Photo Faux Pas

I follow a fair number of blogs and a fair number follow mine. As a result, I get to see a lot of wonderful photos. I’ve always enjoyed looking at vacation photos which inspire my love of travel, even if where they went isn’t really somewhere I want to go. They went and they had a great time and they show off the pictures of the things they did and saw.  In the old days, you’d be invited round to see a slide show from your friends’ vacation. Some people shudder at the thought but not me, I’m SO there. These days people, me included,  display their digital photos online and send the links to their friends.

I post my vacation photos to albums on a couple of photo websites (Flickr, Shutterfly) and link to them in the travelogues I then write for my own personal website (and travel blog here). If people aren’t interested in looking at the photos, I’m not offended. It’s not everyone’s taste though if I do say so myself, I’m not too shabby at taking a snap! (Most of the time). Ok, not all of my photos are great but sometimes  you have one of something you’ve seen or done and it’s the only one so that gets included anyway.

There are a few things I do try to avoid when I post an album of my photos. Even if I’ve taken more than one picture of a view or item, I try to post only one or possibly two. This is a bit negative and please don’t take it personally if it’s something you, dear traveler, do. It’s only my opinion and I will defend your right to post photos of whatever you want because it was your trip and it’s your memories. Don’t be offended if I skip though a lot of the photos when there are 5 or even 10 of almost exactly the same scene or building or park. I understand taking multiple shots to get a good one, I do that. But the “deja vu” of clicking through a dozen shots, not even from vastly different angles, wears me out. I never understand why, just because the photo has been taken, that it ends up being part of the collection displayed.

Another thing that most people do, as do I, is have photos of themselves in various locations while on this holiday. Of course you would want to say “See? I was there! That’s the Eiffel Tower behind me” (or whatever). Having someone else take a photo of you is fraught with potential pitfalls. You’re at the mercy of the skill of the kind person that offered to take the photo. Out of focus, camera shake, chopped off heads, but it might be the only one you have of you (and your traveling companion) in front of the Colosseum so it stays in the displayed gallery.  I don’t like to be in too many photos so for me, I tend to be in a small number. The extreme opposite, though, always brings me back to some vacation photos I saw online once quite a few years ago.

My friend and I in Assissi. Yep. we're out of focus but it's the only one we have!

My friend and I in Assissi. Yep. we’re out of focus but it’s the only one we have!

There are lots of photo hosting sites and some of them come and go. This site has been long gone but you could browse a location and find albums that people had set up to show their photos from that location. My mom and I were browsing some that were taken in Island Paradise type settings, tropical resorts and beaches, that sort of thing. This one couple had 3 or 4 different locations and we clicked through many of their photos but I started to notice something and asked my Mom if she thought there was anything peculiar. It occurred to me that one or the other or both of the couple that had posted the pictures were in every one. EVERY one. Without fail, there was the grinning mug of Himself or Herself or Themselves. Lovely location but there they were, front and centre. You might catch a glimpse of beach and palm tree or pool but that was all. Once we mentioned it to each other, we continued to browse. Yep, there he/she is. And there. And we got the giggles after awhile. Please, people, don’t do this! You could stay home and just take pictures of each other for all you really showed of your vacation!

Artistically blurry can sometimes work but out of focus? Leave it on the hard drive. I have on rare occasions posted a photo that shows a bit of camera shake or slight out of focus mainly because it’s the only one I’ve got that even sort of turned out but I keep it for my own private viewing. Ok, yes sometimes I shake the camera on purpose when I try to be artistic. 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t work but once in awhile it does, or, at least, I like it. Too dark/too light? If you can’t really make it out, neither can I. And if it’s a photo with people in it and the heads are lopped off, it’s not very dignified for them is it? Thankfully in these digital days you can see if that’s happened right after you take the photo.

Rainbow in the Highlands, near Glencoe.  The "Hail Mary" lucky shot through the bus window

Rainbow in the Highlands, near Glencoe.
The “Hail Mary” lucky shot through the bus window

I’m probably coming across as a bit of a photo snob and I don’t really mean to. You see hints and tips all the time about how to take a better picture (rule of thirds, get up close, use different angles, try black and white etc.) but when you want to show the world your vacation photos, you also want keep people’s interest. I don’t care if the photo isn’t artsy or perfectly composed or if  you’ve used fancy editing or processing. A photo can be great even when it’s taken quickly as a “Hail Mary” lucky shot or drive by when you’ve only got that one second to aim and hit the shutter.

Keep ’em coming, gang, I love holiday snaps. Just not 12 of the same thing.

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12 thoughts on “Photo Faux Pas

  1. Mjollnir says:

    Oops! I apologise for posting eight and a half million snaps of the Parthenon! At least I avoided having Mrs M in most of them (that’s for personal consumption only!), but seriously I know what you mean. Too much of a good thing and all that. Having said that – show’s yer snaps! :-D

    • Tvor says:

      I know! But I think of the people browsing through them. One shot each of different mountains is ok ;) even if after awhile all mountains look alike but if it’s all the same one? I try to resist!

  2. Margaret Carr says:

    I have a couple of relatives who upload EVERY picture – no editing, no selection. I suspect they don’t know how to do either of those things. And that means they even post those shots you get when you don’t mean to – your feet, your chin as you check something on the front of the camera, the bit of fence you accidentally took as you got out of the car…

  3. B says:

    I used to edit for public viewing, but now I just stick up a big “you have been warned” sign because I never got around to selecting and everyone started complaining. Not many people look at my albums.

    The worst bit was that my grandma ONLY wants to see pictures of us standing in front of things, and curating more than one set of public vacation pics was definitely too much.

    Words work better for me at the moment and if a poor photo tells a good story it gets right of way, but being thoughtful about what you’re trying to achieve is the main thing in all endeavors.

    • Tvor says:

      You are right about a bad picture sometimes telling a good story and I would go with it too, in that case. I do try to avoid things like poles sticking out of people’s heads or power lines making things ugly but leave them in if it can’t be fixed. My skills are not overly great, just the basics. It’s nice to have a few pics of us in front of famous views but I don’t go overboard either.

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