Getting Around

Crappy Travel Photos: Who Do You Trust With Your Camera?

Written By: jeff

Posted On: July 7th, 2011


bad photos, travel, career break travel

Then again, maybe some photos are better blurry. Copyright

You’ve gotten to your destination. You’ve been waiting the whole trip to get there. And, all you want is that iconic photo of you in front of the monument, the landscape or with the animals. And, you’re not alone.

You start scanning the crowd. ¨Who should I ask to take my picture?¨ Finally, your eyes meet. There’s that look of recognition that says, ¨Hey, they need a photo too. They look nice and approachable.¨

¨Hi. Do you mind…¨, you ask as you extend your camera out with a big smile.

¨Sure. Can you take one for me too?¨

¨Of course! My pleasure.¨ You respond.

You snap a couple of pics. ¨Here, take a look.¨

You trade cameras. Snap. Snap. ¨Here. Take a look,¨ they respond.

You bring the image up on your tiny screen on the back of your camera. As if almost instinctively, or not wanting to impose any longer than you have to, or simply just not to be that guy, you respond, ¨Looks great. Thanks.¨

But that’s the problem, it’s not. You get back to the hotel later, or worse, home and you look at the picture on your computer. You shrink in horror. And this is what you see.

These are the original, untouched photos left on my camera.


bad photos, travel, career break travel

The Leaning Tower is supposed to be in Pisa, not Paris. Copyright

bad photos, travel, career break travel

Great timing guys: Eyes closed and mouth wide open. Copyright

bad photos, travel, career break travel

Angle shot? Really? Copyright

bad photos, travel, career break travel

Dude! i'm not even in position yet. Copyright

bad photos, travel, career break travel

Hmmm. Copyright

bad photos, travel, career break travel

So, can we get the Christ's head in the shot? Copyright

bad photos, travel, career break travel

Is it really so difficult to get the head AND the hands in the shot? Copyright

bad photos, travel, career break travel

Nice tent! Well, I guess this is as good as it's gonna get. Hey look, Christ the Redeemer in Rio! Copyright

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14 Responses to “Crappy Travel Photos: Who Do You Trust With Your Camera?”

  1. eileen says:

    Hey! I’ve pondered this exact point, but more from the perspective of the person who’s been asked to take the photo and I always try to do the best job I can. I love the idea of taking a great shot of someone they’ll have forever. Though they’ll probably forget who took it by the time they get back on the bus.

    I talk about it here, if you’re interested:

  2. Yvette Knapp says:

    Ok, so maybe I was the person who took that crappy photo in front of the Eiffel Tower. Remember we were on a moving (and rocking) boat AND we were drinking champagne. Enough said.

  3. Alex Berger says:

    Hate when this happens. I’ve started doing a few things which have helped when possible. First, i’ll target other travelers who have a decent camera, preferably of the same brand. Even though I shoot on a P&S Canon G11, it’s still amazing how often people mess things up. It’s also anything but a guarantee. I’ve found a ton of people have expensive equipment and no eye for photography what-so-ever.

    Then, I’ll also have several people take the same photo pausing long enough to let the original photographer wander off or by embracing a different pose. I find this has saved me a number of times.

    It’s amazing how often i get photos with fingers, hats, random blur, people or dreadful composition.

    In general I’ll have them re-shoot a photo once if they seem friendly and I always tell them to take several (it’s digital for gods sakes!).

  4. Melvin says:

    That’s why I prefer pics where I’m not on myself, but take the pics myself. :)
    Great post!

  5. Abby says:

    Hilarious. I am known for standing in one spot and asking a dozen tourists who walk by to take my picture. I look, fix their angle, and ask them to take one more. Then I try again. I’m shameless. I’m also an editor in real life!

  6. Cam says:

    Hah… I love the photo comments! My solution is to just take 3 times as many photos as you think you’ll need ;-)

  7. Maria says:

    When being asked to snap one for someone else, I always have them preview before we part so they can have one free do-over. Some of what you posted here is hysterical. Thnx

  8. Erin says:

    So true! We rarely bother asking people to take photos of us, and end up with no photos of us together. At Macchu Picchu of course we had to, and the one photo we did get came out blurry. Damn! It doesn’t help that I have an SLR so I’ll definitely look for another SLR user in the future.

  9. Theodora says:

    Our worst are the mobile phone photographers, who want photos of us, and having to pose for endless perfectly posed pictures. But, umm, yeah, these are pretty terrible…

  10. Gray says:

    I am SO with you on this. The place where I’ve had the worst luck with people taking my photos is in Vegas. I have almost no photos of myself in front of Vegas landmarks because they almost always come out terrible. I was even really careful one time and asked a woman who had a DSLR around her neck to take my photo (figuring she knew what she was doing) and it turned out she was just holding the camera for her husband, who was in the bathroom. LOL. When people ask me to take their photo, I always insist on taking more than one just in case.

  11. Cailin says:

    I cringe when I need to ask someone to take my photo for me. I would like to think I have now perfected the self photo just to avoid it. I often had my DSLR and I’ll set it up so all they have to do is press the button but every time I hand my camera over the person grabs the barrel of the lens and just racks it open so suddenly the medium shot photo of myself with that thing behind me turns into an awkward full body shot of me with the the thing behind me no longer being the focal point. boooo
    Also I find that because of the way my camera looks I am the one that people come running to to take their photo for them, but I don’t mind :) I wonder how many different people have “original” Cailin O’Neil photos in their photo albums around the world? ;)

  12. Dave and Deb says:

    I love this post. It is so true, we have given our camera to people to take a photograph and it just never turns out. That is why we have so few of us together. Luckily we’re traveling with Ottsworld and Midlife Road Trip during our next adventure, We should get some amazing couples shots through to Mongolia.

  13. Charu says:

    Too funny! This has inspired me to never trust a local again! :)
    Charu recently posted..The 7 Link Blog Project: Remembering My Previous Blog Posts

  14. I try my hardest to do the photo myself, but you know what, those photos above (besides the blurry one) actually tell a story. Sure, it might not be the photo you wanted, but they’re funny and interesting :)
    Brooke vs. the World recently posted..Day 193: Female Travel Underground Set to Walk All Over You

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