It’s a Struggle to Take a Good Travel Photo

It’s a Struggle to Take a Good Travel Photo

By |2016-07-26T09:09:25-04:00July 26th, 2016|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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  1. April Carlson March 4, 2017 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    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. John Hancq- March 3, 2017 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Very true earl. What kind of camera equipment do you use? You might have an article on it, I just haven’t noticed it. Thanks!

  3. Agness of a TukTuk February 12, 2017 at 3:32 am - Reply

    It may be a sarcastic post, but it is also entertaining. I hope that your are having a beautiful day also, Derek.

  4. Sonal of Drifter Planet November 11, 2016 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Hehe, what a funny post! Yes, I struggle all the time too to make one good travel photo one day. 😀

  5. Alice Teacake October 26, 2016 at 11:25 am - Reply

    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!

  6. Adonis Abril Villanueva October 17, 2016 at 9:25 am - Reply

    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.

  7. Jellis Vaes September 24, 2016 at 4:51 am - Reply

    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!

  8. Brenda Sears September 22, 2016 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    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.

  9. Claire September 5, 2016 at 8:32 am - Reply

    This post made me laugh! Hang in there the struggle is real 😉

  10. Jan August 21, 2016 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    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:)

  11. James Johnson August 11, 2016 at 9:43 am - Reply

    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.



  12. Bella WW August 11, 2016 at 6:46 am - Reply

    Funny post! Sarcastic, but true most of the times!

  13. NTripping August 6, 2016 at 6:05 am - Reply

    Rofl! No pain, no gain 😉

  14. Cody Jay August 4, 2016 at 2:02 am - Reply

    Tell me about it! Such a ridiculously time consuming process as well..

  15. Jen (Jaunting Jen) August 3, 2016 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Hilarious. I feel your pain. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on the experience by paying too much attention documenting the experience.

  16. Crazy sexy fun traveler August 3, 2016 at 10:24 am - Reply

    I so gotcha! Everyone keeps asking me who is taking all my photos while 99% of the time it’s the self-timer and I need to spend half an hour to be ”happy” about one out of the dozens photos taken. So not easy!

  17. Brittany from Boston August 2, 2016 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Hahaha much struggle, much pain 😛

  18. Jessica July 30, 2016 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    Haha love this post, big fan of sarcastic jokes and stories ;p I’m gonna follow you on Snapchat!

    • amir August 5, 2016 at 10:29 pm - Reply


  19. Janelle Lineisy July 30, 2016 at 5:11 am - Reply

    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!

  20. Anna July 27, 2016 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Haha…It’s a bitter truth for travelers. Facing the same situation. I especially agree with “The Struggle” part.

  21. Susan Stephens July 26, 2016 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    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.

  22. Aaron Radcliffe July 26, 2016 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    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 😉

  23. Cassandra July 26, 2016 at 11:43 am - Reply

    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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