Top ten annoying things to say to wildlife photographer

Posted on 06. Mar, 2009 by in Everything, Top Ten Lists

The other day I started to think about things people have innocently said to me about my photography that have annoyed me. Now, I know that most of the comments were meant without any malice and were well intentioned.  I get that.  But, that doesn’t stop them from bothering the heck out of me.  I’ve taken the liberty of compiling the top offending comments into a top ten list, presented in the traditional descending order for your reading pleasure.  I also decided to annotate each of the comments with my own thoughts which would not normally remain safely ensconced in my brain.

10. Will you photograph my wedding?

  • Okay, I know that I should take this as a compliment.  But unless the bride and groom are going to wallow through a swamp on all fours, count me out.  Brides and their mothers scare me more than coming face-to-face with a mother bear and her cubs while hiking.

    Female Black Bear and her cubs walking on a trail
Canon 1Ds Mark II

    Female Black Bear and her cubs walking on a trail

9. Why can’t I get pictures like that with my cell phone?

  • Hmmmmmm.  Tough one.  Could it be that the miniscule image sensor and cheap piece of plastic they call a lens can’t quite compete with quality glass and the resolving power of the sensors in modern digital SLR cameras?
8. Digital is okay I guess, but it’s too bad it doesn’t have the quality of film

  • Hello?  1995 called and they want their camera back.  Seriously, the quality of digital cameras surpassed film several years ago.  Seriously.

    Northern Pintail flying over a golden pond

    Northern Pintail flying over a golden pond

7. That picture would be amazing as a painting.

  • Why in the blue hell is photography held in such poor regard when compared to sketching, painting or sculpting?  I get that these days everybody has a camera of some sort and there are literally millions of images captured each day.  But, I’ll put a great image up against a great painting or sculpture any day in terms of “artistic” merit.

    Black-capped chickadee perched on the branch of a pine tree - Converted to simulated oil painting

    Black-capped chickadee perched on the branch of a pine tree - Converted to simulated oil painting to garner some artistic merit

6. That image looks like it could stand a bit more sharpening.

  • Probably the most common bit of “advice” you find on Internet forums when folks post their images.  This age of pixel peeping has lead to an increasing number of people wayyyyyy over sharpening their images.  In my humble opinion.
5. Did you Photoshop® that?

  • Yeah I did.  So what?  Do you realize that folks used to “darkroom” their images, remove flaws, lighten areas, darken areas and even completely alter the image?  Manipulation of photographs goes back to the advent of photography.  A famous example from 1920 is when Stalin had Trotsky removed from an image.
    Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov, before retouching.

    Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov, before retouching.

    Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov, after retouching.

    Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov, after retouching.

4. You were so lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

  • In the same sense that I was lucky to be up an hour before sunrise for a week to arrive at the location in time only to be disappointed 6 out of the 7 days, I guess I was lucky.

    Long tailed weasel looking for baby gophers

    Long tailed weasel looking for baby gophers

3. How many megapixels is your camera?

  • 200 bazillion.  I know that the marketing folks at the various camera manufacturers have worked their butts off to convince folks that megapixels matter.  But, I’m here to tell you that you may be able to get away with bigger crops on a high megapixel camera, my “old” four, six and eight megapixel cameras still make great pictures
2. That’s a really great snapshot.

  • Maybe it’s just me, but I find the term snapshot pejorative in the extreme.  Call it a great picture, image or even capture, but not a snapshot.  Please and thanks.

    Sectored Plate

    Sectored Plate

1. Wow, you must have a really nice camera!

  • Yeah, and that painter must have had a really great easel.  Seriously, a nice camera?  Are you referring to my new K-Tel Autocapture 3000that not only takes care of all of those confusing exposure calculations, won’t let me make an image that isn’t optimally composed and automatically chooses the perfect instant to make a photograph?  Sure, quality tools will help produce a quality photograph.  But until the Autocapture 3000 actually ships, it is still the photographer who makes decisions on exposure, subject, setting, timing, and composition.

    Yellow-headed Blackbird singing from on top of a bullrush

    Yellow-headed Blackbird singing from on top of a bullrush

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you heard some innocent comment or question about your photography that just bugged the heck out of you, I’d love to hear them.

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180 Responses to “Top ten annoying things to say to wildlife photographer”

  1. Jonathan

    06. Mar, 2009

    Purty good Paul.

  2. Patty Hankins

    06. Mar, 2009

    Great post – it’s not only the wildlife photographers people say these things to.

    My favorite is still “Did you take all these photos?” When I answer Yes – the next question is often “Have you been to all these places?”

    Someday my answer is going to be no – but I’ve got this great UPS guy . . .

    • Paul Burwell

      06. Mar, 2009

      Patty, those are very good. I may have to include them if I ever put together a Top Twenty list!

  3. Jens Peermann

    06. Mar, 2009

    How far can you see with that lens? (A: All the way to the moon)

    That question is so common, I am surprised it is not listed here.

