There's a gentle breeze blowing across a picturesque beach. The sun is setting over the horizon, casting the sand and its surrounds in a golden glow.
The time is ripe for a perfect photograph. Out comes the camera; but it's not you behind it.
One could argue that ever since the Kodak Brownie the photographic image became a commodity that could be bought or sold. We hire wedding, portrait and documentary photographers for our special moments. So why not a travel photographer?
According to The Wall Street Journal, a growing trend for hoteliers and travel planners is to hire a professional photographer to document holidays, with the view that these photos will appear on social media where, I quote, "the quality of vacation photos are increasingly scrutinised".
In our visually-saturated world, where photos are streamed through our consciousness every day, it's inevitable that a generation of Instagrammers and Facebook photographers will seek a little more quality.
It's easy to be cynical about such an enterprise.
So, I will be.
One hotel is offering the "together package", a name that's so utterly bile inducing that while you're busy making retching noises in the corner, your bank account is being relieved of US$10,500. It could even be considered good value, taking into account that it covers accommodation, meals, massages and, of course, the photographic package.
For a moment, let's consider this from the other point of view. While the premise of hiring a third party to capture those intimate holiday moments might seem preposterous at first, consider your past travel experiences. How many times has the top of your head been relegated to the corner of the frame, thanks to the arm's length self-portrait? A professional photographer makes sure that you not only get to enjoy your holiday, but can also relive it later, in all its retouched glory.
As more and more of us are finding it hard to make the time in our busy lives to achieve a form of mastery in creative avenues, such as photography, it's not surprising that businesses have jumped at the opportunity to monetise our desire for photographic immortality.
The increasing way in which we live out our lives online — or, at least, a representation of our lives — also puts immense pressure on us trying to appear to have it all. A perfect photograph is just a part of this illusion.
Whichever side of the fence you sit on, the inevitable truth is that whenever there is someone willing to pay, there will always be someone willing to take the photograph.