If you are reading this, you are probably already bitten by the photography bug. It is a pastime, hobby, even profession that millions of us enjoy daily.
It is relaxing, exercises our creativity and requires us to be technically proficient too. In short, it’s a wonderful art form.
Like everything, however, there are some elements to photography that really trigger our flashguns. Annoyances irritations and niggles that can, if we let them, hamper our enjoyment.
Today, and with tongue firmly planted in cheek, we are going to look at ten things that bug us as photographers.
1. The Assumption We Will Work For Free
Ah, this old chestnut. You bought all your camera gear, invested huge amounts of time in learning your craft because you love photography. For that reason, you should be happy that someone recognizes that ambition and drive and offers you exposure for your photography.
Now, if Burberry asks you to run their Instagram account for free, the exposure may (and I'll reiterate may…) be worth it. Tractor Weekly, however, is not probably going to boost your online presence with your name underneath a striking picture of a John Deere 4044M (unless of course you really love tractors).
As for the wealthy couple getting married who will recommend you to all of their friends…NOPE!
2. The Photo Thief
It's on the internet, it must mean its free to use right? This is probably the most common excuse of those people who are photo stealers.
Another is “it wasn’t watermarked so it must be free” Even more bizarrely are the ones who think that an image is free because it’s watermarked.
There are many offenders from bloggers to a surprising number of web designers – guilty as charged! Go plagiarise their design and see how quickly they realize that creativity takes work and you should be compensated accordingly.
The irony of photo theft is the sheer amount of double standards.
3. The Annual Upgrade
That camera you bought last week. Did you know the price just went down by $200? Seem familiar? Its a guarantee that buying a new camera will facilitate a price drop, but the reason for that price drop is that a new model is about to be released.
The marketing gurus will tell you how much better the new model is over your recent purchase. They will explain that an extra 1 frame per second will make you a better sports photograph and than the extra 2 million pixels will make your images so much more professional.
In many cases, all they have done is tweak the camera’s firmware and stuck a new badge on the front.
Be happy with what you have, you make the pictures the camera merely takes them…although we all secretly want the new one…right…
4. The Megapixel Race
Megapixels are the marketers' dream. They tap into our desire to have the best. Truth be told, many of us don’t need the many millions of pixels we are sold. Unless you plan to exhibit prints or sell your work commercially, 20 million of the little blighters is probably enough. But 32 million is even better right?
5. The Armchair Expert
Of course, not all of these wonderful individuals sit in armchairs, but all of them think they know more than you about photography and anyone else for that matter.
They will give supremely smug and condescending answers to newcomers, and horrifically detailed yet pointless answers to more experienced photographers. Take comfort though, because most of the information they impart has actually been gleaned from other armchair experts.
In reality, they are usually re-spouting urban myths, mistruths, and plain rubbish. Most of them are quite simply talking through their aperture.
Photography is a creative outlet for everyone, so find people who love photography and love helping others in a positive fashion – leave the armchair expert to their negativity!
6. The Lack Of Critical Critique
We all love a pat on the back. It makes us feel good about our abilities. That’s why sites such as 500px are so popular, post a great picture and get praise heaped on you. But what do you learn from all that praise? Only that you are a great photographer.
There is a real lack of honest critique in online photography. This leads to people becoming content with their abilities and not taking the opportunity to learn more. How often have you seen an image on 500px and felt like saying “Nice picture but….”?
Next time do it – of course, do it positively (unless you too become the armchair expert…see the point above). If, collectively we start to give a more honest appraisal of people’s ability we will all be able to progress photography in general to the next level
7. The Perplexing Menus
Now, how do I change from Raw to RAW and JPEG again? Ah yes, menu, down, right, down. Arghh forgot to press set to confirm it. Start again. Of course that would on my Nikon. On my Canon, it will be the complete reverse. Is it just me???!!!???
Computer companies have spent huge amounts of time making sure the latest version of Windows or MacOS are easy to navigate. Camera companies seem to spend about 5 minutes trying to achieve the same and then give up.
Very few cameras have intuitive menu systems, but how hard can it be? I guess that in the future we will all be controlling our cameras by voice anyway.
Unless you are Scottish of course. Speech recognition will not “do” a Scottish accent.
BONUS: The Perfect Camera Bag
It doesn’t exist. I have written about this before but it seems mine and other people’s moans about camera bags still exist.
Of course perfect will mean different things to different people but there are some common themes. Straps that do not slide off your shoulder, bags that are waterproof – hint bag companies – photography is often an outdoor pursuit. No-one yet seems to have found the perfect way to attach a tripod to a camera bag.
Worst still the camera bag closest to perfect will inevitably be 2cm too big for hand baggage.
Photography is a wonderful hobby, but like all hobbies, there are some things that grind your gears. Honestly, if you do come across something that annoys you, the best thing is to make light of it and carry on shooting.
Let us know what triggers your flashguns in the comments below.