    I also get the “why can’t my cell phone take pictures like that?’ question a lot. My standard answer is, “for the same reason my Canon makes lousy phone calls”.

    • Paul Burwell

      06. Mar, 2009


      I’ve had that one myself.

      Another one that brings to mind is: “What’s the zoom on that lens?”

  4. Maria

    06. Mar, 2009

    Excellent post. I’m not a professional or anything close, but I can make a pretty good photograph now and then. I hear many of the same comments when I dare to show off a few. Makes me want to keep them hidden away for my secret viewing pleasure. Some people have no clue.

    The “nice camera” comment kills me every time I hear it. People are blind and dumb. I even get complements on shots I’ve taken with the miserable built-in camera on my Treo. The only thing that’s good for is documenting the damage after a fender-bender.

    Anyway, great post. Made me laugh, anyway.

  5. Shannon

    06. Mar, 2009

    Great post! I’m a wedding photographer and I get the megapixel and Photoshop questions while I’m in the middle of SHOOTING the event!

  6. William McEwen

    06. Mar, 2009

    Excellent post!

    One comment that has come my way several times over the years:

    “Too bad they’re not in color!!”

    As if black and white was an accident or an impoverished neccessity…

  7. Denise

    06. Mar, 2009

    Excellent post – I am always amazed by the “you must have a good camera” comment.

    Another one is “you must have a good lens to get so close” – oh, so being patient, taking time, fieldcraft skills and tracking counts for nothing?

    But its “how do you manage to get those birds/animals to stay so still?” that really makes me laugh

  8. Coyote

    06. Mar, 2009

    How about: “How much did your camera cost?”

    And, like Patty H., I’m often asked: “Did you take these pictures?” Makes me want to answer, “Nah, I pirated them. To hell with copyright law.”

  9. Mike Noble

    06. Mar, 2009

    Great post. People are interesting aren’t they? My favorite comment is as follows:

    I have had people say, when viewing my work, “That camera takes real good pictures!”


    • Phil

      20. Mar, 2009

      “I have had people say, when viewing my work, “That camera takes real good pictures!””

      I’ll be the first to admit that my camera takes _really_ nice pictures (I recently upgraded to a 1D Mk III), but I also take offence to that… I’m not sure whether it’s more the pointing out the obvious (if it didnt take great shots, i wouldn’t have bought the thing) or because no matter how good the camera is, you still need someone who knows what they’re doing swinging it…

      I did have an editor the other day tell me he’d noticed the change when I bought the camera, and then proceed to tell me it was about a month after I actually bought it…. When I’d change my post processing procedure instead 🙂

  10. Ethan Meleg

    06. Mar, 2009

    Great post, Paul…. it resonates with so well with any photographer who spends time out in the field!

    When I’m out with a big lens, I’m often asked what I’m looking at/for. No matter where I am (ie. desert, garbage dump, etc) I almost always respond with either:
    1) I’m looking for the nude beach.
    2) There’s been a Tom Cruise sighting.

    • Paul Burwell

      07. Mar, 2009


      Good to hear from you. I hope your cross-continent adventure is going well. You can check out Ethan’s blog here.

  11. Steve Fogarty

    07. Mar, 2009

    Looks like you just keep getting lucky, Paul (-;

    I seem to get luckiest on the days I’m up earliest and most prepared. Weird.

    Great post! Thanks for saying it!

    • Paul Burwell

      07. Mar, 2009


      That’s an excellent point. Luck and preparation seem linked hand in hand.

  12. Mark

    07. Mar, 2009

    I love #10 Paul, because it rings so true. Weddings are very scary places!!! LOL!

  13. Steve Creek

    07. Mar, 2009

    Great and funny post. I get the comment about “I must have a great camera” everyday.

  14. coldwaterjohn

    08. Mar, 2009

    Great post!
    ” Did you really take that?” is the one which winds me up the most, and the assumption that a 1930s Leica IIIa straps itself onto a tripod and composes an image all by itself to account for a good shot, when all it does add is the sharpness a good lens provides – if you focus properly, and a whole lot more hassle and preparation compared to my Canon 50D!

  15. Christine Pope

    08. Mar, 2009

    AMEN! Your words are turly witty. It was a very humerous read. I especially like the one about the snapshots. Alot of people really just don’t understand the difference between snapshots and photography. Kudos on your fabulous work!

  16. Gary

    08. Mar, 2009

    #1 how far can you see with that ? …….. Well I can see the sun and that’s a long ways off !

    # 2 What do you see ? Photographing flying geese and I actually had a car slam on the brakes and about six people & kids get out and ask to see, I just lowered the tripod and focused on the distance and let em see… they were so happy ? a few months later in the Tetons photographing elk a guy ask to look thru and I thought what the heck and let him, he turns to the crowd and says hey this guy will let you see thru his lens and here they came !!

