Travel & Photography: Balance between Living the Moment and Capturing it

“Oh look, a deer. Quick, take a photo!” If you’re anything like me, I admit that sometimes, my first instinct when I see something interesting is to take a photo. In an ideal world, at least for me, my first instinct would be, “oh, what a beautiful little creature.” And then if there’s enough time at the end of that admiration, I pull out my camera for a photo.

But, without going down that noble route, I frantically whip out my camera. Frantically, because for some reason, it is always unorganizedly tucked far away when I catch a photo-op. Anyway, I whip out my camera and take a photo but I don’t stop there. I take yet another photo, and then another until I have reached the conclusion that it’s either perfect enough to end there, or it just wasn’t meant to be. Rinse. Repeat. Recycle.

If you’re anything like me, this is your struggle too. Sometimes I wonder though, did we really enjoy the sheer pleasures of the deer in its natural habitat or did we need to take a photo to convince ourselves that we did in fact enjoy it, OR, did we need to share it on Facebook to convince the rest of the world that we did? Some serious soul-searching going on here!

Attempting to take a photo of a cat

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE a good photo, I love art and I am a sucker for photography, especially travel photography. Matter of fact, I firmly believe that great photographs can add to your travel experience in a special way, when done in moderation. Keyword here; moderation.

We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.

In the world of Social Media, there is a lot of pressure to take the perfect photo. One of the sunset, your Aesthetically perfect AirBnB room, or even your cup of coffee. Has anyone’s coffee ever gotten cool because they were still struggling to get the perfect flatlay? Just curious.

As a travel blogger who delights in sharing the places I visit with anyone who cares to see, this is even more challenging.  I love to share but, what length am I willing to go to make sure I deliver that well? Giving up the comfort of a restful vacation? Having to change mid-hike to get a fancy mountain and maxi dress photo? Dying? Surely, there has to be a balance and a healthy one, too.

If you’ll agree with me, the balance is: To capture the moment and live in it. That’s a win-win situation, at least it is for me.

If you struggle with this as well, here are some ways to make it better and to strike a balance between taking a photo, and snapchatting, posting on social media, sending to family and friends and enjoying and living the moment.

DO YOU HAVE ANY STRATEGIES TO BALANCE TRAVELING AND PHOTOGRAPHING, OR LIFE IN GENERAL? I’LL LOVE FOR YOU TO SHARE IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.

ENJOY THE MOMENT FIRST, THEN TAKE THE PHOTO (OR VICE-VERSA)

I think finding a balance in this case will be getting the photo first and then relaxing and enjoying the moment later. Or, enjoying the moment first and then taking photos later. I personally like to take photos first and dedicate a small fraction of my time doing just that. I do my best to make sure the photos are great in that time frame ONLY. If after the time passes and I am still not satisfied with how they turned out, then, oh well, maybe another day.

DON’T BE TOO HUNG ON THE NEED TO GET THE PERFECT PHOTO

This is the part that I struggle with the most but I am definitely learning. The need to get the lighting right, the angles right and everything perfect. It is important to know that not everything will be perfect and that’s okay. The most important thing is, you are having a great time and perhaps spending time with loved ones.  Photos are great but the memories will (hopefully) be there forever.

OPT FOR VIDEOS INSTEAD

For capturing memories, videos can be more effective as there is less pressure to get the perfect angle or lighting and it helps you actually live in the moment better than photos allow. Even more effective are technologies like the Go Pro that can be strapped to your head, giving you room to enjoy the moment and capture it.

PRACTICING ‘LATERGRAM’

Latergram is a popular instagram hashtag for posting after the event. Instagram, insta, is usually geared towards on the spot, in the moment posting which sometimes may rob you of the joy of enjoying it. But, who makes the rules anyway. With latergram, you can post much later.

HIRE A PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHER

Hire a personal photographer through services like Flytographer, Shoot My Travel and El Camino and have someone else take care of your vacation photos for you without worrying about it yourself. This will give you room to truly enjoy the moment. I think it is a great service for family vacations and maybe even solo travel. They also offer services like a surprise proposal shoot, city tours, etc.  It is most likely the priciest option on this list but, worth the mention.

PUT THE CAMERA AWAY

Sometimes, this is all it takes. Nothing too complex. Put the camera away, put your feet up and enjoy the moment. The world isn’t going to crumble if you didn’t get one more perfect picture of the Eiffel Tower.


I hope you enjoyed reading this post and you have found some ways to achieve the right balance. This is like a little note to myself as well as this is still an area I am constantly working on. Do you have these struggles too? How are you able to manage it? Share your insight and experiences with me, and everyone else who reads this.

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Thank you for reading and see you next Friday when I’ll start sharing my Cuba travel experience here.

Until then,

About the author
Working Professional by day, Travel Blogger by night. Here, I share my personal life and travel experiences as well as helpful tips to help readers start their own travel journey. Want to talk? Contact me on info@theufuoma.com. Don't be a stranger!

17 Comments

  1. I’m definitely a one photo and I’m done kinda girl. These days too sometimes I just enjoy the moment and stop myself from sharing it. It’s sooo much more fun when you just enjoy the moment. It’s OK if you don’t show everyone that perfect sunset.

