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Photo Poker – When to take a photograph and when to ask first


As a photographer more often than not you ask yourself whether you should grab that special moment and take the photograph right away or you better ask first and then try to catch up with the opportunity now gone. It’s pretty much a poker game at times. Here’s how I try to seize those special moments without embarrassing people.

In October 2011 we went on a splendid round trip in Puglia, Italy. Masseria Cimino was our first country house experience. Given the picturesque setup there was a British photographer team shooting scenes for an edition of Condé Nast Wedding.

Masseria Cimino Photo Shooting

At this occasion I found it more thoughtful to ask first whether I could also take a photo or two. So I went up to the photographer and asked him. He sent me over to the model to ask her. The model sent me over to the producer to ask her. The producer said that it was alright as long as I didn’t Tweet the photos. So, please, don’t Tweet ;-)

Model at Masseria Cimino wearing white wedding dress during photo shooting

Preview of wedding dress photo shooting at Masseria Cimino


Ostuni Photo Shooting

Funny enough, the day after we found the same team during our stay at the white town Ostuni. Not shy anymore, this time around I didn’t ask permission for a little take of my own…

Model with white wedding dress in front of church in Ostuni, Puglia, Italy

Sightseeing in Borgo Egnazia

Borgo Egnazia is a beautiful resort. Since it is located only a few minutes from Masseria Cimino we thought we give it a try and check it out. Most of the time Puglia’s resorts and masserie are hidden away behind a closed gate. We rang and got the usual unfriendly sounding ‘chi é?’ who is it? We said that we were tourist looking around for nice places. Opens the gate without further ado. The place looks promising right from the beginning so I thought that in this round of poker I take a few shots before we make it to the reception and they forbid to take pictures…

Whitish cushions in outdoor bar

But no, lively concierge Rosita was happy to show us around! Maybe I should add that October is just after the summer season so she must not have been overly busy ;-)

Please find our photo essay on Borgo Egnazia here.

Taking photos at Masseria Bagnara

Same as Borgo Egnazia we didn’t stay at Masseria Bagnara but we were brave enough to venture past the iron gate. Okay, here I’ve got to add that we had heard from several people that Masseria Bagnara was quite something. And since the gate was open maybe we were not even that brave after all.

Anyway, in this photo gamble once again I found it appropriate to ask for permission for my epic photographer’s session

Stair in Masseria Bagnara's patio, Puglia, Italy, Europe

And guess what, the proprietor was thrilled to show us around, proudly. And yes, he has all reason to be proud. He was so keen on getting on our travel blog that he invited us for an Italian style luncheon. Good thing we didn’t have much plans for that day. At 5 pm he was done with us ;-)

If you are into food you may want to check our post about the Italian style luncheon.

Calamarata Puglia style pasta dish in Masseria Bagnara

What’s your own take?

When do you go ahead and shoot and when do you ask first?

I don’t think I could have had these shots in Marrakesh had I asked first…

Waiting salesmen at Djemaa el Fna square in Marrakech


About Author

Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog In his day job Walter is an online marketing manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.


  1. Personally, I think photo’s of me usually turn out better when the photographer doesn’t ask and just starts shooting. Except in some cases, when it’s very obvious that he/she is taking my photo, I get really uncomfortable and it would help if they did ask. It really depends on the ninja-skills of the photographer.

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