  17. ilicco

    08. Mar, 2009

    seriously, i want a K-Tel Autocapture 3000 😉

  18. Sandy

    08. Mar, 2009

    Last time my husband and I were at Brazos Bend, A couple came up to me ( the wife) and started out asking legit questions, Then the hubby turned to his wife as they were walking away and I overheard,, ” I could get that same photo with my cell phone if I could get close enough”.. Uh huh!! Try it.

    Great post.. We can relate.

  19. Neil

    08. Mar, 2009

    Ha great stuff – a good few laugh out loud moments.

    No. 11 would have to be “what you photographing?” after they’ve walked up to you and scared off the animal you spent an hour stalking….

  20. Blunder

    09. Mar, 2009

    I am strictly a hobby photographer and after seeing some of my recent pictures I shot at my Daughters birthday party, which she was well impressed with, a friend of my partners asked if I would shoot her Sisters wedding and asked how much I would charge. After much deliberating I gave her the price of £165 GBP aound $250 for a full days shoot and all her photos on a disc. With help afterwards to publish a photobook. Just to get a little experience and a little back on my £2500 investment in equipment would have been nice.

    Keeping in mind that I haven’t shot a wedding before and would have liked the experience I quoted this bargain price knowing that her cheapest quote before this was £400 for a two hour shoot. She commented that “you can’t charge that much, you are not a professional” and “the only reason that you can take good pictures is because you have a good camera.”

    I smiled politely and bit my tongue. I guess she expected me to take a day off work and do it for free.

    I hope it rains…lol

    • Shaun Ot

      10. Mar, 2009

      Heh, I had the same thing, I did the team pictures for my daughters hockey team last year and the parents loved them.

      I had the manager from another team ask me what I would charge for doing their team, I offered to come out for $100 and do the whole thing. They said no as one of the parents sister had a “good camera” and her husband was going to take pictures.

      I said “good luck with that”.

  21. Jon McGovern

    09. Mar, 2009

    (While I’m taking a photo of an exotic-looking bee draining pollen from a yellow and blue flower) “What can you see that I can’t?” (Thus follows an expression of jubilant mirth from the jolly passer by.)

    I smile politely.

  22. Ray

    15. Mar, 2009

    And Chesley Sullenberger had a really nice airplane.

  23. Don

    19. Mar, 2009

    Boy you must have a lot of patience. Thus said as I’ve been hunched over my tripod for an hour waiting for a badger to bring out her young.

    My reply: No I forgot to take my artheritis medicine this morning and I can’t stand up!

  24. Kevin Dowie

    19. Mar, 2009

    “unless the bride and groom are going to wallow through a swamp on all fours, count me out.” love this line, had me laughing.
    The “you must have a good camera” line is a perennial. Then on showing someone a high quality print there’s “Wow, I’m going to have to get you to print my photos” yeah right!

  25. Shelley

    26. Mar, 2009

    My favorite isn’t spoken at all. It happens every time you’re just standing, looking at a scene, taking a breather, whatever, and all of a sudden you attract a crowd of folks, all wondering what you’re looking at, or taking pictures of.

    Sometimes I point my camera at nothing more than a rock, just to see how big a crowd I’ll gather, and how long they’ll stay. I’m evil that way.

  26. Joseph

    26. Mar, 2009

    My all-time favorite complement… “that would make a great postcard”!

    *sigh*… really? Is that the ultimate goal in photography, to be seen on a postcard?

    Now, “that could be the cover of National Geographic”… *that’s* a compliment!

  27. GQ

    26. Mar, 2009

    I always get “Which camera is better? a Nikon or a Canon?” or the related “What camera should I buy?”

    Although it is fun to come up with witty and sarcastic answers, personally, I try to give them a concise, honest, and serious answers that will help them and hopefully next time they won’t be bothering you 🙂

  28. Pat Anderson

    27. Mar, 2009

    “Your pictures have inspired me to get my camera out”
    I don’t even know where to begin with this one, other than it usually starts with them not buying one of my images at a show…

  29. Pat Anderson

    27. Mar, 2009

    “Wow, I never see any birds when I go for a walk through the woods.”
    Because you’re going through at high speed and volume like a love-anxious moose?

    • Jo-Anne

      14. Apr, 2009

      I almost fell off my chair from laughing so hard at this one!

    • Jo-Anne

      15. Apr, 2009

      Pat … never fails while I’m out birding and trying to enjoy some peace and quiet, some people come tromping through the woods and ask why they haven’t seen any deer. Meanwhile, it’s for the exact reasons you’ve listed in your posting! They’re also speaking very loudly, asking each other constantly where the animals are. D’oh!

  30. Tom Sparks

    27. Mar, 2009

    Thank you for being so articulate. I don’t do much wildlife. I love to look at it, but don’t have the knowledge, skill, gear, or patience. But you post is dead on for the rest of us.

  31. Nic Hamilton

    27. Mar, 2009

    All wonderful. Thank you.

    And the photos leave me in awe. Excellent.

  32. Dan Watson

    27. Mar, 2009

    Here’s one: “Can you show me how to take a picture like that?” As they hold out their neon pink ultra compact.

