Stop Taking Photos With Your iPad: An Open Letter

Dear fellow travelers,

I get it. You're in a brand new place, seeing exciting new things, and you wanna document the experience. That's cool. Nobody's begrudging you your vacation photos. But please, for the love of God, STOP using your iPad to take them. By doing so, you're ensuring that not only will your photos be mediocre, but you'll look like an absolute tool in the process. Stop the nonsense, people.

Flickr/Tamara Craiu

First off, a painful truth: your iPad’s just not made for taking photos. “But, but, it’s got a camera on it!” Yes, it certainly does. Know what else has a camera on it? Pretty much every laptop computer these days, and yet you don’t see anyone pulling out their Dell Latitude to take a few snaps of the "Mona Lisa." How can this be? BECAUSE THAT’S NOT WHAT IT’S FOR.

Yes, the visionary Steve Jobs decided that including cameras on every iPad was a good thing. But he also thought the "hockey puck" iMac mouse was a good idea. Mr. Jobs didn’t actually get it right 100% of the time. 

Here’s a bold new idea: use an actual camera! You can get an entry-level point-and-shoot for around half the price of a new iPad, and on top of the money you save, you get the ability to take higher quality photos that people will ACTUALLY wanna look at. Alright, that last part might be a bit of a stretch, but the image files will definitely be higher quality.


Maybe you're not worried about megapixels or photo resolution, though. What are you, some kinda nerd? All you care about is convenience, and why carry a stupid camera around when you've already got a perfectly good iPad on you, right?

This should be obvious already, but in case you haven’t caught on: you shouldn’t actually be lugging your iPad around with you in the first place. Here's a fun fact: if you own an iPad, you've probably got an iPhone too, which means you've already got a superior camera in a much smaller package. Yes, Apple makes their iPads soooo thin and light these days, but you're still lugging around a relatively large, exceptionally expensive slab of metal and glass for no reason, other than to play 2048 in the bathroom at the Taj Mahal.

Whipping out an iPad (or even your phone, let's be honest) in an unfamiliar place automatically puts a target on your back, and that multi-functionality you love so much cuts both ways. If you’re carrying a cheap digital camera, not only do you have MUCH more room in your pockets, but if you get robbed (it happens), you’re only out one thing: a digital camera. If someone snatches your phone or oversized iPad on the streets of Bangkok, you’ve essentially lost multiple devices all at once.

Flickr/K?rlis Dambr?ns

Beyond personal safety and practicality, though, there's another angle to consider. If you're carrying an iPad, you've probably got a case or cover of some kind on it to protect your investment. Which is fine, and even prudent. Except, of course, it turns an already-humongous item into an even bigger eyesore that'll ruin the photo of pretty much everyone standing behind you. People who hold their flappy-lidded iPads up to snap a photo are as universally reviled as the ones who answer their phones in a theater while the movie's playing. Don't be that leather-bound idiot.

Flickr/David Fulmer

Not everyone's on the hook here, though. People over the age of 60 are generally exempt, mostly because they likely don't know any better, their eyesight is failing, or the iPad was a gift from their kids (or grandkids). It's still annoying when these folks ruin a perfectly good picture by hoisting their misused technology up and taking five minutes to snap a single photo, but anyone who's getting earnestly pissed at Nana or Uncle Leo on vacation is kind of a douche, and should probably calm down.

The rest of you, however, are hereby on notice.

Any non-AARP members caught using an iPad to take a photo in my presence is getting body-checked at the next available opportunity, in the hopes that their treasured tablet will be dashed to pieces on the concrete below. I'm not actually gonna do that myself, because I'm not a psychopath, but if it DOES happen to you, just know that it's karmic justice and you really don't have any recourse.

With love,

Gianni Jaccoma is an editorial assistant for Thrillist Travel. He’s sent numerous letters to President Obama about this issue, but has yet to receive his invitation to the White House. Follow him on Twitter @gjaccoma