I think you did okay too!
I agree that the short explanation is often better. I would probably said something to the effect of- "You can not ruin my things, I am going to keep them safe" Similar to the way I would respond if he was hurting his brother and my job is to keep him safe. This is an okay time to take something out of anothers hand.
Sometimes 2 year olds can be distracted by talking though. If you start with a very positive, what he wants statement that will surprise him (they seem to be looking for a fight sometimes
: ) "You want some pictures? Do you like the pictures of Aunt Beth or the pictures of the dog?" and keep talking while you look through.
I also thinks this helps them feel understood. It might be clear to you that "Just a second, I'll get you some pictures" means that you know he wants the pictures, but when you start with putting them off that is all they hear. I think that many times a toddlers tantrums are just feeling misunderstood. So if you start with making him really felt understood- You want the pictures- sometimes that helps.
Of course you are not going to avoid all the tantrums, and that might not even be a good thing. Tantrums are a normal way for 2 year olds to express frustration.
I also think it helps to remember to keep my feeling seperate from his. Just because he is upset I don't have to be. I had to remove the pictures to keep them whole. I don't have to be upset that this makes him very angry. And not worry about what others think (which can be hard with family around), it seems like all of interactions are more important is someone is watching. I could have been the perfect GD mom during 35 altercations this morning at home, but the only time that I am upset about is the one time at the store when I wasn't quite as patient as I could have been, or even I did everything as well as I could, but they still break down.