How-ToIran Tourism

Photography in Iran: Dos and Don’ts

The rules regarding photography vary depending on the location. While some mosques permit both indoor and outdoor photography, certain museums may only allow photography outside their premises. However, in Iran, there are specific guidelines to follow when it comes to photographing historical sites and individuals.

In this blog post, we will delve into the cultural sensitivities and regulations surrounding photography in Iran, to determine whether it is permissible to capture images of historical sites and people in the country.

Golestan Palace In Tehran
A tourist takes photos while visiting Golestan Palace in Tehran

Respecting Cultural Sensitivities in Iran

Iran is a country known for its rich traditions, values, and religious beliefs. When photographing historical places and people, it is crucial to show respect for these cultural sensitivities. While photography is generally permitted in Iran, it is important to exercise caution and tact to avoid offending or upsetting the local population.

The Iranian people are renowned for their hospitality. Based on previous experiences, foreigners in remote cities and villages who are noticed taking photographs are often welcomed by the locals. However, it is still recommended to ask for permission from individuals before capturing their pictures.

It is essential to note that photography of military and security installations is generally prohibited in Iran. To ensure a trouble-free experience, it is advisable to conduct thorough research on the specific places you plan to photograph before your trip. Additionally, traveling with a local guide can be beneficial in navigating any potential issues.

Photographing Historical Sites in Iran

Iran boasts numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as Persepolis, Naqsh Jahan Square, and Golestan Palace. These places not only showcase remarkable architecture but also hold great historical and cultural significance. While tourists are typically allowed to photograph these sites, it is advisable to confirm if any restrictions or photography-free areas are in place.

Iran Masouleh Historical Heritage
Masouleh, Village On the Rooftops, UNESCO Historical Heritage Site

Some sites may have designated areas where photography is not permitted. Compliance with these regulations is essential to preserve the integrity of these historic monuments.

For instance, the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz is a prime example of stunning beauty. Although tourists can visit this magnificent place and capture photos using their mobile phones, photography with large professional cameras is prohibited.

Photographing People

In Iran, people are generally friendly and hospitable. However, it is important to ask for permission before photographing individuals, particularly in conservative and religious areas. Respecting their privacy is paramount, as some people may not feel comfortable being photographed by strangers, especially women.

When seeking to capture a photo of someone, it is polite to request their consent and graciously accept their decision if they decline.

Additionally, it is crucial to be mindful of cultural norms and dress modestly when photographing people in Iran. Modesty is highly valued in Iranian culture, and it is respectful to adhere to their standards by avoiding images that may be considered inappropriate or offensive.

Iran, Fars Province, Persepolis, Listed As World Heritage By Unesco,
Iran, Fars Province, Persepolis, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, the Gate of all nations through which entered the delegations, bull and rocephale winged, tourists groups.

Professional Photography and Licensing

If you are a professional photographer planning to shoot in Iran, it is recommended to obtain the necessary permits in advance. Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance oversees professional photography in the country, and specific regulations apply to commercial or documentary projects. To ensure compliance and avoid any legal complications, it is advisable to contact the relevant authorities or consult with a local expert who can guide you through the process.

Social Media and Photo Sharing

With the prevalence of social media and photo sharing platforms, it is essential to consider the cultural sensitivities and privacy concerns of local people. While sharing photos and travel experiences is common, exercising caution and respect is advised when sharing images taken in Iran. Seek permission from the individuals featured in your photos before posting them online, particularly if they are easily identifiable.

Persepolis Or Takht E Jamshid Was The Ceremonial Capital Of The Achaemenid Empire ( C. – Bc).
PERSEPOLIS, UNESCO World Heritage site

In conclusion, while photography is generally allowed in Iran, it is crucial to be mindful of cultural sensitivities and adhere to the regulations associated with this practice. Respect for local customs and obtaining permission are key when photographing people, especially in conservative areas. It is recommended to follow guidelines and acquire the necessary permits for professional photography projects to avoid any legal issues. By approaching the task with respect, attentiveness, and knowledge of local customs, photographers can capture the beauty of Iran’s historical sites and its people while fostering a positive cultural exchange.

Drone Photography

Drone photography in Iran offers a unique opportunity to capture breathtaking aerial images of diverse landscapes and cultural landmarks in the country. However, it is imperative to comply with

regulations set by the Civil Aviation Organization (CAO), obtain the necessary permits, and respect the privacy and cultural sensitivities of the local people.

In most cases, a permit is required for drone photography in Iran, particularly if you intend to fly your drone in restricted areas or for commercial purposes. You can obtain this permit through the CAO by submitting the required documents, including flight plans and details of your photography project.

Certain areas in Iran, such as military facilities, government buildings, and airports, prohibit drone flights. It is crucial to observe these restrictions and avoid flying your drone in these locations.

To facilitate the process of obtaining permits for drone photography, travel companies like SURFIRAN can assist you in navigating the necessary procedures.

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Tim Dobson

Tim Dobson is an Australian independent finance analyst, who specialises in writing about the Middle East, finance and economics and Australian foreign policy. He is currently studying his masters in Middle East and Central Asian studies at the Australian National University after earlier graduating with a bachelor of economics.

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