Tag Archives: holiday

Bad Travel Photography

Many people enjoy taking travel photos.  Cumulatively I’ve taken between 5,000 and 10,000 of them on my journeys, and I’ve seen a lot of other people doing the same.  Based on this experience, here are some examples of bad travel photography.

The 1-Hander (also known as the Too Cool for School) – There’s a reason why most people have 2 hands.  If you’re too cool to use them to hold your camera, then you get the blurry photos you deserve.

The Spy – Taking pictures of people without their permission.  This is particularly egregious if they realize that you are doing it and you do it anyway.

The Bad Pad – I understand why people bring their iPad when they travel, but it was not intended to be used in lieu of a camera.

Patrick taking a photo of a couple in Greece with their iPad

The Bad Pad (by request)

The Bandito – Taking photos when doing so is not permitted (often seen in churches).

The “I don’t know what it is, but get a picture of me with it anyhow” – Posing in front of something without knowing what it is.  (Note – this item, The Bad Pad, and The Bandito were also mentioned in my post The Best and Worst Kinds of Tourism.

The Fly-By – If you can’t be bothered to stop walking long enough to take a photo, it can’t be worthwhile.

The Drive-By – If it’s not worth stopping the car for…  See The Fly-By.

Patrick taking a photo through the window while driving the motorhome

The Drive-By   (Do not attempt this yourself.  Professional driver on a closed course)

The Hold Out — Holding the camera with outstretched arms or high above ones’ head when it isn’t required.  Use the view finder or put your reading glasses on!  Worse when combined with The 1-Hander.

Patrick taking a picture of some Greek ruins holding the carmera with outstreched arms

The Hold Out

The Reach Around – Reaching over or worse around someone else (yes, I’ve seen it) to get a photo rather than waiting for them to move.

The Mosh Pit  – Taking a picture when the background or foreground is polluted with other tourists, especially if they’re in a position to partially block the subject.

Photo of Lion Gate at Mycenae with tourists in the foreground

The Mosh Pit (Lion Gate at Mycenae, Greece)

The “I’m more important than posterity”  — Using a flash when it is not permitted, something done to help preserve paintings or other priceless bits of antiquity.

The Smart Ass – Taking photos with a smart phone rather than bringing an actual camera.  A bit sleazier if this is being done to avoid paying the extra fee that some sites charge to take pictures (even though I don’t agree with this practice to wring more money out of visitors).

Patrick taking a picture with an iPhone

The Smart Ass

The “I’m on the case” – Taking photos with your smart phone or iPad while the case is hanging down below it, making it more intrusive.

The Narcissist – Taking a photo of myself (or my group) with an outstretched hand.

Patrick taking a picture of himself with outstreched arm

The Narcissist

The Monopoly — Standing to stop and review my photos or do anything else while I’m blocking the only access to something that everyone else wants to take pictures of.

The Busy Bee — Spending all your time running around taking photos of everything rather than experiencing the place.

The Cheese Any silly pose, but especially bad if you’re mimicking something in the background.

Patrick posing in an awkward pose to mimic the brightly coloured Thai statues in the background

The Cheese

The Loss of Perspective – Posing in such a way as to appear to be interacting with the background.

Diane appearing to be holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Loss of Perspective

I do try to refrain from these practices but I have been guilty of all of the above at one point or another (even The Bad Pad, but only at the request of others since I don’t own an iPad). 

And finally, the Worst Example I’ve ever seen of Bad Travel Photography… Taking pictures of your blond girlfriend who is posing like a model in front of a Nazi gas chamber.

What are your bad travel photography experiences?