Some pictures are worth a thousand words.
Next time you’re out on a family vacation or taking a selfie, think before you press fire: what could possibly go wrong right now? It might seem like nothing - like the shot is perfect - but sometimes you need to expect the unexpected. What if a gator came out of the river behind us? What if a seagull swooped down and stole my ice cream? It pays to know what the camera might be picking up.
These pictures all seem normal at first – but there’s something off about them, something that was never meant to be seen. Some people took pictures without thinking about their surroundings. Sometimes in the time between posing for the pic and squeezing the button on their iPhone something crazy happened in the background. Other times the picture-takers were just totally oblivious. These people were not in control of their environment when they took these photos, and it made for some memorable moments and future stories. Some pictures were never meant to be taken, but others will go down in history for their fortunate brush with circumstance.
Some of these photobombs are funny and cute, while others are outright scary. Some feature animals acting like people, while others feature children acting like adults. Some are a little mysterious, while others are explainable enough but just beg the question – why?
Others are just perfect moments captured in time – a one in a million shot. Without further ado, here’s a list of 19 of the best photobombs of all time.
19 Prom Tornado
Prom is supposed to be the highlight of a teenager’s life – that moment when you leave behind all the anxiety of high school, get all made up and prepare for adulthood by finally getting serious with your boy- or girlfriend after months of teasing.
But this girl’s prom was exciting for a reason unrelated to boinking in the bathroom after three cups of non-alcoholic punch. She got all dressed up and ready to go, looked out the window, and realized there was a deadly storm approaching.
The best thing about this selfie has to be the bada** expression on this girl’s face. She doesn’t even look worried. She’s clearly grown up in Oklahoma or Kansas or wherever, and another tornado ain’t no big thang to her. She’s just going to stick out her tongue to the camera and smile for the good times rather than run for cover like a normal person would upon noticing an approaching twister.
But whatever happens at the dance, at least you know this girl will never forget her prom night.
This family photo was supposed to be a cute shot of some parents with their naked newborn, but the young one ruined the shot by pooping all over everything. Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go, right? And it’s not as if the baby had any idea he was supposed to be posing for a family photo.
The best thing about this photo is the Mom’s determined effort to use her hands as a makeshift toilet. She almost made it, but it’s clear that she missed, and her hubby’s going to have to make the drive home from this photoshoot wearing some crappy jeans. What did she really hope to accomplish? The deed’s done, and there’s going to be a mess to clean up either way…
This may not be one for the mantel, but at least it’s a picture they can have a laugh about when they finally get the kid potty-trained.
Just a Mom and her daughter hanging out by the lake at the cottage and taking a sweet phot – “Incoming!”
Cottage life is all about bonfires, beer, swimming, and completely destroying family pictures. The best thing about this wild photobomb is the ridiculous expression on the guy’s face as he mugs for the camera in midair. You know that his whole purpose in life right now is to ruin this picture and jumping into the water is only a secondary bit of fun.
But this guy is just way too impressed with himself. Like, we get it, yes, you managed to perfectly time your jump to end up bombing this picture, but it’s not that big a deal. There’s a thing called gravity which will come into play shortly, and as soon as you finish your high-altitude bellyflop (speaking of which – ouch) your sister and mom can go back to smiling at the camera for a retake.
But I do have to hand it to this guy. Everything about this shot is just perfect – the framing, the lighting the expressions on everybody’s face. Really a high-quality photobomb.
16 Lurking Head
This whole picture is a little creepy to begin with. The subject of the photo is wearing a soccer jersey and squatting in what appears to be the ruins of an ancient building late at night. But if that weren’t weird enough, then we have the eerie disembodied head sneaking up from behind one of the stone walls. At first glance it appears to be some kind of ghost or Grim Reaper, but upon closer inspection it just appears to be a dark-skinned guy mugging for the shot. Still, it’s terrifying. The eyes are totally white and face utterly expressionless, and from the look of things, if this is some nefarious individual with something dangerous on his mind, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere for this poor guy to run.
