coffee shops, Disneyland. And sometimes you just can’t hide from all the people to get the photos you want.

When I first started blogging and taking pictures, it was not only awkward for me but also the people taking the photos or being in the photos. We quickly had to move past that to create the images we wanted for Oak + Oats and also create the memories we wanted for life. What is the point of carrying around a camera if you never use it on the people and the memories you love?

So here are my simple tips for taking pictures in public.

1. Play the tourist

Just pretend like you are a tourist whether or not you are! People love to take photos on vacation and you will blend in – especially if you are taking photos of your people! People may look but no one will care – they will probably think it is cute! I do this all the time in coffee shops or at restaurants. It is easier for me to take pictures on vacation because I want to remember all the things! Just do that in your normal life too. We have a weird bravery when we are in a new city – we don’t care that everyone will see us taking a picture of the Disneyland Castle – in fact, a million other people are as well. But in real life, we may be the only one taking a picture of the movie theater sign or posing with our coffee at our favorite breakfast eatery. Don’t let that stop you. Play the tourist role.

2. Ask Permission

If you are feeling like the owners might not be down with you taking photos in a public place (shop, eatery, coffee shop, brewery), just head to the front and ask an employee if it is okay if you take pictures of you friends & family there. You can always add that you are a lifestyle blogger and you want to take some photos of your family at their location and let them know you will tag them in posts. I’ve done this a couple times and they always say yes! They want you to share photos of you enjoying their business. Shops might have different rules so I would ALWAYS ask if you are inside a shop and taking photos of products.

3. Own It!

Really you just got to own it! It becomes easier overtime!! Carry that camera around and take pictures of your people (and let your husband take pictures of you!) I used to be so afraid of people asking me what I was doing or being mean to me (what?!) but no one really does that. I have been asked a couple times if I am a photographer and they are always really excited about what I am doing (and not mean at all!) I think you will find less people are thinking about what you are doing, and sometimes you just need to be brave and take the picture you want so you can have it. Don’t let fear of what people may think keep you from creating the art you want to create!!


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Author: Elizabeth Mayberry

  • Amanda | Maple Alps

    Yes! Own it! You definitely get used to it πŸ™‚

  • What a great question to ask! πŸ™‚ I loved the way you answered it Elizabeth! It’s hard for me to own it, but then I think about how much I’ll regret it afterwards!

  • Love these tips–and yes, ultimately, you just have to own it!

  • Yep – You be YOU and own it, sister!

  • Kim Ridings

    Well said Elizabeth. I will try not to hide when your camera swings my way. ????

  • This is definitely something that gets easier the more you do it (and the longer you’ve been blogging, ha ha). Now, my friends and family just know to expect it, and I always shock them if I for some reason don’t bring my camera πŸ™‚

  • I love the “Own It” advice! I try to live by that advice when I’m out and about for the blog. I cannot wait to see your Disneyland recaps!

  • Such good advice, thank you for sharing, I appreciate it!

  • This is great. I am SO weird about taking photos in public unless it’s of my daughter (I mean, it’s way normal to take photos of your kids!). But it’s something I want to get out of… I love all these tips, especially how people are probably not thinking what you think they are, and actually, I bet way less people notice than you think!

  • It’s so cool to hear that people aren’t total jerks and sometimes actually ask what you’re doing/if you’re a photographer! Thanks for the encouragement to just get out there and start taking all the pictures!!