Somewhere along the line, taking fun travel photos stopped being cool. Instead, our photo albums and Instagram feeds have become filled with artsy images that scream "serious photographer."
You know what I'm talking about. I'm guilty of it, too. Sunset pictures that lull us into a deep contemplative state. Photos of "locals" that are worthy of publication in National Geographic. Perhaps even images that somehow show we are "travellers" instead of "tourists" (I loathe this distinction, but I digress). Where we are adventurers instead of passive observers.
In short, I'm talking about images that are at once profound, evocative, revelatory, and dignified; images that tell a story, show that we have embarked on a journey of Discovery (the capital "D" is intentional), and broadcast to the world that we have learned, you know, things.
Excuse my British, but this is total bollocks.
Look, I am a clown at heart. I love me a cheesy photo, especially if I'm in it (because, well, vanity). Besides, my gummy smile and full cheeks scream "somebody's kid sister" rather than "sultry" most of the time, so doing the whole "sexy duck face" thing in my travel snaps falls spectacularly flat.
Moreoever, snapping pics of just the landscape seems so… boring to me. Not to say that I never do it, but somehow I find landscape pictures way more interesting when there's a human, animal, or object interacting with the surroundings.
Hence, I've made peace with my inner cornball; I've become queen of the cheesy tourist photo.
Because, in this age of model-esque, carefully curated travel feeds, I don't think it hurts to re-inject a bit of fun into our travel images.
So here are my suggestions for a few cheesy, cliché, or silly tourist photos you should take on your next jaunt abroad!
1. The well-known monument selfie.
Selfies are often reviled by serious photogs, but what's a girl to do when she's travelling on her own and wants a pic of herself and [insert world renowned monument here]?
2. The perspective-bending photo with a monument.
You say #basic, I say #epic. Leaning Tower of Pisa, you are next!
3. The guidebook photo.
Because you spent $15 on it anyway and probably will junk it before you board the plane back home. Might as well put it to good use!
4. The “my guidebook matches the background photo."
Next level stuff right here. Yep.
5. The jumping photo.
My ultimate fave and the photo I take the most often around the world. Extra points if you can incorporate a group jumping photo in there… and Hall of Fame status if you can somehow get a street fighter hadouken photo happening.
6. The “I’m going to imitate the expression of whatever’s in the background” photo.
Because imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Mouth agape in Otavalo, Ecuador. Oneika Raymond.
7. The “yoga pose even though I never do yoga” photo.
Nothing like travel to bring out your inner (random) namaste.
Wannabe yogi in Myanmar and Cambodia. Oneika Raymond.
8. The red phone booth photo in London (or anywhere in the U.K.).
It's the only reason to visit for many.
After living in London for two years, I have too many versions of this photo to count! Oneika Raymond.
9. The “peace sign/ V sign” photo.
Extra points if you can do it in Asia, where posing like this is a cultural phenomenon.
10. The “head in a life-size cut out thingamajig” photo.
OK, who knows what this thing is actually called? I have no clue, but you should take this photo every chance you get.
11. The sausage leg beach/pool photo.
This is probably the most cliché photo ever and I love it. Totally necessary for those times when life's a beach!
Silly, cliché, and corny travel photos are the hallmark of a great sojourn. Yes, travel is about transformation, cultural exchange, and introspection, but it's also about letting loose and having fun — cheesy travel photography is a part of that. So feel free to do you, and create memories of your trip in any way you see fit!