You may have heard from me before. When I told you that you were taking really bad photos that are to be treasured memories. But I’m back. Because I found more bad tourist photos from my past. So please let’s channel our inner Susan Powters and STOP. THE. INSANITY. I’m no expert, but I searched through my photos for went went wrong in the past and how I’ve corrected my mistakes and how you can prevent from taking bad photos of fellow tourists. We all just want a good travel photo! (Well, I do.)
What went wrong:
1. Your photographer wasn’t patient enough and you had to battle other tourists for the “money” shot.
I waited to get up to Juliet’s balcony. Yes, that Juliet. I’m not likely to be there any time soon. But thanks to the
jerks lovely couple who wanted to check their photo AFTER they got their photo taken ON the balcony and probably someone nagging me to get off the balcony or my photographer for us to hurry up, we ended up with the picture below. See that face? That is a face of someone who was trying to get the Juliet wave in but held up her arm for a tad too long and was not happy with said couple. No tragic Rome ending for me. Just a tragic tourist-trap photo ending. That said, five years later, I am HOWLING at this photo. But to the photographer (even if a friend of the tourist): please just wait until the couple leaves until you can get the money shot. That said, I should have “shushed” them. But I am a polite Canadian.
Solution: Find an unexpected background. Bonus: no tourists!
So the Juliet balony photo was a bust. But what we didn’t know coming into the site that just outside the balcony there is a tunnel which was scrawled in a graffiti of love letters from couples around the world. I’m learning that I’m becoming quite the graffiti-as-background fan, and jumped at the chance to take a photo of an unexpected background with a history. As a result, this is a much more compelling photo than the Juliet disasters above.
What Went Wrong:
2. You took a photo in front of scaffolding.
I love the power of cropping in post-production, but come on! It’s a simple mistake. Plus all of the people in the background. Plus, it’s not the Collesium. Well, it is but not the one in Rome. This one is in Verona.
Solution: Make sure there is no scaffolding in the frame (Banging hand against head. Palm Plant.)
Also: get up close. Don’t be afraid to art direct your travel partner (I’m less inclined to over art-direct strangers but I still do it). And if you have to, set up the frame yourself already zoomed in so you can get the desired shot. Strangers: don’t be afraid to use the zoom function on a tourist’s camera. As long as you get a good photo, I’m happy. That said, there’s some situations where it is unavoidable (like at the top of the Duomo in Florence. Unless they fixed it).
What went wrong:
3. You took a photo of a building straight-on and not at an angle.
Sometimes, buildings look great straight on but it will look the same as countless of other photos. It’s not original.
Solution: Shoot from up, down, and on the side. Get the details up close and make em’ guess.
Sometimes, I take a straight shot for memory, but if I want an artistic shot or want to print my photos, I’m shooting at an angle; I’m on the ground taking it from a perspective that from looking below up. Or I’m taking a detailed shot of a building. Making your viewer guess is part of the fun. It also gives texture to your photo album.
Any photo disasters that you regularly see tourists do? Discuss!