11 Cheesy Tourist Photos you should take on your next trip

Come on, you know you want to.

Somewhere along the line, taking fun travel photos stopped being cool. Instead, our photo albums and Instagram feeds have become filled with artsy images that scream “serious photographer”.

You know what I’m talking about. I’m guilty of it, too.

Sunset pictures that lull us into a deep contemplative state.

Photos of “locals” that are worthy of publication in National Geographic.

Perhaps even images that somehow show we are “travellers” instead of “tourists” (I loathe this distinction, but I digress). Where we are adventurers instead of passive observers.


Sunset in Bagan, Myanmar.

In short, I’m talking about images that are at once profound, evocative, revelatory, and dignified; images that tell a story, show that we have embarked on a journey of Discovery (the capital “D” is intentional), and broadcast to the world that we have learned, you know, things.

Excuse my British, but this is total bollocks.

Look, I am a clown at heart. I love me a cheesy photo, especially if I’m in it (because, well, vanity). Besides, my gummy smile and full cheeks scream “somebody’s kid sister” rather than “sultry” most of the time, so doing the whole “sexy duck face” thing in my travel snaps falls spectacularly flat. See Exhibit A for a prime example.


When you think you look sexy but you really look constipated. On a cruise ship somewhere between Sweden and Latvia.

Moreoever, snapping pics of just the landscape seems so… boring to me.  Not to say that I never do it, but somehow I find landscape pictures way more interesting when there’s a human, animal, or object interacting with the surroundings.


Liebling styling and profiling in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

The wackier the interaction, the better, of course.


Mean mugging at Machu Picchu in Peru.

Hence, I’ve made peace with my inner cornball; I’ve become queen of the cheesy tourist photo.

Because, in this age of model-esque, carefully curated travel feeds, I don’t think it hurts to re-inject a bit of fun into our travel images. 

So here are my suggestions for a few cheesy, cliche, or silly tourist photos you should take on your next jaunt abroad!

#1. The well-known monument selfie.

Selfies are often reviled by serious photogs, but what’s a girl to do when she’s travelling on her own and wants a pic of herself and *insert world reknowned monument here*?


Selfie steez in front of the Eiffel Tower in gay Paree.


Selfie time with Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

#2. The perspective-bending photo with a monument.

You say #basic, I say #epic. Leaning Tower of Pisa, you are next!


Up close and personal with the Sphinx in Cairo.

#3. The guidebook photo.

Because you spent $15 dollars on it anyway and probably will junk it before you board the plane back home. Might as well put it to good use!


Giving my Lonely Planet some love in Egypt.

#4. The “My guidebook matches the background photo”.

Next level stuff right here. Yep.


Seeing double in St. Lucia.


Seeing double at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar.

#5. The jumping photo.

My ultimate fave and the photo I take the most often around the world. Extra points if you can incorporate a group jumping photo in there… and Hall of Fame status if you can somehow get a street fighter hadouken photo happening.


Jumping for joy in Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni.


Jumping for joy (again) in Bolivia.


The hubs and I demonstrating that white men can indeed jump in the Salar de Uyuni.

#6. The “I’m going to imitate the expression of whatever’s in the background” photo. 

Because imitation is the highest form of flattery.


Mouth agape in Otavalo, Ecuador.


Mouth agape in Paris. I see a pattern here…

#7. The “yoga pose even though I never do yoga” photo

Nothing like travel to bring out your inner (random) namaste.


Wannabe yogi in Myanmar and Cambodia.

#8. The red phone booth photo in London (or anywhere in the UK).

It’s the only reason to visit for many.


After living in London for two years, I have too many versions of this photo to count!

#9. The “peace sign/ V sign” photo.

Extra points if you can do it in Asia, where posing like this is a cultural phenomenon.


Chucking the deuce in Tokyo.

#10. The “head in a life-size cut out thingamajig” photo.

Okay, who knows what this thing is actually called?  I have no clue, but you should take this photo every. chance. you get.