  33. Carrie

    31. Mar, 2009

    aww this is too good! my personal favourites includeat number 3… the drunken eejit at a gig with a camera phone – “why are your photos better than mine?” uhh cos I’ve spent ten years practising, you’re using something designed to talk on rather than take photos and youre so drunk you can’t even focus your eyes!
    number 2 – girl the other day who said “aww thats nice you settled for a nice wee job like that” I couldn’t even think of a reply i was so gobsmacked!

    and in pole position – the meat factory manager who wanted a pr shot asking “why do i have to get my shoes dirty in the field when you could just take a snap of me at my desk then photoshop me in – i mean do you not know how to do that!!!!”
    grrr 🙂

  34. Maria Berg

    06. Apr, 2009

    I know that Nature photographers are really working hard to get the snapshot (I am joking, hihi ) I meant photo, but It also have to do with some luck.
    You never know if they will go your way or if the sun will be at that spot at the time the birds fly by.

    I hate when people say. Nice photo, and nothing more.
    And if the same person say nice many time and do not give more to it, WHY it is nice or why they what to look at it.

    I also think that it is a shame that a photo is not as good as a painting (like you said).

    It would be fun to lend your camera (or mine) to people that say that they will take as good picture as you (me) if they only had a camera like us.
    I lend me camera to my daughter and had a good laugh – but she will learn in time.

    /Maria Berg

  35. These are all great!

    I can relate to 90% of them.

    Funny stuff man…

  36. Philippe

    06. Apr, 2009

    Funny stuff!

    The most common question I usualy get is: how far can you see with that lens?

    That’s probably the most frequesnt one.

    Some of you made me laugh with your sarcatic answers.

  37. Simon Bradley

    08. Apr, 2009

    I don’t generally do wildlife except for my own interest (because I’m not very good at it) but I do shoot a lot of motorsport.

    I usually get the “How much is that?” while pointing at the lens, often preceded by “Gosh, that’s a big one…snigger”

    Comments about how unfair it is that the photgraphers get the best view and how anyone could do the job come around as well – I always try not to block a paying customer’s view because that’s just manners but some of my peers aren’t so considerate.

    “How far can you see with it/how many megapixels/what’s the best camera?” just irritate me because they’re purile.

    But the one that really gets me is your number 10. And I usually have a similar response – If you can make your wedding go past me at 150mph then I’ll get some great pictures of it for you…

    Loved the comments anyway. And the rest of the site 🙂

  38. Rajiv

    08. Apr, 2009

    Hilarious post!

    I’m a novice in the world photography. Nevertheless, in the few weeks that I have been photographing, I have had some funny incidents.

    I was trying to take a picture of a butterfly one morning after stalking it for 15 mins. I’m down on my knees trying to stay as quiet as possible, and the butterfuly had settled on a nice flower. A guy walks up right next to me, with a cellphone in his pocket playing FM Radio on full volume! And he is looking at me with a wry smile! It couldn’t get more irritating. The noise scared the butterfly away, and I walked off giving him a cold stare!

  39. Dr. Prakash Babu

    08. Apr, 2009

    The most annoying experience I have had a couple of times is,After tracking the pugmarks of a tiger for an hour with a guide,missing lot of photo-opportunities in the way,and finally when we reach the spot,I see a group of guys without any camera,with glee on their faces,informing us that they had a half hour sighting of the king,sitting plump in front of them.It just left,

  40. S Das

    08. Apr, 2009

    I swear I am having a Blast of Laughter as I am reading on :)) … I have faced most of these questions and one more lethal question which I can add here is – “Your Photoshop skills are Brilliant” .. As if I can just shoot with my eyes closed and mind shut and later produce my images in Photoshop ! ! !

  41. Gautham

    08. Apr, 2009

    Hilarious!! Out here in India, when I was hiding inside a blind to shoot a bird, came few folks peeping inside the blind & asked the question “what are you doing here” & “that must be really nice camera” & “will the bird come?”

    I said, “yeah, only when you go away!!”

  42. Werner Maurer

    08. Apr, 2009

    >Although it is fun to come up with witty and sarcastic >answers, personally, I try to give them a concise, honest, >and serious answers that will help them and hopefully next >time they won’t be bothering you

    Best answer of the lot, that. And about the only non-belligerent one.

  43. adnan

    09. Apr, 2009

    Good post Paul. You must have a very good computer 😉

    My favorite is when folks say “good one. as usual” to fantastic images posted by pros!
    ‘usual’ is a 5 letter word i say!

  44. Karthik

    09. Apr, 2009

    Paul …good one

    “You were so lucky to be in the right place at the right time” this is one of the common comments thrown for a great sighting & a difficult photograph, no one realizes the pain in reaching the right place @ the right time…

  45. Aniruddha Dhamorikar

    09. Apr, 2009

    I only use a point-and-shoot camera 😛 and yet people ask me whoa! u took that pic? Well, what do i say?

    Brilliant thinking putting these up in order 😉

  46. Angad

    09. Apr, 2009

    Made me laugh quite a bit!! 😀 nice stuff!!

