8 Comments that May Make A Photographer Crazy (Depending on Our Mood)


Abnormal, non-photographer types sometimes have a hard time understanding us. Photographers are sane, the rest of the world? Well you've probably gotten the picture already of where this article is headed. Consider these eight situations and comments we've probably heard at least once, if not many times. We see the world differently. We are motivated to get up early, stay up late and carry more gear than we need for that just in case moment. We see the world through a lens and want to translate and preserve a moment in time.

For a little tongue in cheek humor, here's a non-photographers mindset followed by ours.

Clear, Blue Skies – “It's a picture perfect day.”

Not another clear day! My day has just been shortened. Harsh shadows, unfiltered lighting will flatten the color. Additionally, the sky will be a boring blue with little character. Clouds or no clouds, we can gain additional photography time can with the use of filters:

Partly Cloudy to Cloudy Skies – “Glad the weather is bad today (Monday), makes it easy to go to work.”

There's not too many things I dislike worse than after a weekend of harsh light and no clouds, Monday comes along with a rosie red sunrise and a bevy of white puffs in the sky. As summer approaches, our days get longer. Take advantage of the earlier sunrises on a work day by knowing the exact time and location of where the sun will crest the horizon using The Photographer's Ephemeris

The Snooze Button – “A few minutes won't matter”

Someone help the person that causes a nature photographer to oversleep. We need to be at our location at least an hour before the sun rises if we know the area and over an hour if we don't. Having time to plan, survey the area and set up before the skies brilliant displays begin typically makes a difference in the quality and enjoyment of the shoot.

On cameras and lenses – “I want to do photography, what kind of camera would you recommend? Does it take good pictures?”

We love our gear and we love talking about it. We also appreciate talking and helping others who are sincerely interested in learning more about photography. There's also a group who like to initiate conversations with photographers even when they have no real intention of buying a camera. When folks initiate this type of conversation, a couple of good follow-up questions to get clarification are:

  • “What type of pictures do you want to take?”
  • “How much time do you have to invest in learning how to operate your camera?”

When the response is specific or has general ideas, the conversation becomes very productive and engaging. When they are unsure, I encourage them to consider what would motivate them to take the time to invest in the learning. I also reference photography sites such as Light Stalking to provide them with a helpful resource.

Weekly updates from Toad Hollow Photography are loaded with images, cool sites and resources. Check out his recent article of These Photography Tutorials and Shots Will Blow Your Socks Off

Camera Manufacturers – “Canon and Nikon, they are really struggling. Which one do you really think is better?”

One would think this no longer surfaces as a conversation topic. It still does. Seriously, they, along with other camera manufacturers are solid companies with great camera technology and lenses. They continue to invest in improvements and new products. There are features on one that may surpass the other and vice versa. If you're just getting started in acquiring camera equipment, research the lenses followed by the camera for the type of photography you want to do.

For aspiring and advanced photographers getting ready to make purchasing decisions:

Composing a Photograph on a Friends & Family Vacation – “Can you hurry, there's other things to see?”

Family vacations and focused photography don't mix that well. Photographers sometimes like to study their subject, take photographs from many angles and even peruse the area. The vacationing/sightseeing party probably isn't going to want to wait around for us to discover our next great photo. When traveling with others, setting expectations of having your designated photography time along with group vacation time is highly encouraged before the vacation starts – for your stress level and theirs.

The Intrusive Stranger…in the middle of your shoot – “I don't need all that gear, my smartphone takes great pictures.”

Photography in public settings, such as street photography, events, or even on the side of the road (photographing a barn as an example) is becoming increasingly common with the widespread use of smart phones and high quality point and shoots. Recently while shooting in San Antonio, I was approached on the River Walk by a nice guy who wanted to ask a few questions about my camera. Within a couple of minutes, he steered the conversation in a direction to convince me that he didn't need a camera because of the awesome camera in his smartphone. When I saw where the conversation was going, I politely and quickly extracted out of the conversation.

Camera Bags – “Honey, don't you already have 3 camera bags?”

I don't think it's intentional, but photographers end up with a camera bag collection over time. We find that perfect bag (we think), it works for a while and then the missing features become glaring. Additionally, as our gear changes over time, the type of bag or bags we need changes too. High quality camera bags are virtually indestructible. If you have too many, consider donating to organizations who are focusing on photography education to kids at risk or other groups that support those less fortunate seeking photography education. Your local camera retailer or camera club may have direct relationships already.

Check out a quick article on How to Choose the Bag that's Right For You.

Photographers are a different breed. We carry a lot of gear one day and go with one lens the next. We chase light, wait patiently for wildlife, freeze while waiting for the stars and work to bring out the ‘personality' in people photography. We love talking about f/stops, ISO, shutter speeds, lenses and photography experiences. There's a lot going in a photographers creative mind. The non-photographer world will just need to be patient with us!

About Author

Sheen Watkins is a conservationist, wildlife photographer, instructor, author and photography writer. You can follow her photography on Facebook, Instagram and her website.

I was in a show late last fall and LOTS of people asked me “do you digitally manipulate your photos?”. I tried to explain to them that, yes, I shoot in RAW and I have to process the photos in order for them not to appear flat and to pop out and be enjoyable. Well, more often than not once they heard I “processed” the photos (digitally, of course, because I use a digital camera) they inevitably walked away disinterested in purchasing anything. Argh!!!!

The way I explain shooting in raw to non photographers, is to tell them when I put it into the computer it is a digital negative, and that I have to process it to put all of the colours, vibrance and clarity back into the photo to develope it, but that I like to get the photo looking back to how I saw it as taking the image. It seems to make it a bit easier for them to understand. 🙂

W David – agree. When people start questioning post processing I ask them how they think a film negative would look on their wall. While it’s not exactly same thing, it does help convey the message! Have a great week!!

My main philosophy is ‘get it right in the camera’ [ I was ‘raised’ on film], but 99% of my pictures are touched by the Develop module in LR……the other 1% are deleted in the Library. That said I’m beginning to really dislike the ‘HDR look’ that seems to be gaining popularity, ‘pop’ is OK ‘explode’ is childish in anything that doesn’t fully intend to be abstractionistic [is that a word?]

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