Photography is the most wonderful hobby imaginable with so much scope for creativity and problem solving, not to mention travel and gear lust. But it isn't entirely without its challenges. In fact, there are a few things that get downright annoying at times. We put together a tongue-in-cheek list that we think most photographers will relate to. Add your own in the comments or check out our another article on photography addiction!
1. Your Camera Gear Will be Worth More Than Your Car
When you start getting serious about photography, your priorities change. Things like comfortable living space and transportation become secondary concerns. This is especially acute in the early years when you don't have a partner or kids, but it will persist to a degree for the entire stay of your photography addiction. For some, it will be a lifetime.
As long as the car has room for all of the photography gear that you might want to take with you, and that it can actually get you to your destination, then it is good enough – you'll want to spend the money you saved on your cheap car upgrading your camera, getting extra filters and maybe a lens or four.
2. Your Family and Friends Will Want You to Work for Free
You're going to be “the guy or girl with the camera” – get used to it. That means you will be expected to shooting weddings, family gatherings, birthdays, baptism, bat mitzvahs, Christmas, Easter, Passover, Ramadan, school plays, graduations and occasionally just because it's Tuesday.
For free. Forever. Get used to it.
3. You Will Judge All Activities by the Quality of Light Available
When you start becoming obsessed with getting great shots, you will start to look at every situation as if it were a photographic opportunity. Lunch, the office, driving – everything becomes a thought exercise in “how would I shoot that?” When you start muttering about kelvins or Golden Hour, your friends will become worried, but it's part of the journey.
Just be ready for the blank stares from your loved ones.
4. You Will Only Enjoy Travelling With Other Photographers
And your friends and family will hate travelling with you. You're in a tropical paradise. The kind of exotic destination with sand, calm waters and warm climes that you and your partner have been dreaming of getting away to for years. A relaxing first evening, the best seafood meal you have ever eaten and a couple of glasses of wine and you turn in.
Next thing you know ALARM. It's 4AM and it's time to get up and get ready to catch the amazing lighting before and during sunrise! You only get here once in a lifetime so you have to catch the light!
For some reason, your significant other will not appreciate your enthusiasm for getting the shot of a lifetime. For some unknown reason they would have preferred to sleep in and catch a leisurely breakfast at the resort's complementary buffet. Nope! It's time to get in position for blue hour! Everyone should know that!
Trust us when we tell you that only other photographers will understand you.
5. People Will Assume Your Shots Are Good Because You Have Good Gear
We have talked about this one before, but the sad fact is that you will often hear it from people who see your photography – “Wow, that's a great photograph. You must have a great camera.”
Yes, it's irritating and no, they don't realise the years you have put into perfecting your craft, but get used to it because it's a common line.
6. You Get Good at Pretending a Heavy Bag is Light
This is almost a mandatory skill necessitated by the restrictions placed on you when you fly. You see, your photography grab bag will probably approach the 20kg mark (44lbs) which is well above the “carry-on” luggage restrictions of most airlines. However, you'll also be carrying $10,000 to $30,000 worth of relatively delicate gear which you won't trust to the aggressive tendencies of the average airline baggage handler.
The only option is to take your prized possession with you into the cabin of the plane.
Enter “Flight-Attendant-zilla” – a mild mannered, petite and friendly airline worker who suddenly turns into Genghis Khan when you attempt to get on the plane with a heavy piece of hand luggage.
The only way to fight this injustice is to sling your pack onto your back and stroll down the walkway to the plane like you're carrying something that weighs enough to contain only a magazine and iPhone to entertain you on the flight.
Of course, that means pulled back muscles, possibly some cartilage damage and serious damage to your posture in the longer term, but whatever it takes to protect your gear-baby. Right?
7. You'll Never Enjoy Snapshots Quite the Same Way
Remember when you were young and you would get a great belly laugh out of seeing snaps of yourself and /or friends having a great time? Remember the smile that would come across your face when one of your buddies got you in a photo and have you “bunny ears” with their fingers? Remember being so happy with looking at the squeals of joy your kids were letting out as you got that snap of them on the water slide?
These are the real gems of family photography. And when you get into photography, they aren't quite the same!
Blown out highlights, strange compositions, over-saturated colours, clipping in the shadows! Ghastly photography sins that you will notice every single time!
Don't get me wrong, you will still love the shots, but you will always notice those little things that non-photographers don't care about. And then you'll be annoyed at yourself for noticing.
8. You Start Judging TV
I am not talking about thinking the latest Kardashian horror story is terrible, I am talking about looking at each still shot and judging it for its quality of composition and light. It actually ends up distracting you from whatever you were watching in the first place.
The upside of this is that it draws you towards watching and appreciating high quality production shows like BBC wildlife documentaries and steers you away from the latest episode of Big Brother. You won't enjoy any of them the same way again, but at least it's a small upside!
9. You Will Occasionally Get Chased by People
In the age of the internet, the sad fact of life is that photographers are often mistaken for criminals, terrorists and pedophiles. Witness any number of Youtube videos of unsavoury incidents or the rise of sites like Photography is Not a Crime.
You will start to get a thick skin when people accuse you of these things. To be fair, it doesn't happen too often, but it happens often enough to be very annoying.
10. If You Put Your Photographs Online, They Will Almost Certainly Get “Borrowed”
The internet is a largely visual medium and that means that a lot of people, due to the ease of sharing, will “borrow” your photos to share with their friends, put on a social media account etc etc.
Now, while it does happen that sometimes companies do this too, it's mostly a case of individual people not realising that there is anything wrong with sharing your shots (as opposed to actually stealing them for a commercial outcome). Whatever your feelings on it, it is simply a reality of the internet age.
What We Recommend to Improve Your Photography Fast
It's possible to get some pretty large improvements in your photography skills very fast be learning some fundamentals. Consider this the 80:20 rule of photography where 80% of the improvements will come from 20% of the learnable skills. Those fundamentals include camera craft, composition, understanding light and mastering post-production. Here are the premium guides we recommend.