Blog post

Can taking photos take away from Live Experiences?

October 2017
Can taking photos take away from Live Experiences?
Can taking photos take away from Live Experiences?

Author - Hannah Aldis, Production Co-ordinator, Inspired.

Last week I went out for dinner with some school friends I hadn’t seen in far too long. Wanting to capture the moment, I pulled my phone out to take a picture only to be greeted with the dreaded 'cannot take photo' message. Yes, once again, I had run out of storage. I quickly switched to Snapchat to take the photo, whilst making a mental note to sort through my photos in order to free up some much-needed space.

Later that evening I scrolled through my photo gallery. As I did so, my storage problem all of a sudden made sense. I eventually reached a large number of photos, and videos, which I’d taken at a gig a few months ago. Some of the videos went on for several minutes, capturing whole songs, and the various photos were near-identical, blurry and quite frankly not worth taking in the first place, let alone keeping. I quickly whizzed through the bulk of them, keeping the very best but getting rid of the majority.

Whilst on my deleting-spree, I got thinking about why I took these photos in the first place, especially when I clearly hadn’t looked at them since.

Initially I thought it must be to capture the moment (as I had wanted to do at dinner with my friends), giving myself the opportunity to re-live the experience again and again. But then, if this was the case, why had I not looked at the pictures since? Only on one occasion had I scrolled though, and this, in all honesty, was due to boredom rather than any overwhelming need to relive the memory. I’ve since done some research on this theory and interestingly, researchers have suggested that relying on technology in order to remember experiences in actual fact results in the reverse effect. “Far from helping us to capture the moment, it could mean we miss what’s going on right in front of our noses”, states Psychology Professor, Dr. Linda A. Henkel. It’s no surprise then that a number of venues and musicians are starting to ban photography. It’s understandable that artists wouldn’t want sub-quality videos making their rounds on the internet after they’ve spent thousands of pounds on the best AV kit. And what about that surprise element, for artists on tour, do they really want their fans knowing the show from start to finish before they’ve attended?

However, we do live in a connected world where everyone wants to share everything. And undeniably, photos and videos taken during gigs often go viral, providing free PR for the artists whilst raising excitement and anticipation amongst attendees. It can only be described as a catch 22 situation. Realistically we can’t stop people taking pictures, but do we really want them to stop? There is evidence out there which suggests that taking photos increases enjoyment of, and engagement with, an experience: heightening that emotional response.

It’s an interesting thought, does taking photos encourage attendees to emotionally engage more with an event or less? Arguably, even if they are more engaged, are they not just viewing the experience through their phone as opposed to being present in the moment. Or, on the contrary, is it possible to be truly present alongside capturing the moment with phones and cameras?

We rely so heavily on technology, and it can be used for so many amazing things, but I think it’s sometimes worth thinking about how much we use it when, perhaps, we don’t need to. Is this to say that I’ll never take pictures at a gig again? Not at all! I like knowing that I have those memories in picture format if I do ever want to look back on them. And I like getting home and showing my friends and family what I’ve seen. This makes the experience live on after its finished if you like, something we strongly believe in here at Inspired. I will try however to limit what I photograph, for the sake of my phone storage(!) just as much as for my enjoyment of, and true presence at, the experience.

Here at Inspired we hope to truly engage your audience. For some, this will mean getting their phones out to retain as much information as possible. For others, it will mean forgetting their phones even exist. I don’t necessarily think there’s a right or a wrong, but I’ll definitely be looking out for what’s more popular.

If you liked what you've read and want to know what else makes Hannah and the rest of the Inspired team tick, email us at tellmemore@inspiredlive.co.uk.

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Creating a high impact event environment for the data and storage industry.

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Unveiling new showroom experiences for a leading Volkswagen retailer.

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Marking 40 years of leading edge thinking in the UK automotive industry.

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Maintaining an exemplary guest experience during the rejuvenation of a luxury hotel.

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Curating memorable content for a not-for-profit sector staff conference.


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