  47. Horrgakx

    21. Apr, 2009

    When carrying a camera and someone asks “Out taking pictures..??”.

  48. Linwood Ferguson

    26. Apr, 2009

    Last weekend at a pond that is a mile or so hike, where I was shooting with tripod…

    “Did you carry that thing all the way out here”?

    My response of “no, it teleports here so I do not have to carry it” earned me a very dirty look from my wife.

  49. Jim Esten

    28. Apr, 2009

    “Oh, you just have to go to this wonderful such-and-such place and some pictures.” I’d like to say “No, actually I don’t, and do you mind very much if I remain in charge of what I shoot?”, but I keep my mouth shut.

    By far the most common remark I hear is “Did you get any good pictures?” At first it didn’t bother me, but I get tired of saying the same thing ad nauseum “I have no idea until I process them.”

    #1 reason people ask us to shoot their weddings: they don’t want to pay what it’s worth.

  50. ryan

    29. Apr, 2009

    1) “that camera is huge!” Its just a d300 with the grip

    2)” why do you need that other flash thingy?” because the pop-up flash is terrible unless youre a family of 4 on vacation

    3)” we should work together sometime” sure here’s my card ill use a d3 and you can put your coolpix on a tripod

  51. Stacey Huston

    01. May, 2009

    I would have to agree with your top 10.. have heard them all.. but the one I hear the most is..”If I had a lens like yours I would get good pictures too” (I shoot Sigma 50-500mm “without “IS..) and I also hear, ” No wonder you get such good shots, you live in Wyoming”… Hmmm…
    Great posts thanks for sharing

  52. Jeremy Hsu

    09. May, 2009

    “If i had a lens like yours, i could get shots like that…” that just ticks me off.

    • Yehezkel

      21. Jul, 2009

      Actually, the lout that says this really means, “If I has a lens like yours along with your talent, determination, and perseverance, I could get shots like that.”

      This statement is what mathematicians call ‘vacuously true’. That is, it is true because it is impossible to demonstrate that the statement is false. The loud just doesn’t have the talent, determination, … and never will

  53. Leo

    25. May, 2009

    I’m a photo journalist by profession and I enjoy nature photography as a hobby. As such, I try to keep a low profile around those I know are shooting more seriously in the wetlands and wild lands. (That is, I never bug other photographers, never call them “dude,” never get in their shots, never try to encroach on their established setup.)

    But, I don’t think it takes away from talent, skill, or hard work to suggest there there is also an element of serendipity in the perfect story or the perfect shot. Sure, I work my arss off on getting and producing my stories (as do all of you in your respective endeavors).

    At the same time, some of my most notable pieces were a result of being in the right place at the right time. Same is true of the best photos I’ve taken. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t up at 4am or working 16 hours a day when that “lucky” moment arrived. But I have associates working the same arduous schedule who didn’t just happen to be at the spot where I was, when the incident occurred.

    All of that is to say, I don’t mind admitting to a bit of luck in terms of right place, right time. But I agree it would be nice if those comments were tagged with the understanding that luck is often born of diligence and tenacity.

    • Paul Burwell

      25. May, 2009


      I think you make a fair point.

      I think the “luck” assumption I was referring to was about even being there to make the photograph.

      There is no doubt though that a certain amount of good fortune is necessary for unique happenstance images.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • Matt Lauder

        22. Jul, 2009

        I think luck is with all photographers just in different amounts. Like Paul said he was out 7 days and on day 6 he got that amazing shot.

        I look at luck as someone who heads out and shoots once a week or month and on that day or hour they get something amazing. For us pro’s getting that amazing shot after 7 days out in the field is called, “About bloody time”.

  54. Phil Hawkins

    17. Jul, 2009

    You forgot the best one: “Get any good pictures?” ARRRRRRRRRRGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  55. Phil

    17. Jul, 2009

    Another comment I hear that goes along with #5 is,”Now with digital photography you don’t know if a picture is real or not.” Come on! Little girls had respectable people believing in fairies back in the early 1900’s

  56. JanE

    17. Jul, 2009

    I think it is very good that you don’t take portraits. I don’t get the feeling that you like people very much.

    • Arn

      20. Jul, 2009

      “I don’t get the feeling that you like people very much”
      Right…. What an interesting deduction from that list of 10. You must real people person yourself, if that’s all that the list leaves you feeling. Myself, I can certainly relate to that list, if not to every part, then at least to most. And I just *love* people.

      Thanks to Paul for the list, had fun reading through, including the comments.

  57. jake

    18. Jul, 2009

    digital has not surpassed the quality of film.

    only the highest end dslr’s beat the resolution of 35mm, and are somewhat equal to that of medium format. digital still doesnt have the exposure latitude of film.

    and no digital camera, atleast not that any individual can afford beats the quality of 4×5, let alone 8×10

    • Paul Burwell

      18. Jul, 2009


      I think from the perspective of a wildlife photographer that 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 aren’t practical formats and so for all practical purposes, digital surpassed film a couple of years ago.

