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Annoyed by Jsome1 on Flickr Creative Commons

Enough of these have poked at me in the past couple of weeks that I thought I’d make an article out of ‘em. So…

Five Photography-Related Things That Annoy Me Enough To Write About Them

  1. Photography products – lenses, cameras, flashes, accessories – that tout in their advertising that THIS GIMMICK RIGHT HERE will fix everything that we don’t like about our photographs. When we buy the product and still manage to take bad pictures, we just end up feeling WORSE about our photography. Every piece of gear we use is just a tool; WE are the “secret” element that results in excellent photography.
  2. Bashing of any kind whatsoever. Back when I was just dipping my toes into the world of photo sharing, someone left a comment on one of my photos, which was something to the effect of “your technique sucks”. Hmph. I saw some negative commentary on a photo I viewed the other day – essentially the excuse they gave themselves for the tone of their “feedback” was that the person posted the photo on a public site, so that automatically allows them to judge in any manner they see fit. Fortunately the jerks are fewer and further between than they used to be – if you can’t be polite and constructive in your critique, best not to offer any comment at all!
  3. Arrogance. I can understand a photographer with supreme confidence in their own abilities, but when it crosses the line into arrogance and condescension, it makes me want to stop working with them, stop following them, stop reading their blogs, and stop associating with them. There is no “right way” and “wrong way” to do things – there’s just what works for you and what provides the results you’re looking for. Fortunately I’ve only come across a couple of photographers that REALLY made me roll my eyes – most are very happy to lend their expertise, and understand that we never stop learning.
  4. Photographers using mega-huge telephoto lenses in a crowd, who forget there are OTHER PEOPLE AROUND THEM. I got smacked in the head by a guy panning some shots a couple of weekends ago, and he didn’t even apologize! In fact, he seemed annoyed that I “ruined his shot.” So, friends, if you use long lenses in a crowd, try to be aware of the people around you! Which brings me to Part B of this point – if you’re shooting an event, and lots of other people are shooting the same event, and you happen to have a really prime vantage point, do what you need to do and then move along so others can take some great shots from that position. If you stand there for the entire race/game/event, a) all of your shots will be from the same perspective and will get boring in a hurry; b) you’ll be judged as selfish and mean by the photographers around you and they’ll throw spit-wads in your hair; c) you’ll miss other potentially great shots. So, hearken back to your Sesame Street lessons and remember to share.
  5. Friends and relatives who expect you to provide your photographic services for free, and at the drop of a hat. More often than not when I’m attending an event I’ll bring my camera along (of course!). They’ll know that and say, “Well, you’re coming to my wedding (or what have you) and you’ll probably take pictures anyway, so can you make sure to get this shot… and this shot… and this shot…” Or, my current favorite, “My kid left his senior pictures for the last possible second, can you just run over to our house and take a few for us?” I mean, yes, I’m all for helping folks out of a jam, and yes I do tend to have my camera with me wherever I go, but this is my business and I try to encourage my friends and family to remember that. It’s chancy enough working professionally for folks you’re close to – if something goes awry you’ll never get away from it, and never hear the end of it.

As enthusiastic as we all are about photography, we’re all bound to come across things that bug the heck out of us. So share with us, what are YOUR annoyances? Comment away, or head on over to our Facebook page!

Photo credit: “Annoyed” by Jsome1 on Flickr Creative Commons.

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  • Pat. Mitchell

    I can certainly relate to the ‘family/friends’ stuff. What really gets under my skin is that so often, your work is not taken seriously – worse, is identified as a ‘hobby’. Never mind how much study, training or whatever has been put into your career!

  • Craig Mullenbach

    “Your camera takes great pictures.”  That’s my biggest annoyance.  I once responded to a carpenter who said that to me:  “Your hammer makes great cabinets.”  After that, he understood why I would be annoyed by his comment.