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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Travel Tip: Photographing Art


By Saqra




Tips for Taking Photos of Art and Tomb Walls

Please don't use flash with your cameras in museums and tombs! Reason: it actually damages paintings.

Here is a little more information.

Regular Cameras

The flashes built into traditional film or digital cameras usually are equipped with the bad type of lighting. Cameras usually use a xenon flash that emits a large amount of ultraviolet light. This is the damaging kind of light that can cause colors on artwork to fade. This is why many museums ban the use of flash photography.

Light-Emitting Diodes

LED (light-emitting diode) lights don't produce the large amounts of ultraviolet light that is typical of traditional camera flashes and sunlight, so they are considered safe for art.

There are now LED flashes for photography. However, many photographers don't like them because they are less bright than the traditional xenon flashes. Also, they are not the type of flash that comes built into the cameras — they need to be purchased and carried separately.

Inside Tombs and Museums

Carry a good LED flashlight to light the area inside the museum or tomb that you want to photograph.

Try your mobile phone! In mobile phones, both the flashlight feature and the built-in flash for the phone's camera are safe for paint and fabric, and the cameras in the newer phones have become quite good! In fact, I was able to take clear, bright, detailed pictures of the tombs at Saqqara, Egypt even in low light!

As my friend Saroya pointed out: yeah, you see other people taking flash photos of art with cameras, but those people are jerks. Don't be a jerk.

ABOUT THE PHOTOS: The top photo shows the famous scene of the Three Musicians inside the tomb of Nakht at Luxor, Egypt. The lower photo shows the statues inside the tomb of Irukptah at Saqqara, Egypt.




About the Author

Saqra (Seattle, Washington, USA) is a powerful dance artist and a master instructor. Her fluidity, grace, and technical skill is highlighted by her friendly demeanor and clear joy of the dance. She did not inherit the diva gene.

Saqra won titles in Belly Dance USA (Oregon), Belly Dancer of the Year (California), Belly Dancer of the Universe (California), Wiggles of the West (Nevada), and many other competitions. She was voted "Best Kept Secret of 2005" and "Instructor of the Year 2008" by readers of Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra's journey in this dance form began in 1977 and has led her to study with many of the best dancers in the world, including in America, Canada, Turkey and Egypt. Saqra continues to travel and study both in the USA and abroad and prides herself on proper research for anything she teaches. Folklore, fakelore, and stage creativity: all three are valuable, and Saqra clearly presents for each what they actually are. Saqra is constantly expanding her expertise in the traditional ethnic forms of the dance, the modern stage variants, and the continuing evolving fusion techniques, all these areas combined keep her material fresh and current.

Saqra is widely known as an event promoter, musician, music and instructional video producer, and a registered hypnotherapist in the state of Washington. That is enough stuff to start explaining what she has been doing in belly dance since 1977. Visit her at

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California. In the photo, Saqra is holding her Teacher of the Year 2008 Award from Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra with Award



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