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Why You Should Take Fewer Pictures on Your Next Trip

Why You Should Take Fewer Pictures on Your Next Trip

Clicking photographs during our travels is something many of us don’t even think twice about. Setting sun going down on the sea in a glorious orange blob? Quick, click! Ancient script carved on an Egyptian pillar? Take a shot and move on to the next one.

Some of us take it nice and easy, shooting only what looks truly worth preserving. Others pull out their camera the moment they step out for the walking tour, and it never goes back into its case until lunch break (or there are those who will ask you to wait before you take the first bite, so they can take a shot of the food on your plate).

Guess what is better for your memory cells: taking too many photos or just a few?

According to research findings published in the Journal of Psychological Science, taking too many pictures can reduce your ability to remember the actual moment. The reason for this is that the use of a camera habituates you to relying on technology to “remember” the moment on your behalf. As Fairfield University psychologist Linda Henkel puts it, “You’re just kind of mentally discounting it, thinking–Well, the camera’s got it.”

If putting away the camera doesn’t sound ideal, try focusing on more specific details in your shot. While random clicking can impair your ability to recall scenes, creating more mindfulness when snapping a detail could help you remember it better. In the above mentioned study, subjects were shown 30 objects in a museum. Some were asked to take general shots of each object, while the others were asked to zoom in and capture a specific detail. Later, the ones who took close-ups remembered the objects better.

I for one am going to limit my picture-taking from now on, and rely more on my mind’s eye for making and keeping memories.




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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).


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3:11AM PDT on Aug 16, 2014

Thank you

1:12PM PDT on Jun 19, 2014

A person who forgets much needs memory jogs. You know who you are.

7:03AM PDT on Jun 18, 2014

I disagree. We just got back from a short vacation, and forgot to get the camera out while we were there. Now, I wish I had photos of some of the things we saw!

9:11PM PDT on Apr 14, 2014

I do not agree. Shoot the present, not to miss the past. A photograph spends only a few seconds.

6:30AM PDT on Apr 14, 2014


10:53PM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

Definitely not true for me. My photos help me remember my vacations. I love having a photographic journal of the places I have been and the things I have seen.

1:03PM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

I'm a photographer .... I love taking pictures,,, I take pictures because i'm at a beautiful place or caputuring something I may never see again, you take a photo and an image last a life time.. generations... I think that there are more serious things that can create damage to your memory then taking a breath taking photo that you will be able to look at 30 years from now.. .and imagine..

8:30PM PDT on Apr 9, 2014

I disagree - looking at photos stimulates your memory and you are then able to remember the moment. Looking at photos allows my memory to relive those moments.

8:23PM PDT on Apr 9, 2014

And if you do take lots of pictures, realize that those who weren't with you are not going to be interested in taking the time to look at them all.

7:15AM PDT on Apr 9, 2014

I am guilty of taking to many pictures but I love the variety and choices I have when scrapbooking my photos. I always do a ton of photo projects with my pics so I am always mindful of what I am looking for in a picture while snapping away or experiencing a day out.

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