I spent the last weekend putting together a photo book from my holiday in Florida, in November 2014. It’s the first photo book I have done. I chose to begin with this trip because, as far as I remembered, I hadn’t taken too many pictures. Sorting through them shouldn’t take too long to do.
Once I got started I realised quickly that my memory was very wrong. I head heaps of photos! But now that I had put my mind to it I wanted to get it finished, so I pulled through with it. I didn’t stop until I had my book sent off for printing.
However, this really was still one of the trips of which I have comparatively few holiday pictures. There are others for which the sheer number of photos I have of one trip is overwhelming. Just the thought of having to sort through all of them to be able to put together something resembling an album is scaring me.
Is there such a thing as too many holiday pictures?
I know I am not the only one in this situation, because my sister just came back from a three-week tour through several African countries with well over 4000 holiday pictures. It took us three afternoons to look at them all. It was much fun seeing them, but how many times will you be willing to look through such a number of pics? Sorting them and picking out the best ones will be inevitable if you want to be able to enjoy them again without sacrificing three evenings.
I have a lot of holiday pictures that I haven’t looked at in a very long time. Or if I did, I only scrolled through them quickly, because there are so many. If I have the best ones in an album, that gives me a chance to have a quick look at them whenever I want to remember the holiday. I don’t have to scroll through hundreds pictures which might often be of bad quality, or show the same thing over and over again.
It always seems incredibly important to take as many pictures as possible when I am in a beautiful place, in order not to miss a memory. Once I look at them at home I wonder while I took the same picture so many times. Despite that, I am no good at throwing photos out afterward. I can pick out the best ones to put in an album, but I will still keep all the others. I panic at the thought of losing one of those pictures for good, even the bad ones. There are too many memories connected with all of them.
How to tackle the problem of photo overload
If throwing out holiday pictures afterwards is not an option, the alternative is taking less pictures to begin with. This doesn’t help with the loads of pics already crammed on my computer, but it could help for the future. I could never completely stop taking pictures, because a photograph is too good a memory for me. I’d get anxious if I were somehow deprived of the ability to take photos at all.
Several years back I was travelling the Great Ocean Road in Australia, and my camera broke. Luckily, one of the other girls on the same tour had a spare camera that she lent me until we reached Melbourne, where I could then buy a new one. Otherwise, I would have missed out on a lot of spectacular photo opportunities. I don’t want to go without photographs. But maybe I can go with less.
The art of taking less photos
During my trip to Istanbul I tried to take only a minimum of photos. Instead of taking several shots of the same motive, I took only one. If it didn’t turn out well, I’d delete it right away and take a new one. I thought more about whether I really needed to photograph a certain object, or whether it was one of those unnecessary shots that I won’t put into the album anyway. I concentrated on those things that had the most meaning to me.
Of course, I was not always successful in my restraint. Sometimes I got carried away. It can be hard to ignore that little voice in my head that tells me to take out my camera at every opportunity and to always take another photo, in case the last one did not turn out perfect. I was able to cheat a little on this trip, too. My mum was travelling with me and she often took photos when I didn’t. I knew I could get those from her if I later regretted not having a picture of something.
After one week, I came back with just over 300 photos. It may sound like a lot, but is much less than I took on other holidays of similar length. So I think it worked.
Another advantage of this strategy is, once I have my one good shot, I can put my camera away and concentrate on actually looking at my surroundings and enjoying them without worrying about getting a good picture. After all, the memory connected to the photo should always be worth more than the photo itself. Leaving my camera in my bag once in a while might be a good lesson to live in the moment, rather than constantly trying to capture it with a camera and thus risking to miss it completely.
What is your opinion of the topic of photo overload? Do you think it’s possible to take too many pictures? Or is more always better? Share in the comments!