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Here are 23 Travel Photos You’ll Shake Your Head At!

Let’s face it – we love travel photos. The process of creating something is always a thrill and we love having personal souvenirs to look back on from all of our experiences. The photos we create and the memories we have are ours forever. As long as they are important and special to us, that is all that matters.

While we always try to keep it real when we travel, we often post the best photos we take to share our experiences with others. But what happens when you don’t get the perfect shot? Not every photos is straight. Not every photo is flattering. Not every photo is perfectly lit. Not every photo we take is perfect! We’re just us – Lisa and Eric at Penguin and Pia.

So, being the lovable penguins that we are, here are 23 not-so-perfect travel photos from our adventures. We’ll tell you a little story with each one. Ready to make us feel silly?

Embarrassment coming in 3… 2… 1… 

The “Eyes Closed in Warsaw” Shot

girl with fur hood standing in front of building in warsaw poland

Let’s start off with a classic. For whatever reason, Lisa has an incredible ability to NEVER HAVE HER EYES OPEN when Eric snaps a photo of her. Case and Point: We were wandering in the Old Town of Warsaw, Poland and apparently it was just so beautiful that Lisa couldn’t keep her eyes open.

The “My Face Is Apparently Melting” Shot

boy with red jacket and camera at night

Ah, yes. The beautiful Charles Bridge in Prague. After a night wander, we were heading back to our Airbnb. Lisa whipped around to snap a night photo – which she knows very little about. Needless to say, this shot isn’t Eric at his best!

The “Hold My Sunglasses, Oh Wait I Still Have Them” Shot

brown sunglasses in view of blue rocky shoreline

The Beaches is a great neighbourhood in the east end of Downtown Toronto. From the lake front you can see for ages and snap stunning shots of the CN Tower. Unfortunately, the view was obstructed by a foreign object in the other hand. Thanks, Rayban.

The “Stuff in the Way Or Stuff On The Lens” Shot: Part 1

the guggenheim museum in bilbao spain

Good Riddance to Lisa’s old Canon! Even though it was her trusty camera for quite some time, it had lots of dust and debris in the lens. Here’s a shot of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain – lens dots and all.

The “Sweet-Toothed Monster in Prague” Shot

girl eating pastry in alleyway in prague

Lots of people have tried “Trdelník” in Prague, Czech Republic. You know – it’s that flame-grilled rolled dough on a stick that’s covered in sugar and other fillings? Here’s Lisa enjoying hers!

The “Furry Polish Invader” Shot

woman and girl walking with wawel castle in background

We were so cold snapping photos of the beautiful Wawel Castle in Krakow, Poland. Lisa walked ahead so Eric could snap a nice photo of her wandering. Apparently, this elderly woman also received Eric’s cue to walk into the shot.

The “Everything’s Crooked in Krakow” Shotboy in jacket and backpack in square in krakow poland

Lisa has a confession: she’s not always super with making a photo straight horizontally. This, however, is next level crookedness. Her excuse? “It’s sometimes difficult to fit everything into the photo!” Well, you did it.

The “Werk It, Bag, Werk It” Shot

riga city hall front with blue sky

This photo actually brings up negative energy for Eric. Not because the guy is taking a photo of his bag in the middle of the open square in Riga, Latvia – but because Eric waited for a good 4 minutes for this guy to be done taking the damn photo. I’m all for photos but… why?!

The “Stuff in the Way Or Stuff On The Lens” Shot: Part 2.

berlin cathedral and berlin tv tower with road and cars in foregroundThe Berlin TV Tower and Berlin Cathedral draw so many visitors to the German capital. Remember though: if you’re not close enough to them, you’re going to capture a lot more stuff (read: construction road cones things) in the photo!

The “Perfect Sunset Shared With Basically Everyone” Shot
sihouette heads looking at sunset over copenhagen

The tower of Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark is one of our favourite photo spots in the entire world. However, if you’re heading up there to catch the sunset you certainly won’t be alone! While we managed to get the shot we wanted, we also got a chance to actually enjoy the view and the setting. This one is more to show you that there’s often a different reality than what’s posted!

The “Spooky Green Glare in Edinburgh” Shot

edinburgh cityview with setting sun

Because it’s Edinburgh, there’s a very real chance that the green glare is in fact a ghost from Scottish past. There’s also a very real chance that Lisa has once again had a difficult time adjusting for glare on Calton Hill. You be the judge.

The “Are My Lines Straight?” Shot

prague colourful architecture buildings

Okay, Lisa isn’t the only one who has the odd crooked snap. Prague is known for its clean lines and beautiful architecture. Eric did his absolute worst to capture any of it.

 The “Distressed For No Real Reason” Shot

girl with camera and bars in background on tower in hamburg

We often catch one another with odd faces in between smiles and chatting. From the top of St. Michaelis Church in Hamburg, Germany, Eric got Lisa looking perfectly comfortable with her surroundings.

