As full-time travel content creators, it’s easy to get lost in our job and take the heart out of our photos. Sometimes it can feel like we’re chasing after the perfect photo instead of truly chasing the adventure we originally sought out. In a world dominated by social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to get the perfect shot instead of authentically capturing memories. Let’s be real—we’ve all taken those family photos where we were bickering and complaining, only to stop just long enough to flash a smile before the click. Many of us probably have those photos hanging in our living rooms! They might look great for guests entering the home—but do you reflect on them fondly?
As the world has reopened this year, my partner and I decided to focus on getting one defining photo from each trip. This one photo will do more than just show the beauty of the landscape—it will remind us of a moment in time, a story that we want to remember for the rest of our lives. We’ve started to name this process, so when we get home, and we’re going through our photos, we ceremoniously take one picture and declare it “Our Photo of the Trip.” It’s the one photo that will remind us of the moments we fell more in love, conquered a fear, or laughed with so much joy it hurt.
This year we had the opportunity to visit Iceland, which was full of amazing experiences. While we captured a plethora of images that we love and can use on our social media—we were able to leave Iceland with our “Photo of the Trip,” which now holds a special place in our hearts.
We took a road trip around the country of Iceland for eight days, and we were in awe of the beauty around us—from waterfalls, mountains, and frolicking sheep. We were there specifically to create photos and videos, so the days were jam-packed and hectic with activity. We tried to fit in as many stops as we possibly could—we’d get up by five a.m. each morning so we could beat the crowds, and we barely had any pauses in our day.
The waterfalls seized a special spot in our hearts. We arrived early in the morning at one of the famous waterfalls, Skógafoss. While it was breathtaking, the moment felt rushed as we knew we had to get back in the car to race to our next destination.
Looking back on our photo of Skógafoss, you can see the beauty—the peaceful crashing of the waterfall, and you can almost hear the birds singing on the horizon—but the photo doesn’t hold special meaning for us. It’s just another picture in our very large camera roll.
We checked out Reynisfjara beach by the village of Vík, and while the views were awe-striking, we were grumpy and distracted by our stomachs because we hadn’t had lunch yet. It was still a great moment, but not necessarily one we look back on with warm sentiment. We’ve all been there—right?
This photo is one we love, but it doesn’t tell the full story, either! This is at the famous Blue Lagoon, near Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. It was an incredible place, and the overall experience was memorable. The photo turned out well, and we were quite satisfied with the soak. What this photo doesn’t tell you is that we were ridiculously jet-lagged and basically zombies floating around in the hot spring. The experience was still a blast—but again, there’s always more to the story!
The picture that finally stole the signature “Photo of the Trip” award was this pose we took in front of the erupting Fagradalsfjall volcano. We were hot, sweaty, slightly flushed, and posed like a couple at their junior high prom—but we were having the time of our lives! The Fagradalsfjall volcano began erupting a few months prior to our trip for the first time in 800 years, and we were lucky enough to be able to hike to the base and see the lava spilling out of the crater. The views were unbelievable, and the emotions were high. It was actually Sarah’s birthday, and we couldn’t think of a more epic way to celebrate. When we look back at this photo, it reminds us of the story behind the image. We had just finished a strenuous hike and came over a ridge, revealing the once-in-a-lifetime capture. We sat in awe of the volcano—without even picking up our cameras for a while—just to soak it all in.
The best photo isn’t always the most beautiful or the most put-together capture from your trip—sometimes it’s the one that seizes a moment in time you never want to forget. The perfect photo isn’t just about what’s in the photo—it’s about what was happening in the photo.