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Taking Photos

Egypt is a fantastic place for photography, with ample sunshine to make those holiday snaps look really good. However there are some restrictions on where you cannot take photos as well as some good advice on photography in general.

Because of the damage that flash photography can cause to some ancient paintwork, photography inside tombs is forbidden. Over the years many people have tried to get around this problem by giving tips/bribes to the guards outside these tombs, especially in the Valley of the Kings, which has now forced the authorities to set up security points at the entrances where all photographic items are to be deposited until the visitor leaves the site. “No Flash Photography” means just that and these signs are there for a reason.

Inside museums is another place that discourages photography, though it is possible to purchase a permit at some of them, or a visit can be arranged, at an additional cost, to accommodate those who want to photograph the exhibits. These restrictions are mainly there to save problems between the photographer and the people who just want to look at the items on display: someone taking photos in the narrow aisles can easily cause a jam of people, which in turn can lead to some ugly scenes. To keep the people moving, it is far easier to stop the main cause of the problems.

Although some sites do allow you to take photographs with no restrictions, you may find certain areas within them which do not. These areas are well signposted with “No Photography” markers. Again, there is a genuine reason for this, so please do as requested.

Do not take any photos of anything military, be it Army, Navy, Air Force or police! If you do, you do face the prospect of having your photographic equipment confiscated. However, sometimes you may be able to get photographs with some of these people, if you ask them first. There are also restrictions at some industrial sites/plants, but these are normally well signed.  If in doubt, ask someone official.

Underwater photography is allowed, but remember to ask about any restrictions that may apply in certain areas (Ras Mohammed for example).

If you wish a photo taken of yourself, in some particular location, try and get a fellow visitor, or even a guide, to do this for you. Many of the people that work on the sites, whether officially or not, will expect you to give them a tip for taking your picture, and the tip will never be big enough for them!

Some sites do allow you to use tripods, some are even free of charge, but remember that other visitors are looking around and so it may take you a long period of time to get the photograph you require.

Usually you will find that the earlier you visit the sites, the quieter they tend to be. Alternatively, just before closing time also tends to be a quieter time. Try and time your visit(s) to those periods when there will be less people.

Make sure you have ample batteries and/or memory cards before visiting the sites. Very few sites have shops/stalls that sell these items and those that do tend to be more expensive than shops in the city centres.

Ask before taking photos of locals as some people may object to their picture being taken without permission. A simple question is far better than a huge argument!

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