This whole pose is straight out of a horror movie: unsuspecting tourist poses for a snapshot while his murderer lurks in the background, waiting to strike…
15 Background Bromance
This just looks like a typical photo of a middle-aged couple dressed up nice for a wedding or a funeral – but then you notice the gay Spanish couple preparing to make out in the background. While there’s nothing wrong with it, it is surprising to see two tough-looking bald Latinos preparing for a loving embrace. Whether they’re related to the happy couple or just happen to be passing by, this is an epic photobomb. Sorry, happy traditional straight couple – we’re going to completely ruin your smiling mantelpiece photo.
This photo shows that gay people come in all sizes and colours – neither of these two look like they prance and wear flowers in their hair. And I don’t think you’d want to get in their faces about their sexual preferences. These two are out and proud and look they could beat the crap out of you if you have anything to say about it.
Just a cute shot of two girls dressed up for a party – while some guy passes out mid-photo. The timing of this photo had to be absolutely perfect – a second earlier and this guy is just starting to lean, a second later and he’s face down on the floor and the girls are probably turned around to attend to him. As it is, the posing duo have no clue that anything out of the ordinary is even happening and are still trying to take a great photo. This is the perfect photobomb – totally oblivious subjects in the foreground while sh*t hits the fan in the background.
I’ve got to say, that’s an incredibly awkward way to fall over. Is this guy just totally wasted or did someone shove him from just outside the frame? He seems like he’s going to have a whale of a hangover – and one amazing photo to prove it.
13 Attention-Seeking Giraffe
“Can we get a picture with the giraffe?” “Okay – but, the giraffe has to be in it…”
This giraffe wasn’t content to just be the scenery in this zoo photo. Right as someone got ready to snap a photo with this guy and his girlfriend (or daughter – can’t really tell how old he is without a face) the giraffe swooped in and took over the photo. Seems like he really knows how to ham for the camera!
Again, this photo has incredible timing. While when they were setting up the camera, the animal was probably just hanging out in the background of the shot, minding its business, by the time the shutter went off he had completely changed the game.
This shot seems harmless enough, and giraffes are herbivores so there’s probably not a ton of danger, but this does seem awfully close quarters to be hanging out with a wild beast. This giraffe could totally bite a huge chunk out of somebody’s hand, but fortunately it seems like everyone’s okay and having a good time in this shot.
12 "Caught In The Can" Selfie
Oh, the old toilet selfie. The bathroom mirror always seems like a great place to take that perfect shot to post on Instagram, because you can check your hair in the mirror and make sure your outfit’s banging before firing away, but it’s important to check to make sure there aren’t any uninvited guests in your selfie. In this shot someone’s clearly just taking a very private moment to relieve themselves when – surprise! you’re on candid camera! It looks like the poor girl noticed the phone get whipped out seconds before the photo was taken, and managed to duck her head back into the stall, but that doesn’t make her position any less compromised.
You gotta feel bad for her. She was just minding her own business (literally) when some random stranger came in and decided she just needed an Instagram photo right now. What was this poor girl to do?
Maybe taking a selfie into a mirror should have the same rules as parking a car in reverse – pause, do a quick 360, double-check for passersby, then fire away.
11 Wild Beast In The Window
This photo is weird. This girl looks like she’s getting decked out for a night on the town but has to deal with a creepy alien trying to get in the house.
While the dog probably just got back from his walk and is desperate to get back into the house, that’s not what it looks like. It looks like this girl has a crazy beast from another planet with creepy yellow eyes and fangs lurking on her front porch as she casually takes a selfie. That dog is huge – and judging by the way his face is smushed against the glass, probably pretty high-energy, too.
Judging by the fact that the dog seems like one of those high-octane, lovingly bowl-over-his-owner types, maybe it’s not so surprising that this tiny teenage girl in her banging Friday night getup isn’t rushing to let him in. I’m kind of worried the terrier will tear her to shreds.