    • Crystilia

      23. Jul, 2009

      I’m not an expert on the differences between digital and film, on all the little details, but I will say that I much prefer digital.

      I have never used a high-end film camera, but I dislike certain things about them. (Correct me if any of these are wrong, I’m just assuming some of them) You have to continue to buy film, you have to buy a certain film for a certain type of shot or setting (size, speed, ISO, etc), and quality once captured is hard to improve.

      Digital, while easier to “fake”, is much more convenient and flexible. Everything you need is built right in, lens changes aside. And I see nothing wrong with Photoshoping an image. Quality can be improved, or the whole image could be altered to provide a new and exciting twist. I doubt photographers who make a living off their photos would “fake” a picture. Not to say none do, but I doubt it’s the norm.

      From the stand point of wildlife photography, it seems like a problem to carry around several types of film out to shoots, much easier to have the camera ready for any light, any moment.

      The world is becoming more digital everyday. I stand by the claim that digital surpassed film several years ago, and as time goes by it will continue to increase the divide.

    • Maico

      25. Jul, 2009

      I shoot with a BetterLight Super 8K Scanning Back on a 4×5 camera and I assure you that the quality is equal to or better than film.

  58. Dani K.

    18. Jul, 2009

    I’m a portrait photog. I get: “Hey, watch out, your lens cap is on!” warnings from people as I pick up my camera to shoot. I know it’s meant to be nice, but it gets old. I gave up trying to explain SLRs long ago.

  59. Misty John

    18. Jul, 2009

    AMEN AMEN AMEN!!! I have been pretty much been asked all of these. I do a lot of wild life photography and the one question that irks me the most is ……….. “How do you get the animals to pose for you?” … Since my partner doesn’t allow me to hand out the stupid signs … I just reply “I took classes from Dr Dolittle.”.

  60. Sally

    18. Jul, 2009

    Most annoying comment is definately “What are you doing?”…. Ummmm, lying in a field at 5am with a whacking great camera & lens? Sunbathing?? This is usually early-rising dog walkers who are unfortunate enough to appear in the middle of a shot having scared off any chance of any wildlife putting in an appearance by their somewhat noisy approach, who then spot me and feel the need to wander over with said dog to ask what I’m doing and for the dog to lick, slobber, bite or pee on me.

    • Thomas

      21. Jul, 2009

      Sally, I just had a great laugh about your story, especially the part with the dog. Thanks!

    • hallie

      22. Jul, 2009

      Hahaha @ Sally… that is definitely the one I get the most. “What are you doing out here?” Well, let’s think really hard about that one… Hopefully I can get away before the firing of any synapses takes place and they form a thought.

      My other “favorite”? Cat calls/whistles/other derogatory remarks towards women photographers.

      Great article, I got a lot of laughs. 🙂

  61. Jim

    19. Jul, 2009

    You hit this one directly on the head. As I go back and count, I heard at least 8 of the 10 at the last 2 day art show I did. #4 (and the numerous variations thereof) probably still ticks me off the most. #7 used to upset me, but my standard response now is, “I bet it would, and if you buy it and license the rights to try, I’d be willing to talk price.” Haven’t sold one yet like that, but haven’t sold one to anyone who made the painting reference either…

  62. Xander Byson

    19. Jul, 2009

    the only thing that bothered me was the film and digital comment. It’s really a relative thing. Sure, digital may have surpassed film…if you want to spend a buttload of money on a camera. And I suppose this post does exclusively talk about wildlife photographers. But for practical purposes. No, digital is not better. I had a friend actually do a study on this, using both digital and film cameras.
    To see the result of this visit

    If the comparisons do not come up right away go to Editorials.

    The first thing you might notice is that they take wedding pictures, which I imagine you would dislike considering your post but it is how these brothers make money.


    • Asia Kashian

      23. Jul, 2009

      Actually, I don´t believe Paul dislikes wedding pictures, more like he dislikes people asking him (a WILDLIFE photographer) to take pictures of a wedding because it´ll be cheaper than hiring a professional.

    • Cookie

      24. Jul, 2009

      Each photographer uses what camera he finds is the best for his particular range of photography. I used to shoot film but I’ve stopped because it requires too much time and money. I prefer working with Photoshop than working in my darkroom and I feel my D-SLR gives me way more versatility than my old analog ever did.

      To constantly gripe about “film is better” is just childish and really ties in with #1 there – it’s the camera. I’m often told that “real photographers don’t shoot digital”. Different cameras will give different results, regardless if they’re film or digitals. Two different digitals would have rendered diff results in those test series too!

      Personally I rather work with my images myself than pay good money to ship them off to someone else for processing. And that guy really needs to learn how to spell btw

  63. DelBoy

    20. Jul, 2009

    “Get any good shots” is one of my faves. Like asking a fisherman if he caught anything!

    “The more you practise, the luckier you get!”

  64. Marty Andreasen

    21. Jul, 2009

    I enjoyed your top ten, very funny.

