Taking pictures changes your experience

How taking pictures of what you are doing changes your experience of it

Almost everywhere I go outside of work and no matter what I’m doing I find many folks with cell phones in hand and snapping photos. Simply walking down the street or sitting in a restaurant reveals a significant number of people engrossed in their cell phones and often taking photos with no conversation taking place. I’ve become somewhat judgmental about this because I think it distracts the person and keeps them from participating in whatever their group is up to…unless they’re all snapping away or playing pokemon go. And, for all you parents out there, I’m not even talking about having the phones out while doing homework.

Lately though I’ve begun to question my thinking. Given how many people are into this can it be that it’s always a bad idea to be disengaged, or at least appear that way? Might there be times when snapping away might even add to the experience?

I began to look for what people involved in social research thought about this picture taking and, sure enough it isn’t as clear cut as I thought.

Here’s what a few researchers from well known universities have to say after conducting tests. Kristin Diehl, PhD (University of Southern California), Gal Zauberman, PhD (Yale University), and Alixandra Barasch, PhD (University of Pennsylvania), conducted studies with over 2,000 participants and the results led them to believe that in certain cases taking photographs can enhance the experience.

While this article doesn’t include photos taken in the study you may get an idea of what they sometimes mean from this photo which is included in the article and decide to read more about how taking photos during an activity affects our experience.


The researchers conducted nine different experiments. Read about their work here:

and here,


Walter Krieg

Author: dotphoto

Glenn Paul is President and Co-Founder of dotPhoto, which began life in 2000 as a photo printing service and now also distributes user-generated media in Flash, video and on cell phones.

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