10 Falling Off A Cliff?
This appears to be a casual photo of a guy taking a selfie while his girlfriend falls to her death behind him. Their expressions couldn’t be more different – his, a fun and easygoing smile, hers, wracked with pure terror. Thankfully, this photo isn’t real and the girl in the shot is not holding on for dear life, but only pretending.
Although the scene from this is staged, it is absolutely terrifying. Samantha Busch took the picture while hiking the Grand Canyon in order to play a cruel joke on her overprotective parents. There’s safe ground somewhere beneath her in this shot, but when she saw the opportunity she felt like she had to take a pic. She said her parents disapproved of her hiking the Canyon, worrying that she would fall to her death, and so she and her boyfriend set up this clever picture just to send them a message.
We’re sure it gave them quite the scare.
9 Literal Dumpster Fire
Have you ever heard the expression “dumpster fire”? On the internet it means a mess of a situation, just a total disaster – something that was already going terribly that went completely to the dogs. An actor is already in trouble for sleeping around and then it comes out that she was underage – that man’s career is a dumpster fire.
Well, in this image we don’t have a metaphorical dumpster fire – we have a literal one. And in the middle of it all we’ve got this cute young couple posing for a selfie, seemingly oblivious to the firefighter in the background trying to deal with a rapidly escalating situation. It’s not even clear if they realize what’s going on in the background and are trying to pose with it, or if they’re really just a couple of dumb kids taking a picture of themselves.
If I was walking down the street and saw an enormous fireball, I’d probably turn around and walk quickly the other way – but some people just need to take that selfie.
8 What's That You're Looking At?
This girl just thought she’d take a real cool selfie. She’s rocking some cool shades, a Lions shirt, and just generally looks way too cool for school. What’s to see here, right?
But she forgot one detail when she fired this selfie off – that sunglasses are reflective. She was staring at a computer screen, completely oblivious to the fact that anyone who saw this picture might have any idea what she was looking at. And what is she looking at? It seems to be a shopping website, and the item she’s looking at seems to be rubbery hot dog-shaped object...
The worst thing about this selfie fail is that it would have been so easily avoided if this girl just turned her screen off, or oriented her chair in another direction. Why take a selfie at this particular moment anyway? If she’s buying the thing, she could just finish her transaction, and then show her face to the world fifteen minutes later…
Turns out it pays to double-check your surroundings before you use that webcam.
7 What's That You're Wearing?
This picture is just…what is she wearing? Is that supposed to be an outfit? It looks like this girl just took a pair of scissors to all her favourite clothes after a breakup, but then decided to wear them anyway out to the coffee shop. I know ripped jeans are in, but are we really at the point where a few patches of denim qualify as clothing?
While this might be intended as a fashion statement, I think this girl could benefit from a little advice from the rest of the world. While she’s attractive enough and this outfit seems to be a great way of showing off her skin (without showing anything too illicit), I think the average guy might be more attracted to someone who understands the purpose of clothing. Can you imagine trying to fold those things up and put them away in a dresser?
Clothes are just there to cover up your private bits anyway, right?
6 Handsy Chimp
This cutie has a pretty face and a nice body – but it appears that it’s not just human males who are attracted to her. This chimp is copping a feel and the smirking expression on his face lets you know he knows exactly what he’s doing. As if that weren’t creepy enough, you have the younger chimp on the other side of the hottie chortling away as if he just watched his buddy pull a dirty trick in the schoolyard and get away with it.
Come to think of it, both of these apes are dressed up in human clothing and hanging out with this girl like regular people. How did this situation come to pass? I’ve heard of domestic or pet chimps, but the effect in this photo is just eerie. I feel like I’m looking at three people.
They say chimps are our closest animal relatives, and looking at this picture, you can see why…
5 Baby Down!
Just a pair of parents swinging their children on the beach blissfully for a photo that will be remembered forever – when suddenly, Mom loses control. Her whole life flashes before her eyes. This was meant to be nothing but a cutesy photo until this mother experienced every mother’s worst nightmare – dropping the baby. I can only imagine the feeling of dread that must be rising up inside of her as this snapshot takes place. Imagine that scene from Risky Business where Tom Cruise’s character is determined to save his mother’s expensive Steuben glass egg from breaking – and now imagine instead of an expensive piece of art, it was a human life at stake.
