6 Hidden, Not-So-Perfect Truths Behind A Travel Blogger's Viral Photo

by Ciara Johnson

A quick scroll down your Insta feed will show travel bloggers clad in flowy dresses, posing in the most breathtaking destinations. It seems like they always have the most picture-perfect candids, whether they're with friends at Coachella or lounging on a beach in Santorini. You might be wondering how travel bloggers can capture such epic photos on the regular. As a travel blogger myself, I can admit that those Insta-worthy shots are hardly ever as effortless as they may appear. In fact, there are some hidden truths behind a travel blogger's viral photo.

Speaking from personal experience, it takes a lot of work to make something look so simple. Outsiders will admire these photos, while being completely unaware of the time and effort that actually goes into creating them. Most travel bloggers, influencers, and photographers have spent years perfecting their craft.

Oftentimes, your favorite travel bloggers are building a brand or attempting to tell a story with their aesthetic. They must learn the proper photography basics, prepare for photos, learn how to use editing software, and experience plenty of struggles along the way to the ultimate photo. A lot goes on behind the scenes of those dreamy snapshots you've bookmarked on social media, so here's the scoop.

For Every Successful Photo, There Are Plenty Of Fails
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Many of us wish the perfect travel photo could be captured in one single shot, but that's hardly ever the case. Photographers must take hundreds of photos, and things are no different for a travel blogger/influencer.

I often have to try a variety of different angles, poses, and locations before getting the shot I'm in love with. Most photos won't make the cut, so I've learned that you really have to experiment and get creative to hit that sweet spot. It's all worth it (and quite relieving) once you capture that one photo you've been looking for.

Planning Is Key
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It would be lovely to produce effortless candids at every waking moment, but that's just not reality. I've learned that it takes a lot of intention and planning to create an all-around great photo. I spend time searching for locations, selecting complimentary outfits, considering lighting, and learning how to compose shots. It's a creative process that takes time and commitment.

You Have To Rise Early
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You may be wondering how travel influencers get solo pictures in popular tourist destinations. Many of us rise with the sun to get that perfect lighting and beat the crowds. This means that we get to sightsee without rubbing shoulders with other tourists, and we can walk away knowing we snapped our ideal photo without a lot of clutter.

Editing Can Make Or Break A Photo
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Even the most professional cameras can fail to capture the vibrancy of a particular backdrop — so editing is absolutely necessary. I can tell you first-hand that the process of photo-taking can seem long, but editing takes much longer. Editing brings bland photos to life and helps photographers nail down their "vibe."

Instagram Isn't So Instant
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A viral Instagram photo isn't as simple as it may look to the observer. Influencers must consider the appropriate hashtags, their overall aesthetic, best time of day post, and compelling captions. There are so many working parts that determine if an Instagram post will do well and the unpredictable algorithms don't help. Travel bloggers hardly ever post on a whim, so feedback via likes or shares is always appreciated.

Photos Don't Capture Everything
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Traveling is a highly dynamic experience, and a pretty photo doesn't do it any justice. Travel often facilitates learning, growth, and challenges that can't be captured in a single Instagram photo. The bottom line? This isn't the full picture.

You don't see the long layovers, missed flights, overnight buses, and logistics that occur behind the scenes. You also don't see the growth or beauty that occurs from going through these challenges. Instead of racing from one photo stop to another, it's far more important to be fully engaged in the moment. Curated moments don't hold a candle to just how inspiring and amazing travel can be.