Good Travel Photo

It’s a Struggle to Take a Good Travel Photo

Derek Mexico, Perspectives 24 Comments

Good Travel Photo
Oh, the torture.

The writing, the emails, the tweeting…that stuff is all good.

The real challenge, the real thorn with this blogging stuff, comes from the photos.

Taking a perfect travel photo to post online – on Facebook, the blog or Instagram – is just plain difficult.

And to do it over and over and over again? It’s madness I tell you.

The pressure is immense and getting that perfect shot, especially when we want to be in the photo ourselves, takes extreme effort, and usually some pain. Sweat and tears are all a part of it.

I wish it were as easy as just facing the camera and snapping away, but it’s not.

In fact, always wondering if I’ll get that desperately needed winner of a travel photo has ruined many a days, it’s led to many sleepless nights and has cost me hundreds of dollars in therapy sessions. Luckily, my therapist thinks I’m making progress though.

But for now, I have no choice but to show up in more places and do my damnedest to get that ideal shot somehow.

That’s exactly what I had to do a short time ago while visiting the Mayan ruins of Edzna, in the Mexican state of Campeche.

Let me show you exactly what the struggle to get that perfect travel photo involves so that you’ll understand a little better…

The Struggle

Perfect Travel photo - Edzna Ruins 1

Step 1: Bending down is hard. I’m supposed to get down there? Should I bend my knees first or should I put my hands on the ground and lower myself slowly? Should I just remain in this position? Will this be a better shot? So much to consider.

Perfect Travel photo - Edzna Ruins 2

Step 2: Okay, maybe I’ll cross my knees. Wait, is this turning into a yoga pose? I don’t want that.

Good Travel photo - Edzna Ruins 3

Step 3: Oh, no. Nobody told me this rocky surface was so sharp. My ass is in real pain. These rocks are dangerous. I don’t think I can do this. It’s almost unbearable.

Good Travel photo - Edzna Ruins 4

Step 4: Earl, you can do it. Come on man, you can do it. Just sit back and take the pain. Take it. Remember, you need this photo! Your life depends on it.

Good Travel photo - Edzna Ruins 5

Step 5: Let me try to figure this pose thing out. This seems about right, I think. Actually, I can’t sit here much longer. I think I need to get up.

Good Travel photo - Edzna Ruins 6

Step 6: Really hurts, really, really hurts. Did you get a good shot already?? Come on!!

Good Travel photo - Edzna Ruins 7

Step 7: Okay, how about this? This smile isn’t real at all. Take the photo! Please just take the photo and let’s get this over with!

Good Travel photo - Edzna Ruins 8

Step 8: Nailed it! Woohoo! Hell yeah, what a shot! Now get me out of here.

That’s what happens, all too often. As you can see, it’s extremely difficult, both physically and mentally.

Of course, as you can also see with that last photo above, sometimes I truly do nail it. Oh yeah, I can nail it, sometimes like no other. It’s such a rush when I suddenly push through the hopelessness and somehow get that perfect shot, right when my day seemed destined for disappointment once again, right when I was about to take my camera and smash it against the ancient steps of the Edificio de los Cinco Pisos behind me.

But alas, camera smashing was not needed in the end this time around. I persevered through the stress and frustration, turning those streaming tears of pain into flowing tears of pure joy.

And when that happens, life doesn’t get much better I guess.

Besides, sharing perfect photos of ourselves is what it’s all about, right? Of course it is. Why else would I be doing this?

*In case you didn’t pick it up, this was a sarcastic post. Oh, and I don’t use Instagram either. But I do use Facebook and even Snapchat (wanderingearl) if you want to follow along! Hope you’re having a beautiful day!

Any interesting photo experiences you want to share?


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Comments 24

  1. Yes ~ the pressure of getting the shot- I always feel it- I will never be back here and I just have to capture the beauty- and putting yourself in the shot makes it harder…

  2. Duuuuude lol. Fricking hilarious. I’ve never really liked my photo being taken and now I’m a solo female travel blogger I’m like ‘Ummm….damn, you want me to be in the photo?’ Thanks for confirming everything I feel!

  3. Madness indeed! You can alleviate some of the madness if you invest in one of the cheap cable release with an intervalometer and have it take 20-60 photos at 2-second increments and just pick the best photo of the bunch. You’re bound you get your perfect selfie out of the dozens.

  4. It’s not always easy, for sure. If you want to enchance your photos, try using the rule of thirds + sunset or sunrise and ofcourse a stunning background. Will bring a much more dramtic photo. Of course if it’s a selfie, the smiling part could take a couple of shots!

  5. This post was very humorous and entertaining, thank you for the laugh. Considering it’s my birthday, this made my day. It was refreshing to see a blog that I thought was going to be serious content and realize it’s quite enjoyable to read. I definitely see how taking a great shot could be a difficult task, especially when you’re there by yourself. It’s like you just have to keep snapping away and hope for the best, and then delete about 100 or more unused photos. I also think taking the time to research which camera is best for picturesque type photos is best. Anyway thanks for the lighthearted commentary, very much enjoyed your post.

  6. Haha, I already gave up on my photography skills. My method is always hanging around other people while hoping that somebody will shoot a photo of me that will be uploadable:)

  7. Hey Derek,

    Man, this pain is real. I’ve developed the One-eyebrow-up-like-The-Rock-selfie pose just to try and make this all a little easier and make my travel photos look so much more natural and effortless.

    A big help for this has been having a GoPro, though. While the quality of the pictures is a little less, having the viewfinder connected to my phone screen – through the WiFi the GoPro emits – makes a world of difference. That, combined with a Gorilla Tripod. No more missing the top of my head for me!

    But, when I’ve only got my phone, I’ve just accepted to ask other people for a picture if it’s possible, haha.



  8. Absolutely loved your post! You’re not only hilarious and entertaining, but I love your advice. And of course your photos! Thanks for the tips!

  9. I love this post! As someone who is not necessarily that photogenic, I’ve ALWAYS hated having my picture taken. Fortunately (or unfortunately, I haven’t yet decided), my husband is a photographer, and he loves me, so he’s willing to go along when I tell him to DELETE THAT PHOTO he just took of me that should never see the light of day.

  10. Funny post Earl! What are you using for photographs these days? Just your phone? Or more sophisticated equipment? I’ve been going with an iPhone/GoPro combo – works perfectly…

    Glad your therapist thinks you’re making progress 😉

  11. lol “It’s madness”…! There’s all too much truth in this post! Thanks for talking about (even sarcastically) something I have yet to see anyone else post about. 🙂

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