There are many motivating factors for people to travel. Experience different cultures, try new foods, make new friends and the list goes on but as humans we are very visual. With every person having a camera on their phone, we are all amateur photographers and we spend a lot of time looking at images of all variety and if you’re into traveling, you’re looking at pictures of cities and landmarks. This is normal to run into especially when you have a place in mind to go to but you want to research it more. No problem, go on Instagram for pictures or Google Images to see what these places look like. One thing has become very evident after traveling to some of these places, a lot of pictures that are floating around are edited.
Why would someone edit their photos? The travel industry is a billion dollar industry world wide. An airline may have deals to go to a certain city and spice up a picture to make you REALLY want to go there. If you’re a frequent traveler and maybe you like to brag a bit or get more likes, you’ll make some image tweaks to really get people interested. Whatever the motivating factor is, the result is that it influences people. A picture could make someone who wasn’t even considering a city to all of a sudden want to go there. I will admit, it happened to me. I had minor interest in going to Porto but I did some research and saw some beautiful pictures of the city and added it to my trip since I was already going to be in Portugal. I don’t regret going but maybe if these altered images weren’t floating around, I would chose another city to visit. The point is that it can influence anyone because we don’t typically question the pictures we see. We question what people say but not what we see often enough and there are manipulated travel photos EVERYWHERE.
Since we are on the topic of Porto, I will give you comparison photos that are everywhere of Porto. This is an image I found on Google Images that linked to a Porto Tourism page:
Now look at my photo of the same landscape from a Panasonic TZ-70 Camera Unedited
Want another example? I’ve been to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin multiple times of the day and it never looks anything like this:
and my pictures of different times of the day…
As you can see from these two examples, the images advertised are unrealistic and honestly, it’s unnecessary. These are beautiful places to visit with a realistic view and realistic expectations of what you’re going to see. These images put a false sense of what you’re going to see and it translates how you’re going to feel when you see it in person. Having high expectations can lead to big disappointment and even regret for some people for wanting to go there which is a shame. No relationship goes well when from the beginning you are lying to someone. If you’re a tour company using manipulated photos to trick someone to wanting to go somewhere, it’s unethical and I can’t imagine people would want to use your service again. If you’re an average person manipulating your pictures, you’re coming off as a liar.
Whether it’s for a magazine where they are doing touch ups on a fashion model or your every day picture being taken, altering the image to fool people in my opinion is just unethical. It’s false advertisement. Not everything has to be perfect for it to be beautiful. Sometimes an old building is just as unique and beautiful as a newly restored building. They can both hold a certain charm and manipulating the images takes away this perspective for the viewer.
Why do I care? I personally don’t like being lied to in any fashion. “Oh it’s just a picture”, well these pictures influenced me and it can influence others. So this is my Travel PSA to say “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”