To Remember the Moment, Try Taking Fewer Photos

The sun is beating down, making it a gorgeous day at the beach, and your kids are having fun. You reach for your phone because you want to capture this perfect moment. Before you do, here’s a bit of surprising science that avid photo-takers need to know: Taking photos isn’t the perfect memory-retention tool you think it is. Snapping too many pictures can actually harm the brain’s abilities to retain memories. So, you get the photo, but kind of lose the memory. It works in one of two ways: We either offload the responsibility of remembering moments when we take pictures of them, or we’re so distracted by the process of taking the photo that we miss the moment altogether. When you rely on technology to remember something for you, you're essentially outsourcing your memory. Photo-takers, don’t despair just yet. If you’re more intentional about the photos you take, they can actually help you capture the moment you’re hoping to hold onto. Here are a few tips to make your photos count without sacrificing your memory.


  1. 1. Have someone else take the photos so you can be fully engaged in the event itself. 
  2. 2. Consider why you’re taking the photo. If you’re more mindful, you can reduce the ill effects on memory and even enhance your enjoyment. 
  3. 3. Focus in on details. Search the visual field to decide what to capture. In doing so, you’re more likely to commit those details to memory. 
  4. 4. Take a few good pictures, then put the phone down and soak in the rest of the experience. 
  5. 5. Look at your photos regularly and reactivate those mental representations. 
  6. 6. Organize your photos into albums to make them manageable and accessible.