Best Travel Photography: Unfiltered and Spontaneous Shots Win

best travel photography



I have to give mad props to my travel blogging buddy Emily Kidd at See Her Travel.


On reading her post:


Screw Instagram! Why It’s OK to Look Like Garbage When You Travel


I found myself nodding again and again.


Peep my feeds at any time. Ryan unfiltered. Me a few days after nearly dying in India. Grungy in the jungle. Or perhaps a bit sandy on the beach.


I cleared the “I gotta look SO good for the world” vanity and fears out of me during my part time physique modeling days. Fun times but also a great clarity finder. Being judged solely on your appearance gets old because basically, how we look means nothing.


AKA….your spirit don’t give a shit.


Unfiltered, Spontaneous Travel Shots


Unfiltered, spontaneous travel shots are truthful shots. Said shots are honest shots.


Your best shots are shots snapped in the moment. No editing. No perfect lighting. Nope, no posing. Or, little posing.


Peep this jungle shot:


Jungle in Costa Rica


I found myself slamming into the slop in the deep, remote jungles of Costa Rica.


I turned to Kelli.


Said, “Snap me.”


Best Travel Photography


Beard, or big time stubble. Dirty after wandering through the jungle. Smiling. Boots. Mud. Real deal.


Note; this is one of the most popular photos I ever shared on Facebook. Authentic. Real.


Check this one out:




I almost died a few days before. From dehydration. After I suffered through giardia.


Totally get how most travelers would feel:


  • embarrassed
  • mortified
  • ashamed
  • fearful of worrying friends and family back home


or about 45,000 other fear-based emotions based on posting a sickly image of themselves.


People do not dream of traveling to India to nearly die.


But in the same vein I have appeared on the most famous sites on earth by being authentic. I share the rest of the story. Yep, cool Fiji pics by the beach. But I share the range of experiences. Including nearly dying in India, and of course, the accompanying photos display the severity of the sickness and how it ravaged my body.


No replacement exists for being genuine. For being honest. For, in essence, being a reporter on virtually all the situations you experience as you circle the globe.




The Instagram Double D Gals may elicit some stares, some compliments, a bit of fawning and millions of followers. More power to them. I just cannot stress the fact that the more you work to appear to be a certain way, the trust/authentic/genuine factor dies.


As filters grow, stricken by a lack of spontaneity, you become a meme, not a human being. Evidence of such meme-ness pops up with the countless filters available on your phone or through social networks.


If your brand is about looking pretty in the tropics, snap shots aligning with the brand. Look pretty in the tropics. Ya gotta know that as the obsession with presentation grows, authenticity dies, and you will lose the strong, genuine connection with human beings that creates the foundation for a happy life and stunningly successful travel blogging venture.


The Analogy


I drop F bombs and also, stories of me dropping Arkansas Steamers on this blog.


You know this.


I share similar tales through my eBooks and sometimes videos and podcasts. Unfiltered. Raw. No editing. No filtering. Spontaneous, Authentic.


In the jungle at times, when foreign bodies invade your bodies, you either shit your pants or drop a devilish deuce by the side of the road. Most humans drop the Texas Yule Log roadside. I am not embarrassed to share what toddlers and animals do every day; crapping without choosing to associate some form of shame with the bodily function.


But….when I learned about the process of doing an interview on major media – and having done a 10 minute interview on a popular radio show with 50 plus affiliates around the United States – I saw how everything was sanitized, prepared, filtered, carefully planned and scripted.


I was not a human being sharing authentic, real, genuine experiences. I was in essence an actor, sharing a filtered, carefully rehearsed message.


Plus, I inspired some, but the real, authentic, unfiltered, spontaneous message would have helped me rock it out more.




You can get that via my Facebook Live Broadcasts.


Remove the filters guys.


Be spontaneous.


Deal with the sanitized version of major media presentations when you cross that bridge.


Snap the best travel photos.


In the moment, spontaneous photos.


The Best Travel Photos


Do you have any awesome, spontaneous, real travel photos to share?