    Continue to be patient with everyone please. People enjoy talking to someone who is good at what they do. Everyone enjoys looking at beautiful or impactful images. They don’t always know what to say or what would be an inteligent question to ask. I am confident that each photographer has asked a dorky question or made a dorky comment to someone with a different specialty.

    Keep up the great work, the pintail was my favorite of the ones in the list. For all of us take it with a grain of salt, have a giggle and don’t take yourself too seriously.


  65. DAVE ID

    21. Jul, 2009

    But you left out my personal favorite, though I’m not any type of photographer other than amateur:

    “So can I see the naked chicks?”

  66. Doug

    21. Jul, 2009

    Good stuff – I hear the “how many megapixels….” all too often. My stock reply is “I don’t know, I haven’t finished counting them yet, have you counted yours?” and then enjoy the reaction…..


  67. john

    21. Jul, 2009

    i had a kid in my glass ask me why my photography got a better grade then his… all of his were just outside in the parking lot of his friends being gangster, mine took me 2 weeks to get them all, and i had to run all over town to find interesting subjects.

  68. potsos

    21. Jul, 2009

    Novices and non-photographers don’t understand professional photography and ask questions out of ignorance. What a surprising development!

    Here’s my a few tips for YOU:

    – Grow some thicker skin.
    – Lighten up.
    – Stop taking yourself so seriously.

    Your photography is nothing special in the first place, so it’s surprising you’d be such an ass about it.

    • Paul Burwell

      22. Jul, 2009

      I think you’re missing the central point of a group of like-minded individuals who are hashing over some _minor_ annoyances.

      I think if you check out some of my other posts, you’ll see that taking myself seriously is pretty near the bottom of my list of things to do.

      Have a great day.

  69. Craig

    22. Jul, 2009

    I enjoyed your writing and your photos – thank you.

    It’s remarkable that as many people are taking it negatively – seems a bit much to go from disagreeing with someone to calling them an ass ;0

    Ah well – I’ve heard some of these – even my lovely and talented girlfriend has busted out the ‘it’s because you have a nice camera’ thing on occasion 🙂

    I’m so far from pro it’s not even funny, and besides being a pro is too much hard work. The luck thing? It’s true, but everyone had that same chance to catch that great moment. Usually, there’s just one person who did.

    Anyway, all the best.

  70. Martin Graetz

    22. Jul, 2009

    Yes, really points that matter.. 😀

    to 1) The comparison with a cook takes so much more effect usually.. To ask people weither it is the pots and pans of a cook that create the meal or the cook himself..

    Enjoyed your post!

  71. dc

    22. Jul, 2009

    My favorite is “your camera sure takes nice photographs”, for which my reply is “yes, and you mouth sure makes nice compliments.”

  72. Chris

    22. Jul, 2009

    I recently saw a comic on this topic:

    Person to photographer: Your camera takes nice pictures!
    Photographer’s response: Your mouth makes nice compliments!

    Great list. And amazing photographs! I wish I had a lens like yours! (kidding) Thanks for sharing…

  73. Ryunatta

    22. Jul, 2009

    Am a novice photographer soo this is a good warning as whats to come in my future, and from the way this is sounding, I should write a book on it.

    “My journey through photography” Ill call it~!

  74. paraSite

    22. Jul, 2009

    I love it when people always say stuff like
    “All you need is a camera to take good pictures, photography isn’t an art!”
    Makes me SO MAD!!!
    Omg I just want to see if there cell phone could take a better picture :/

  75. Oscar Blanco

    22. Jul, 2009

    “You where born with a talent, so it’s easy for you…”
    Yeah, my mom really was glad when she pushed out my SLR and me, and I’ve been blessed with knowing all there is to know about photography since birth.

    “I need to get a camera like yours so I can start taking good pictures just like you…”
    Uh-huh, your unlimited knowledge is held back by the compact camera you chose for taking pictures on your vacation trips.

    “Why do you take so long for just taking a G’damn photograph?”
    What do you care? walk up and down the trail ten times if you like, I’ll stick here till I get the light and the DOF right!

  76. Krista

    22. Jul, 2009

    I am a die-hard amateur photographer. I have just applied for an art school to get my bachelors in photography. I must say, the most annoying one I get all the time is from people I know looking to buy new cameras. They ask me for advice which I’m totally great with giving. Its just the whole “So this camera is 10 Megapixel…its a good camera right?” Ugh, gets on my nerves. .Or the “Wow, you must have a really nice camera!” I generally just reply, “Yea, I have a super nice camera phone” Should see the looks I get. Lol! Oh & The photoshop one ticks me off, especially if people try to say “Oh well, its not a true photo after you used photoshop” That ticks me off so bad! & The snapshot one…I spend way to much time on my photos to consider them “snapshots” Ugh! Great List! I can relate to most of those!!!

  77. Sam

    22. Jul, 2009

    I agree with #10

    I do nature photography as a hobby, I see it as a simple past time and its what I enjoy. its therapeutic to a sense where I can tune out of the bustling world and photograph the simpler things in life and not be pressured by my subject.