Fortunately for the mother (and the baby) in this picture, the baby survived the fall with minimal damage, and she doesn’t have to spend the rest her life wondering if she’s a terrible human being for posing on the beach. But we can bet she’ll be a lot more careful the next time she swings the baby around…
4 Streaking At The Wedding
Context is everything, and I want to know in what context these guys decided to streak at the wedding. Do they know the bride and groom and are playing an epic prank? Or are they just some random frat boys who thought it was a great chance to mess with some poor citizens trying to get on with the most important day of their lives?
Judging by the embarrassed look on the bride’s face, this was not kosher. These guys ruined the wedding and the bride looks like she’s gonna need a few years of counselling (or, maybe just a short pep talk from Mom) before she gets over the shock of having her special moment ruined by a bunch of naked douchebags.
The other members of the wedding party seem to be taking it in stride, though. What’s a major life event without a few streakers, anyway? In some ways, maybe it’s a metaphor for the life these two will lead together in the future – you can plan all you want to make everything absolutely perfect, but there’s always gonna be some random naked guys running at you to cause a little havoc…
3 Handsy Baby
Everyone loves boobs. Men love boobs, women love to show off their boobs, and babies…well, babies love boobs, too. You can’t really blame them, though. After all, a boob to a baby is like a refrigerator to a normal person. Everyone gets hungry.
But as natural as it might be for a baby to fixate on a woman’s breast, this young one doesn’t look like he has food on his mind. The expression on his face tells you all you need to know about what kind of adult this little kid is going to turn out to be. He looks like he knows exactly where his hand is. And with a girl who looks like that, who can blame him? She looks too young and cute to be his mom. Maybe he’s just flirting with the babysitter. Trying to get in early.
A word of advice – get your practice in now, kid, while she still thinks it’s cute. In a few years you’ll need to ask permission.
2 Bovine Wedding Consummation
This couple looks a little uncomfortable to begin with – note the forced smiles and the couple inches of space in between them. Clearly they got all dressed up for someone else’s wedding, and now they’re stuck uncomfortably posing for a wedding photo on some random ranch that was totally the groom’s brilliant idea.
But as awkward as this photo might seem at first, it’s nothing once you realize what’s going on in the background. When the mood strikes, nature will run its course. The cows stop for nobody, not even the wedding photographer.
There’s something almost artistic about the juxtaposition between the raw animal lust in the background and the awkward civility of two humans trying to follow social norms. It almost screams, “if you can get through this awkward moment, you might get a chance to do the same thing after enough tequila shots at the reception…”
1 Airborne Wedding Cake
So much planning goes into making a wedding absolutely perfect. You pay the DJ a stupid amount of money to spin some tunes that your bar buddy could just as easily run off an iPhone, you order dinner for 200 people weeks in advance, and most importantly, you spend an inordinate amount on the biggest cake you’ll ever eat in your life. And all along, you hire someone to literally spend all kinds of money that you don’t actually have in order to make this night go perfectly.
This photo is the embodiment of what happens when that perfect wedding dream gets – literally – smashed to pieces. Someone told the bride and groom, “Cut the cake” and they willingly tried to oblige, but something went horribly wrong and now hundreds of dollars are about to end up on the floor of a far-too-expensive restaurant.
The best thing about this photo is the exact moment of capture – a moment filled with tension, where you can instinctively understand what has to happen next, but don’t quite get to see the results. From this photo we can tell that there’s no saving the whole cake, but we’re not quite sure how epic this disaster is going to be. Is it completely done for? Will it just end up slightly smashed in on the table, still edible but barely hanging on?
Hopefully this whole situation isn’t a metaphor for how the rest of the marriage turns out…