There you are, scrolling dozens of perfect travel pictures on Instagram when you stumble into the place of your dream. A sandy beach on a Caribbean island, the sea slightly rippled with diamond reflections on the spume when the little waves ease down on the sand. The sky is like you’ve never seen before, a perfect 2995U Pantone color with only a small, white, shy cloud appearing to give movement and a sense of deepness.
And the beach! Did you say the beach? Yes, the beach! Look at it! Immaculate, with every sand grain at the perfect place, proud and still. Only the shadow of a palm tree disturbs their idyll but, when you see THAT palm tree, you know everything has a purpose. Its tilt and arching towards the water follow the Fibonacci spiral, and there’s nothing else you can do except to drool and crave to be there, alone, enjoying the best time of your life.
In reality, to make such a perfect travel picture maybe it would take longer than actually to reach it and see it by yourself. It’s so impeccable, so relaxing, so magnificent and so fake. And, of course, it has to be like this. We have to make people dream about exotic places, undiscovered spots, never seen before beaches that, well… sometimes you really see never seen before places, because you’ll never see them the way they appear in the picture.
But a picture is not enough. It has to be eye-appealing to the readers and, of course, no pictures are perfect once shot. Some adjustments like contrast, lights, colors, hue and saturation, some filters if needed and many more corrections are the minimum requirements to publish some proper travel pictures. Have you ever timed how long does it take you to post an image on Instagram? More than you imagine.
And that’s a pain in the ass.
You are somewhere traveling, and you want to take photographs of what you see or experience, but suddenly realize that you need to take them for your readers, not for you. So you start looking for an unusual angle, a “hipster” perspective for a city shot, or that “best-kept secret!!!11” you absolutely need to show everyone because you know, it’s a secret I swear no one knows about!!!
But, again, that’s not enough. With the advent of Pinterest, not only you need cool images, but you also need them to be vertical. If you don’t know how Pinterest works (for bloggers), check out this cool article by Two Scots Abroad. The only thing you need to know, though, is that vertical images have way more interaction than landscape ones. And considering that Pinterest is an excellent web traffic driver, everyone sticks to this fact.
I hate vertical images: it’s more uncomfortable to take the picture itself, I find it easier to find horizontal subjects than vertical ones, and I fucking hate to scroll continuously to try to read an article I’m interested in when there are dozens of vertical images between paragraphs.
Let’s continue talking about the fakeness of all these perfect travel pictures and places shown with the example of some of the most know touristic spot on earth: the Taj Mahal. It’s quite common to see this fantastic place in complete loneliness, no people around. Bad news for you, reality is much different. Again, to have a picture that could fit, you need patience, timing, luck and… screw it, I take no picture!
There are a lot of places I didn’t take a picture at, simply because I don’t like wasting my time trying to catch the perfect shot to share on the web. I try once, I could try twice, but then who cares, I’m in a place I’ve probably never been, enjoying my stay and learning from my experiences. I don’t need nor I want to show everything, there are plenty of travel pictures on the web, for every destination, and for sure better than the ones I would take.
I agree on a fact, though: sometimes trying to look for the best shot could be an adventure. Think about being on Machu Picchu at sunrise. Cool, uh? But being there without worrying about exposition, ISOs, the light and whatever you need for your travel pictures, wouldn’t it be better? Why not just enjoying the moment, realizing how magnificent is our world? If you’re good at writing, readers will see what you saw.
Well, that’s what I think about all of this. Am I saying this because I take crappy pictures? Could be, I’m not a photographer, and you’re free to consider this article as you want, of course. But at least try to avoid believing in all those super-duper perfect travel pictures you stumble around on the web, it could save you from disappointment the time you see a particular place by yourself.
What about you? Do you agree with what I say or do you have another opinion? Let me know in the comment section!
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