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Taking photos excluding People 2010/2/20 18:24
Hi I had a general question about where you can take photos in Japan without being weird or rude. So far I've seen a lot of thread on people ( rude or not rude or model releases or them being in a shot where you were trying to photo something else), but I'm curious, is it rude to photograph stuff like a meal you eat for your blog? I have a couple of friends who asked me to chronicle my trip, because they don't feel they could go any time soon. Is it okay to take pictures of buildings, food, parks, plants, museums, zoo, etc? Without flash? Just regular pictures so not as to disturb others?
Would it be bad to photo the little shinto statues in remote areas? How about a sumo stadium?

I love photography in general, so besides the whole 'tourist' thing, I really just love chronicling beautiful things. I take pictures in my own town. We have some interesting artist studios here and random statues created out of old bike parts :)

Thank you for your time!

Ps. Is it weird to get a gift for your hostel manager? I know it's kind just business and all, but I like giving little gifts and stuff.
by Mel (guest)  

Be a tourist 2010/2/21 04:57
Sounds like you just want to do what a lot of tourists do, that shouldn't be a problem. In general, when photography or flash photography is not allowed it is clearly indicated with signs. If you want to shoot people, it is better to ask although that usually results in a posed photos with the unavoidable V sign. In restaurants it is probably better to avoid the flash to avoid disturbing the other guests, besides, you'll get better photos. Just use common sense.
by Boris (guest) rate this post as useful

Japan 2010/2/21 08:24
Japanese people take photos of their food for their blogs all the time- as above though, don't use flash in a restaurant. Of course it's ok to take photos of buildings and zoos- I'm not sure why you think people would object?

Giving a present to your hostel manager is unnecessary really, but it's up to you.

Incidentally, the "little Shinto statues" in the countryside are probably jizos, which are actually Buddhist. I can't think of any small Shinto statues you would see away from a shrine.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

Thanks 2010/2/21 18:33
I just didn't want to be insulting to anyone.

Well I saw a little foxy statue.. So I didn't think it was buddhist. It was really random in a foresty area out around Kawagoe area.. I don't know if I'd be able to find it again.. Perhaps I just thought it was a fox.. Dunno. I was curious if it'd be bad taste to photograph them. I was able to photograph a lot of buddhist statues in Korea, but I don't know if that works out in Japan cause they are different places.

I'll use common sense then. I was seeing if there was anything more stricter or on a need to know basis about photography there, besides the people issue ( model release, permissions, etc).
by mel (guest) rate this post as useful

A word on General Release 2010/2/21 22:50
You only need model releases if you plan on trying to sell your photos. For a traveller like yourself, you donft have to worry about any of that stuff.

If you want to get into travel photography it is a completely different story. All people within your photo need to have signed the General Release declaration (in their own language as well) otherwise it is illegal to sell it. Also, a lot of main landmarks can be covered by copyright. Are you aware, just as a random point of interest and to help explain what I am trying to, that taking and selling pictures of the Eiffel Tower during the day is legal, but the French government actually has a copyright license on it at night, meaning that any photos of said landmark taken at night need to be approved by the French government before they can be offered legally for sale?

Travel photography is a hard world and isnft half as glitzy as one would think, especially for a freelance. Obviously those employed by agencies/magazines/other forms of media, have easier access to all of the needed channels in order to get their work out into the open.

Luckily for you though, you wonft need to worry too much about any of those things. Just keep it in mind if you had been dreaming about making a small fortune from your images after your vacation.
by Minkagreen rate this post as useful

statues 2010/2/22 00:32
Yes, the foxes represent the Inari shrines and you can spot them all over Japan. There are many other statues in the yards or enterances of shinto shrines such as the shishi (lion) or sometimes something as interesting as genitals. No problem taking photos of any of them.

However, you are usually not allowed to photograph the "holy body" situated in the very center of the shrine building. Watch out for illustrated signs.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

WOW! 2010/2/22 06:54
Minkagreen- wow that was very detailed information. I don't think I want to sell any of my photos really, but it's good to keep in mind. I mostly just want to put it in my blog for friends to read:)

Uco - Thanks! I'll keep it in mind.
by mel (guest) rate this post as useful

photographing buildings 2010/2/22 11:44
Of course it's ok to take photos of buildings and zoos- I'm not sure why you think people would object?

I'm not sure where Mel is coming from, but the new culture of fear in the US means that photographers are now looked upon with suspicion when taking pictures of public buildings. Its been a problem in the past, although it usually doesn't affect the average tourist with a small point and shoot.

Mel, you should be relieved to know that this really isn't an issue in Japan.

How about a sumo stadium?

Photography is allowed from your seat, but the ushers will probably try to keep you moving if you are standing in the aisles. I'm not positive if flash photography is allowed without some sort of media pass.

Also just wanted to add that what Uco said about avoiding photographing the "holy body" of shrines also applies to temples. Most prefer that you not photograph the altars, especially with flash.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Indeed 2010/2/22 12:43
yllwsmrf -I'm glad it's not an issue in Japan. I am in the USA, so maybe that was subconsciously bugging me? I wonder how much worse it's going to be in security checks due to the bathroom bomber..

I did see in a guide book that photography is allowed in Sumo stadium. It said that they may even allow you to photograph the less famous sumo wrestlers before the match down closer than your seat. But it said that the more famous ones, they'll probably ask you don't photograph them close.. Something like that. I was looking at the calendar and I think there probably won't be any matches going on while I'm there?

Thanks for all the advice!
Curious if anyone had made a model release in Japanese?
by Mel (guest) rate this post as useful

photographing sumo 2010/2/22 12:51
It said that they may even allow you to photograph the less famous sumo wrestlers before the match down closer than your seat. But it said that the more famous ones, they'll probably ask you don't photograph them close.

Its not really a matter of which wrestlers you are photographing, rather its based on what ticket you hold. Naturally, they don't want you loitering in an area that you didn't pay for, but as you mentioned they are more lenient earlier on in the day when the stadium is less crowded. Once it starts to fill up though, they begin cracking down on checking tickets.

Btw, when will you be travelling in Japan?
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Around 2010/2/23 06:17
April 20 to April 27.

Also could someone put up the hiragana for how to ask to do photographs? I'm never sure about the Romanizations, of what they should sound like.Thanks!
by Mel (guest) rate this post as useful

"Photo Okay?" 2010/2/23 08:19

Whatever country I travel to, I just hold my camera and say the international language, "Okay?" and I have always been successful on figuring out if the answer is a yes or a no. It also works for people who have problems with eyesight, hearing or language.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

LOL 2010/2/23 13:02
Well there's always that :)
by Mel (guest) rate this post as useful

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