Pictures Complete the Story

Ed Lee
Aug 28, 2014

Choosing places to stay and eat can be challenging when travelling to new cities and countries. Over the last few years, I have turned to the service TripAdvisor and have found it to be tremendously helpful. I find much of what I read from reviewers to be very valuable and in some cases, insightful. As my way of paying it forward to others, I regularly write reviews of the hotels, restaurants, attractions, and places I have been to.

What I have found in reading and writing reviews is that text-only reviews tell just half the story. Adding pictures helps to complete the story. Since almost everyone carries a phone in their pocket today, it is very easy to take a quick snapshot of a building, room, or a plate of food. Including pictures with a review allows readers to better experience the venue or see the food presentation beforehand. Therefore, I encourage photo taking, but leave the flash off if you are in a restaurant, as flash photography can be distracting and annoying to others.

On a recent trip to New York City, I conducted a quick experiment with three smartphones to see which one would capture the best image inside a dark restaurant using only existing light. The three phones were an iPhone 4, an iPhone 5s, and a Nokia Lumia 1020. The cameras were handheld and the photos were taken in succession using the default camera settings. You be the judge.

Nokia Lumia 1020

Apple iPhone 5s

Apple iPhone 4

All of the photos are usable, but I feel the Lumia 1020 smartphone captured the best one, with better exposure, more detail, and a wider field of view. The iPhone 5s is runner-up, and the iPhone 4 finishes a distant third.

Photos Help

Regardless of what type of camera someone uses—phone, point & shoot, or DSLR—capturing a photo is a step in the right direction. I find that I view the photos as much as I read the reviews and the more photos that are available about a hotel or restaurant, the more informed my decision can be. I believe this rings true for other people as well.

A case in point is my review of El 58 in Barcelona Spain, where I dined while covering the Mobile World Congress trade show this year. El 58 is a quaint little restaurant that served excellent tapas. I was so impressed with the presentation of the food that I photographed each dish we ordered. In my review, I posted seven photos of the different dishes to show others what to expect. This review has received the most “Helpful” votes of all my reviews.

Travel sites like TripAdvisor rely on its members to describe their experiences for other to read. Adding a good quality photo helps to complete the story.

(Disclaimer: I have no business relationship with TripAdvisor, other than being a happy user.)


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