    Also when I’m out with friends, I set a photo limit because i’m usually the personal photographer lol. But after a while I just put away the camera and be in the moment. Nothing beats that! Also even posing for pictures the whole trip ruins moments for the poser. I much prefer capturing candid moments so I actually catch people enjoying themselves.

    Really great post, Ufuoma.

    afomaumesi.com

  2. I’ve always been the photographer in my family and amongst friends and it sure comes in handy later! I enjoy being behind the camera much more than being the object of focus. Posing is such a chore for me (I seriously get awkward after a while and I have like 3 poses total). So I won’t lie and say I’m going to stop .

    However, like you I sometimes give myself a max or I go ahead and leave my camera at the hotel for a few hours. The world will not end.

    I’ve only recently started sharing my travel images and stories on Instagram and my blog little by little after travelling to 30 countries, so I’ve never been driven by the need to post (which is the thing these days ).

    I probably take more photos than the average person haha but I’ve never hiked a mountain and changed into a ball gown or something. Regardless though I wouldn’t judge someone who did because maybe that’s their livelihood and they gotta eat. Or maybe they just only DO fabulous lol. I mean whatever floats everyone’s boat.

    Its a balancing act, one that we need to be aware of and one that today’s sharing tendencies make even harder to accomplish.

  3. This is interesting, I had no idea that all of my instagram activity is actually latergram 😀 I don’t shoot with my phone, but upload photos taken with my camera. That by the time they’re ready (edited and so on) and they also match the colour I’m featuring on instagram, may become very very very latergrams 😀 Oh well I guess I learned something new today 😀

  4. I loved this article! I once had a woman reprimand me in a cathedral for not taking photos when I was sitting and enjoying the moment. Sometimes we spend so much time taking photos that we aren’t capturing our own memories of living in the moment. Wonderful perspective!

  5. I struggle with this as well as I’m worried I won’t capture a moment or I’ll miss out on the perfect photo. I think your ideas are spot on. There are definitely times where a photo can wait and times when it can’t. I love the idea of videoing instead too. GoPro has a feature where you can take photos from the videos so that’s a great way not to miss a moment!

  6. I’m a “phone in my pocket, might remember it’s there” kind of person. But I absolutely agree that balance is everything. If anyone ever invents an equivalent of the camera for smells, I’d be right there. Lavender in Provence, olives in the market, eucalyptus in Adelaide…

  7. Such a great article! I definitely don’t take enough photos then get annoyed with my girlfriend who takes too many (despite the fact that I end up using all of them for the blog). I love that you brought up taking videos because I have done this too and always appreciate what I come up with in the end.

  8. I really struggle with this and I’m so glad you talked about. As a blogger, it’s very easy to get caught up in taking the right pictures so you can feature them on your blog. In the past, I’ve gotten so flustered about taking great pictures that I couldn’t even enjoy myself properly. I like the idea of giving yourself a time frame to take pictures and then just living in the moment afterwards. Thanks for sharing Ufuoma and I can’t wait to read about your Cuban adventures! xx
    Coco Bella Blog

  9. I feel your struggle. There was a time when I clicked a lot of photographs. The more I traveled the more focused I became. Then I started blogging that took photography to a whole new level. It needed to be perfect… You get my drift. Sigh… Now I’ve learned. Snap snap snap… Hand over to hubby. Relax watch… Take over… Repeat.

  10. This a tricky thing, especially for travel bloggers. I’m kind of the opposite at times… I often get so caught up in what I’m seeing and doing that I forget to grab my camera out of my backpack and as a result I miss some amazing shots, and I kick myself for it later for not being more prepared and faster with the capture. It definitely is about balance.

  11. I love these tips! It can be a little overwhelming when you are out and about and there is a need to take amazing photos for blogs, for instagram likes, it can almost be an addiction to most. A lot of my friends or other travelers feel the need to take that selfie right then and there and honestly, I agree with you that we need to embrace the now. I would rather have a photo reflect a memory rather than living through the eyes of my lens.

  12. I’m so conflicted with this. I totally agree, it’s just so hard! I want the right photo and I want to live in the moment. I attempt at the take a few photos now and then pay attention. The main problem with this is that I think “oh! now THAT’s a better shot!” We all need all kinds of balance in our lives, and this is a good start.

  13. Love this post! I feel so guilty sometimes, when I’m like, don’t eat a thing I need a picture or get out of the way so I can get a picture. Ha, my friends and family hate it.

  14. The struggle is real! Haha. I’m kinda like you in that I try to get the photo first so i don’t have to worry about it later. Then I can let myself relax and enjoy the moment. Also, i agree that videos really let you live in the moment more..I really need to start doing more videos. But it seems that it’s just another thing to add to the list, and I’m already trying to shoot IG stories, GoPro shots, and then shots with my “good” camera. I need to find that balance!!

  15. I love this post! I definitely sometimes struggle with remembering to live in the moment and not focusing on taking photos. I agree with what you said about learning to both live in the moment along with trying to capture it. My photos do transport me back to a special place and moment. I love looking through photos remembering trips, hanging out with friends, etc.

    1. Yes, Erin. It has to be a healthy balance between both. Absolutely love taking photos but we have got to live in the moment as well.

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