Head-in-a-hole fun in London. Fun for the “whole” family. Hardy har har.

#11. The sausage leg beach/pool photo.

This is probably the most cliche photo ever and I love it. Totally necessary for those times when life’s a beach!


Hey y’all, greetings from Bali. These are my legs.

Silly, cliche, and corny travel photos are the hallmark of a great sojourn. Yes, travel is about transformation, cultural exchange, and introspection, but it’s also about letting loose and having fun– cheesy travel photography is a part of that. So feel free to do you… And create memories of your trip in any way you see fit!

Do you take cheesy tourist pictures when you travel? 

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  • Reply
    Lisa N.
    April 12, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    The monument photo is a must. Seriously, you traveled all this way and you aren’t going to take a photo. C’mon. However, add your style to it. Also, I think you forgot the stuffed animal photo as #12. Haha. I like photos of regions at different times of the day, like early morning, sunset, or even at night with all the city lights. Great post!

  • Reply
    Stephanie Craig
    April 12, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    I love this post! I agree x1000000000000000. Great work!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Haha love this post. I’m a big fan of a good jumping photo – yours are amazing!

  • Reply
    Anna Schlaht
    April 12, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    What a great post! I think we’ve taken most of these photos. They’re super goofy, but hey, it reminds us that we made fun memories on our trips. Travel doesn’t always have to be serious!

    Love all your photos, by the way. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    All the TIME! lol I always get the side eye, but I don’t care.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Seriously in LOVE with your photo and the Sphinx! So awesome!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Haha! Love this post! Not ashamed of my ‘touristy’ photos at all.. I’m also a fan of jumping photos, it’s ridiculous!.. trying to see when I eventually stop taking those!

  • Reply
    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer
    April 13, 2016 at 3:16 am

    I have taken almost all of these photographs in the past haha (and plan to continue to do them in the future!)

  • Reply
    April 13, 2016 at 5:06 am

    i definitely love mixing the cheesy photos in with the more serious ones, and i am the queen of imitating statues and paintings wherever i go. i’ve got a few fun trips on the horizon, and i will definitely be taking many of these photos along the way. great reminder that travel is supposed to be FUN!

  • Reply
    Lauren Howard
    April 13, 2016 at 7:13 am

    I love this!!

    I had always wanted to take a picture at platform 9 3/4 in London because of Harry Potter, but when I actually got to King’s Cross I was almost to embarrassed to do it, because I thought it was too touristic. Luckily my travel buddy practically made me and now I swear it’s one of my favorite pictures.

  • Reply
    Victoria@ The British Berliner
    April 13, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Lol! Lol!
    I really like the mouth agape in Ecuador and the shadow jump in the Salar de Uyuni photographs. They look pretty cool!

    Sure, I take cheesy photos. I like to do things with my hands and feet….!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Haha I love cheesy photos! I’m also a goofball and sometimes I can’t help pulling faces in my photos and being cheesy sometimes. But I do also love taking more ‘serious’ photos. I think it just depends on what mood I’m in and as long as I’m enjoying myself either way, it’s all good 🙂

  • Reply
    April 13, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    I love a good jumping photo – and when in Asia, I definitely break out my peace sign! I hate that people don’t like to smile in photos anymore – my fave travel photos are when people actually look happy and aren’t just profilin’ for the ‘gram.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Oh my goodness, I love this article… maybe mostly because I could relate. Half of snaps of me that I have fall into the category of “I’m going to imitate the expression of whatever’s in the background” 😀 And besides, what the hell are you supposed to do with your hands if not the peace sign?? Do they just… flap? Nothing wrong with cheesy tourist photos, after all you do want your albums to look like you’ve had fun!

  • Reply
    April 15, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Hahaha, this is awesome! Taking those typical tourist pictures can sometimes be awkward but it is fun. I remember taking that leaning tower photo. Even though it is funny watching everyone holding their hands up, I just couldn’t help but follow suit and snap one. It is just one of those must do while in Pisa.

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