The “Sunglasses Struggles” Shot: Volume 1.
boy taking off sunglasses in lisbon portugal

We made a stop over in Lisbon, Portugal on the way home to Canada. While we had a great wander in the extremely hot weather, it was our sunglasses that kept giving us problems. Want to take a photo? Gotta remove those glasses. Done taking the photo? Toss them back on your face. It apparently became too much for Eric, and Lisa was there to capture it!

Read More About Lisbon – How to Spend 6 Hours in Lisbon

The “German Girl Deals With German Construction” Shot

girl taking photos through fence in hamburg germany

We took so many beautiful shots in downtown Hamburg, Germany. What you don’t see on social media is the fact that there was a lot of construction while we visited. At this point, we’re used to shooting photos through fences.

The “Not-Quite-Focused Montreal” Shot

boy wearing hat overlooking downtown montreal

Let’s thank Lisa for this great shot of Eric at the top of Mount Royal, in Montreal, Canada. Now, if only we could just make the photo a tad sharper…

The “Stuff in the Way Or Stuff On The Lens” Shot: Part 3 seagull flying through photo of prague at night on the water

Once again, the Charles Bridge at night time strikes again. This time, it’s the pesky seagulls that made the shot memorable. They were everywhere and for some reason they all came alive to swarm the bridge at the same time.

The “Attack of the Hair” Shot

girl with hair in her face posing with water and cruise ship in background in oslo norway

If it’s windy out, Lisa’s hair can often slow down the process of taking photos. We were in Oslo, Norway climbing towards the top of the Opera House when we stopped to shoot a few with the cruise ship in the background. Unfortunately, the wind and Lisa’s hair had other plans.

The “Let’s Look Directly Into The Sun” Shotguy with funny face and black jacket and camera

One afternoon, we hopped on the S-train and headed north of downtown Copenhagen to the beach in Klampenborg. While there, we had a small picnic and snapped a few photos as it was getting warmer in March. Eric got so excited by the sunshine he just couldn’t help looking up. Ouch.

The “Tell Me Where To Stand” Shotgirl standing in edinburgh alleyway with arms raised

Occasionally, we want to take a photo together. We bought a tripod in Hamburg but we don’t use it that often. Unfortunately, this photo was taken a few months before that trip to Hamburg. So, here we are on Circus Lane in Edinburgh – with Nicky the Nikon sitting on a garbage can. Lisa was the distance checker for the first few images. After a while, she had had enough!

The “Tiny Sailboat, Big Expectations” Shotsmall sailboat on blue water

Can you even see it? Neither can we! Lisa always laughs at this photo from Brighton, United Kingdom. She knows fully-well that she had no business taking a photo of the little sailboat that was REALLY far away. She doesn’t even have a decent zoom lens. To make matters worse, she forgot to adjust for exposure. This perfect photograph is the result. Splendid.

The “C’mon, Crane – Get Outta There!” Shotopen square in lisbon portugal with blue sky and yellow buildings

Cranes are the absolute worst “hide ‘n’ go seek” players. Ever. This would have been the perfect shot from Lisbon, Portugal. Guess it means we’ll just have to return soon!

The “Sunglasses Struggles” Shot: Volume 2

girl with sunglasses looking at camera with rocky shore behind

Down by Lake Ontario in Toronto, Canada, Lisa was taking a moment to adjust the settings on her new camera. Her sunglasses legitimately started out on her head – but they dropped down in front of her eyes… and Eric snapped this.

And there you have it – 23 of our best (worst) travel photos! What do you think? Do you see Penguin and Pia in a whole new light? Good! We’re happy to share our travels, good and bad, with you. Do you have any hilarious photos from your travels that you look at again and again and still laugh? We want to see them! Tag us on social media or comment below with a link to an article. We’d be happy to laugh with you!

As always, Happy Bad Photo Waddlin’!
– L&E


Eric is a Canadian & Hungarian content writer with over 45 countries under his belt. From volunteering in Australia to studying his Master's degree abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, his travel experiences have taken him across the globe. Next to writing on Penguin and Pia, he has been quoted by the BBC, the Travel Channel, USA Today, and Mashable and contributed to companies in the travel space such as Matador, AirHelp, GoOverseas, and Spot.


  1. Oh my goodness, this post really made me laugh! Great idea for a post! We have ALL made these mistakes, and it’s nice to know we’re not alone and that everyone’s not always perfect. <3

    • So glad to hear, Jennifer! 🙂 We had a ton of fun putting it together – even scrolling through again I just had a chuckle at a few of them. Yeah, there’s certainly more bad photos than there are good but we’re all human! Let us know if you’ve got a photo to share – we’d love to see. Happy Waddling!