I once stood behind someone at a gig who spent the entire performance deleting photos from the camera roll on her phone so she could take more photos. She wasn’t watching the show, but was instead preoccupied with documenting the experience. It seemed a shame that she was missing out just because she wanted to take a photo.

It’s easier than ever to take photos instantly, with the nearest camera just a swipe away on your smartphone. We’re taking and sharing more pictures than ever before, but what impact is this having on our memories?

Taking photo at gig

Research tells us that by taking photographs, we become less likely to remember the event or subject we’re capturing on camera. We’re all keen to document our lives in snapshots we share on Facebook and Instagram, but maybe taking so many photographs is a bad idea, and could be impairing your ability to recall memories accurately.

“We have this expectation that the camera is going to remember things for us, so we don’t have to continue processing that object and we don’t engage in the types of things that would help us remember it.”

Linda Henkel

When you look back, you might not remember how you felt at that moment, but instead you’ll remember what you see in the photograph. Your experience will be changed and your memories altered to be more in line with the photo you took.

From what you had for dinner to what you’re wearing, we’ve gone from saving photography for the extra special moments to documenting every mundane detail of our lives. And when we do experience something special, these events are coloured by spending far too much time taking pictures.

Taking photo at gig

Instead of taking ten photos next time you go out, why not take two or three? Take less photos, but make them good ones. Learn how to use your camera or phone to get the very best pictures, or brush up on a few tricks to capture those truly special moments, like your holidays. Seek out advice from experts to improve your photography skills.

Don’t fill your phone with photos, fill your mind with memories, and do more with the photos you do take by printing them out. Print them, enjoy them, fill your home with them and share them with other people. These are the things that keep your memories alive, not thousands of images on a hard drive.