As travel bloggers, taking pictures of the places we go to and the sights that we see is an essential part of what we do. After all, it is with our words but especially our images that we inspire others to go out and see the world.
But many do not know of the struggle we go through in order to get what we think is the perfect picture.
Whether it is to post on our blog, Instagram, Facebook, or all of the above, a lot of work and patience goes into getting the snapshot we want to share with the world.
Here are the struggles of taking photos as a travel blogger, in painful detail….
We have all been there. Yes, there, right in front of what we think is a great photo opportunity.
You think, “this is it!” “this is amazing!”.
Excited, you grab our camera in your hands. You stand there, staring at it, picturing the best possible angle where to take the picture from.
You finally have the perfect angle, you are standing on the perfect spot, you put the camera right to your face, you get down on one knee, you are finally ready to press the button and snap the picture and……
A couple stands right in front of you to take a selfie.
Fuckers!, you whisper quietly under your breath.
But you are determined to not let go of this perfect shot to share with your readers, so you patiently wait for the couple to finish……
But they don’t.
So you look around, trying to see what else you can snap a picture of to keep yourself busy and not look annoyed.
You go back to your perfect angle on that perfect spot, camera on your face, you get down on one knee, and….
A family pushing a stroller passes right through.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!, you say, this time a bit louder than a whisper.
But they’re just passing through, so you don’t move. Their kid behind them is sure taking his time though, running around everywhere except out of your frame.
You give them an exasperated look sigh loudly and think, would you just get the fuck out of my frame!!
Your stare at them, showing your eagerness for them to get out of your life forever. You don’t move.
You don’t think twice and snap the picture right away.
It’s good, not perfect, but it’s good.
But you can’t be satisfied with good, it needs to be perfect.
You snap another one. You look at it.
Damn kid came back running for no reason whatsoever and is now in your picture.
As you get ready to take that picture again, from the corner of your eye you see a lady holding a small flag and about 20 people behind her.
Fucking tour groups.
You know you have only a few seconds to take your picture before it becomes a group picture. It’s been 10 minutes you have waited for the coast to clear and you only have about 10 seconds left.
Impatiently, you snap pictures from all possible angles. Standing up, on one knee, widescreen for Instagram, you turn the camera around for Pinterest, you hope that at least one of the 20 shots you just took in the last 15 seconds is good enough and….
That’s why much of my evening is spent editing pictures.
“Do Not Enter” Signs
Those of us who like to take risks without knowing if there will be a reward will know exactly what I’m talking about here.
Abandoned buildings, old rusty train cars, fenced areas….nothing is off-limits if there is a possibility of a good shot on the other side, and especially one that not many people have.
You don’t mind the risk of getting caught. After all, what’s the worst that can happen, I get yelled at?
So you walk towards it and, as you get closer, you see a sign.
Even though you cannot read the language, you know exactly what it reads: DO NOT ENTER.
And you tell yourself: I don’t speak the language.
And that’s your only plan. If you get caught, you will plaid ignorance.
As you get closer, you look around to make sure there is no one around. After all, it’s not because the place seems abandoned that it actually is.
A minute turns to five, and finally you’re sure that the coast is clear. And now you stare at the place without moving, scanning the possibilities on how to go in.
You look and find your way in through a hole in the wall, you jump the fence, you go through a rusty window. You just find your way in.
You take pictures incessantly of anything remotely picturesque. A faded graffiti, rusty furniture, a remotely good view you couldn’t see at all from the other side of the fence…… You take so many pictures of the same thing from different angles that you KNOW you have too many, but you keep going.
Once you’re done, you stay in the place for an extra couple of minutes, looking, staring at the place for one last time, hoping that at least one of these pictures will give you the Instagram fame you came here for.
Finally you leave the same way you came in from, and that’s when you realize that….
You cut your finger. You don’t know how. You don’t know when. All that you’re sure is that…
That’s why I had to go get a tetanus shot the other day.
Sometimes We Have To Take Our Own Pictures
This has happened to all of us who travel solo. After all, you want to show your readers that you are a real person, meat and bones. This is not only important but it is also essential for some readers to be able to connect with you.
So after having taken hundreds of pictures of “that thing”, you decide that you want one with you in it.
If you’re in a busy plaza or other populated area
Easy, you simply ask a stranger:
You: Excuse me, would you mind taking a picture?
Stranger: Of course not.
You hand them your precious camera, and you pose for the picture. Maybe you’re holding the statue on your hand, maybe you’re just opening your arms trying to look cool (seriously, I gotta find myself a new pose).
They take the picture, and tell you to hold on for another one. You hold on.
They give you back your camera and tell you.
Stranger: Here you go! Check them out and see if they’re ok.
You check them.
You (inside your head): These are horrible!
You (to the stranger): These are perfect, thanks!
The sad truth is that 90% of the time these photos will just suck. They don’t TOTALLY suck, but they just suck enough that you rarely end up using any of them.
If you’re on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere
If you travel with a tripod then it’s easy and I don’t really need to explain.
But if you’re like me and you have use for the extra 3 kilos in your already filled-up backpack, then you have to figure out just how the hell are you going to get a picture of yourself without proper support.
So you scan the place around for anything you could use to hold your camera, and all you can see is a pile of rocks.
You think once.
You think twice.
Fuck it, let’s do this. And you pull the rocks together to hold your camera.
You set the timer, you rush in front of the camera and…
So you look at what else you could use, and realize that you have a bag on your back.
You put it on the ground, put the camera on top, set the timer, rush in front of the camera and….
You do that dance until one of the pictures comes out remotely OK.
Semi-satisfied, you get ready to leave. You pick up your camera, turn it off. You pick up your bag and…
Suddenly I had a shitload of ants crawling all over my arm.
The struggle of taking photos as a travel blogger is real…a real pain. Tell us your stories of struggles while taking pictures.