Non-Photographers Sometimes Struggle With Our Weird Ways


Good Photography Habits Which People Might Find Strange To Understand

We do have some questionable habits, I will admit that.

So we should explore these, unearth the “weirdness” and set things straight – there's perfect logic to what I consider to be good photography habits.

good photography habits
Image by Pok Rie

We are a much-maligned bunch we photographers. To use a well-used phrase, we suffer for our art.

We are sometimes ridiculed, sometimes abused, both verbally and even physically. We are looked down on by “real artists” and sneered at by the general population because we are labeled “paparazzi.”

Of course, you and I know that all this nonsense is far from the everyday reality so today we are going to try and digest exactly why people who are not photographers, don’t get it.

1. Photographers Are Early Risers

Let’s face it, if the alarm goes off at 4.30am, most people will roll over, switch it off and go back to sleep. As photographer’s however, we leap out of bed and run to the window to check the weather – even though it's still dark.

We throw some coffee down our necks (or at least something hot!) and are out of door before our slumberous partners can mutter, where are you going. We are either completely mad or enthusiastic photographers.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Having braved sub minus temperatures to get a magnificent seascape, we return home. On showing our stunning creation to our respective partners, they say “very nice dear, would you like a cup of tea”.

Hmmm…they just don’t get it.


We leap out of bed before the sunrises. By Jason Row Photography

2. We See Things – Things Others Don't

To the partner or friends of a photographer, nothing must be more bizarre than seeing that person swerving off route to photograph an old door handle. The fact is, we photographers can see the beauty in almost anything.

Creating a habit by fine-tuning your creative eye is something which is learned, and takes some time but can produce such amazing photos, your non-photographer buddies will think “that's not the same rusty old fence I was looking at…”

A rotting leaf in a puddle, reflections in a butchers shop anything and everything is game to the photographer. Non-photographers will look upon us either with mild amusement or genuine concern as we lie in a muddy ditch to get a particular low angle shot.

The fact that the end result will be a stunning photograph is beyond them. Crazy folks, those camera people!


We find beauty in odd things. By Jason Row Photography

Further Learning

You probably know that Lightstalking has some pretty awesome Lightroom presets you can buy. Depending on where you're at with your photography, it might be worth learning how Lightroom works from the ground up so you can create your very own gorgeous images!
That's where this Beautiful Photo Editing course guide can really help you out!

3. They All Have Bundles Of Camera Gear

One of the things non-photographers really don’t get is our gear.

After all, they all have pretty good cameras inside their Apple or Samsung smartphones. They take sharp, beautiful images and what’s more by sliding a few controls on-screen and fiddling with a few digital filters they can make them look a bit Jackson Pollock and he was a real artist.

Why on earth do we photographers need all those cameras, lenses and flashguns. Surely we are just showing off really, being pretentious because we can take a pretty picture or two or we have more money than sense.

Personally, I think it's a good habit to be prepared, would you agree?!

4. We Photograph People – Yes, Even Strangers

Why would you want to point your camera at someone you don’t know and take a picture? Strangers don't like it, or do they?

There can only be one ulterior motive, according to the non-photographer, and that is to make money out of some poor soul’s visage. That’s why some people get so defensive if you try to take their picture either surreptitiously or by asking them.

It’s difficult for the photographic subject to understand that you want to take them because you see a beauty in their eyes or a story in their face. They are just worried, quite without justification, that they are going to end up on the cover of Hello magazine (without recognition).

So my tip for developing a good habit from photographing strangers is to approach in an uber-friendly manner, be polite and just ask. Mention why you wish to take their photograph and they'll likely say yes, if they don't approve, move on. Simple. No one offended.


Photographing people – its a bit strange isn't it? By Jason Row Photography

5. We Photograph Buildings – They're Not Just Buildings

To a non-believer watching a photographer, set up a tripod, minutely adjust their camera to Nth degree then wait four hours for the light to become right, means we must be slightly odd.

After all, why would we be photographing a bland office block in the middle of a city center on a cold November evening? Because it's unique, it has unsung beauty written all over it, there's character and history, that's why.

The people who understand or appreciate this the least are security guards. They (usually) have little concept of the right to photograph from a public space, and as far as they are concerned, if the building can cast a shadow on it, it must belong to the building.

So sure, sometimes they will try to confiscate memory cards or ask you to delete your images to protect the security of the bland insurance building they are tasked to safeguard. In the league table of people who don’t get photography, they are the champions.


Tatty old buildings and an old Russian car. But why? By Jason Row Photography


So, there you have it. We photographers are often misunderstood, maligned or cited non-existent laws because people may struggle to understand us. But you know what, that's okay.

Of course, no everyone is like that, there are plenty of people that do “get it” and totally see why you're standing there uncomfortable armed with nothing but your camera and tripod!

For those that don’t, don’t worry about them, you know why you take photos and that’s the most important thing.

There's a load of things we can all learn from these habits or ways, and that is to be confident in what you're doing and exert professionalism, even if you feel a little silly. Why? Because you'll develop as a photographer and appear more like an expert!

Good Photography Habits And Strange Ways – Top Takeaways

  • Firstly, don't feel the need to continually explain yourself. Sometimes, you do. But not all the time.
  • Why not ask that person who is your “non-photographer skeptic” to come along, show them what you see, why you see it and how this would make an amazing photograph – in other words, the method in your madness.
  • Getting photos of strangers in public can really develop your portfolio! It shows spontaneity, confidence and creativity.

Further Resources

Further Learning

You probably know that Lightstalking has some pretty awesome Lightroom presets you can buy. Depending on where you're at with your photography, it might be worth learning how Lightroom works from the ground up so you can create your very own gorgeous images!
That's where this Beautiful Photo Editing course guide can really help you out!

About Author

Jason has more than 35 years of experience as a professional photographer, videographer and stock shooter. You can get to know him better here.

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