People often say that pictures speak louder than words. Yes, photos send us an immediate message – strong and powerfully expressive. They are quick and easy to look at. Photos are a wonderful way of recording traveling. But are they the best way to record your experience? A pen can be just as powerful. Many people replace a notebook with a camera while traveling. In the battle between camera VS pen, do we even need to choose? Read ahead for the pros and cons of both to help you decide which you want to be – photographer or writer.

Camera Pros

A Visual Image

The pure essence of a photograph is that it is a single visual image. The effect immediately brings you back to the moment when you took it. It is a step backward in time, an immediate and efficient journey into the past. All tiny details are captured without you even having to remember them. A particular shadow of the light, or the texture of a building. Everything is eternal. Whenever you are sharing a great moment, it takes less than a second to capture it – whole and complete.

Slow Travel

Carrying around a camera can slow you down. You are less likely to rush from sight to sight with a camera around your neck. Instead, you stop more frequently to try and capture a moment in the perfect light. It inspires gratitude and appreciation of immediate experience. It can also encourage constant creativity into your day. Slow travel is an excellent way to travel. Taking photos can help you do this – reveling in a small moment rather than always looking for something new. Ultimately, a camera helps you to capture not only a photo but also the present moment.

Camera cons

Missing the Moment

Alternatively, the opposite is possible – you might end up missing travel moments. Every experience can seem like it is second hand through the lens of a camera. Sometimes, you are too worried about catching the perfect photo; you can lose the immediate experience. Especially if taking videos, it is tempting to hold up the camera and watch everything pass you by. Travelling experience can be lessened – especially with social media. The pressure to upload photos and show off your trip can deny the enjoyment of the moment. If pictures speak louder than words, there can be pressure to capture this perfect expression.

Generic Photography

Photography can be subjective, original and personal to you, but this takes a lot of skill. Sadly, most photos are pretty generic and have been made by hundreds of other tourists. It can be disheartening to look at pictures of your travels and see there are hundreds of identical and more professional, ones on google. True, it can be a creative art form. But for many travel pictures, you are not adding anything new to what is already out there. This us why more personal ways of recording travel experiences can feel more rewarding.

Writing Pros

Greater Internal Representation

Because photos are a single visual image, they can be more generic and less personal to you. Writing, however, is usually more internalized. It expresses, not only the immediate picture but emotion and perspective attached to it. You can record you travel experiences in an entirely original way, through your words. Not only the visual is represented, but all the scenes, as well as your individual reaction to a moment. Beauty extends beyond the image. You can choose to encompass the complex reactions that come with it. Individuality can shine through in writing more thoroughly than it can in photography. You don’t need the exact skills or experience, just honesty, and enthusiasm for travel.

Less Pressure

Arguably, writing holds less pressure than photography. Without a camera, you are free just to enjoy the moment. Recording your traveling with photos can urge you always to take the perfect picture of a moment, rather than allowing yourself just to enjoy it. But, by writing, memory is given greater priority. You can allow yourself to bask in a moment, knowing you have the time to record it properly later. You can write at any time. However, you can lose the perfect photo in a second – by a change of light or slight movement. You have greater flexibility and are not as dependent on capturing the exact visual moment.

Writing Cons

Writing is not as Tangible

The great thing about photos is that you can print them off, or at least store them in a material, tangible way. Writing is often kept hidden in notebooks. With pictures, your travels can be scattered around you room, or shared online. They are seen and enjoyed. And, enjoyed long after you return from your trip. You cannot pass around words when you return, but you can pass around photos. A pen is as equally as physical as a camera – but words are not as tangible as photographs.

Can be antisocial

Writing pretty much requires solitude. Although you can balance company and writing, it is harder to be sociable. With a camera, you can experience your photos with other people. You can laugh at them and take them together in groups. Cameras capture moments, not only for you but for those you are sharing the experience with. Writing holds a more personal perspective, and people are less willing to share it. Photos can be posted on social media and shared with you friends. Recording travel in words also takes more time, possibly, even more, energy. Ultimately, the act of writing is perhaps more suitable for solo travelers.

So which one is better – photography or writing?

Do pictures speak louder than words? In the end, it is not a competition. And to compare writing and photography is ultimately pointless. They are both entirely separate ways of recording travel experience, with their advantages and disadvantages. You might prefer the immediate visual imagery of photography. Or, embrace the more internal, personalized art of writing. You might just choose to use a bit of both while traveling. The important part is to record you travel in the first place. By turning travel experience into a story, it gives your journey a whole new layer. Travelling becomes more than an experience; it evolves into a narrative – presenting who you are and what you have done. Both cameras and notebooks are a great way to hold records of your travels, creating memories in a free and creative manner.


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