  78. Matt Lauder

    22. Jul, 2009

    I shoot panoramic landscapes in Australia and I had my work on a six month display and I got the works. Quite a few of your comments I know all too well.

    My favourite was when I was asked what the image was shot on and I said “Slide film” and my next question was “How many Mega pixel is that.”

    Funny stuff.

    Another was “You faked that colour in photoshop” my reply “Just because you cant take it, dosent mean I faked it”

  79. funebre

    23. Jul, 2009

    the most funny part is “Seriously, the quality of digital cameras surpassed film several years ago. Seriously.”

  80. David

    23. Jul, 2009

    I’m a photographer in the Navy, and I got to say, “real” photographers are some of the snobbiest, ‘holier-than-thou’ people I’ve ever met.

    This is a good list and I enjoyed reading it, but between the lines all I could see were exasperated sighs to innocent (if uneducated) questions, and the poor friends/husbands/wives who have to hear about the billions of rubes who made a comment that a photographer had to suffer through each day.

    Oh! Oh the pain!

  81. Jessica

    23. Jul, 2009

    To be fair – I love photography, and I am certainly not a “photographer” – I take nice photos, some even cross to artistic but they are not the caliber of a true professional or even dabbling photographer.

    I AM a painter though. Like photographers, we paint with light when doing things well – and often times that ideal bit of reference for the painting you want to do is captured beautifully on film or in tiff/raw whatever form you prefer in photos (I hope not jpeg – gahhh awful).

    I hadn’t realized how offensive it might be to ask to use a lovely photo as reference – to be honest I typically shoot my own or (much preferably) just paint in setting instead of relying on photos, but I never meant any offense to any of the 5 photographers I asked to use a particularly nice photo as reference for. And I always gave credit at the back and a website for them with the canvas info and my own information.

    So speaking as an artist who wasn’t in the know about that particular bit of offensiveness – my apologies.

    The rest are rather hilarious to read and I can understand how all would be annoying. Just keep in mind it’s usually unintentional (and trust me I wouldn’t say any except possibly that one bit about painting but not in that way so much as to ask if I could use a photo for a scene – typically only parts are used anyway. And though I may not be any great guns as a photographer, I DO paint quite successfully. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who didn’t realize that could be taken the wrong way).

    Nice article. Good luck. Even I knew the wedding question was an awful one. Blech.

    • Perry Gallagher

      23. Jul, 2009

      Shooting my sons Little League games, I would often hand out photos to the parents of the other players of my son’s team.

      One day, a mother says to me after noticing my camera and 100-400 zoom lens, “no wonder you take such great pictures!!”

      I handed her my camera and said “here, now you can go take some great images”

      I guess you had to be there to appreciate what a big kick I got out of it:)

    • Brandon

      23. Jul, 2009

      I dont think asking if you can use a photograph as a reference for a painting would be offensive. Flat out saying that a photograph would looks so great as a painting is just like saying that ‘photography isnt a real art form, and that it would have to be a painting to be considered as such’

      I’m not a professional photographer, but I do use photography as a hobby, and I understand the determination and dedication it takes to search out and wait for the right moment, and the disappointment when you don’t capture it the way you wanted to or if it doesn’t happen at all.

      Personally, I would be elated if a painter came up and asked to use a photograph I took as a reference.

      • Jen

        24. Jul, 2009

        Saying “wow, that photo would look much BETTER as a painting”, that’s insulting. Saying “that photo would look so great as a painting” is possibly an artist thinking out loud (and taking mental notes!) … how is it different than them saying “can I use that for doing a painting?” Sure, one is an implied desire for permission, the other is coming right out and asking, but you know, some people are nervous about blatantly speaking right up like that. Maybe they like to kind of feel out the waters first.

        If you get mad at the idea that someone might (oh gasp! the horror!) think that your photo has the potential to become a great painting, chances are no one is ever going to try and turn it into a painting. I know I wouldn’t ask for permission for that from someone as pissy about it as some folks on here are seeming.

  82. Lisa

    23. Jul, 2009

    You are a professional photographer…I guess people should become professional complimentors… lol

    I see how some comments you listed are, well, annoying or silly, but I think people don’t realize how it will offend.

    I see people say “great shot!”, “amazing shot”, “fantastic work”…. and I say those things in comments too. But, mind you, I only comment on what I really find impressive and like. So please, I am not a professional photographer, or a professional complimentor/comment guru, and hope you don’t take offense. I will try to say “nice capture” in the future to all photographers submissions lol

    Thanks for the fun read and the insight. 🙂

  83. Felix

    23. Jul, 2009

    I like “what’s that switch down there for?” as it is heared in all aspects of life – including photography once you walk up with anything bigger than a “blurry-baby-shot-only” digicrap-thingy.

  84. Heather

    23. Jul, 2009

    I can’t stand it when someone says, “wow, that’s an awesome photo. Its obviously the camera”. It burns my toast every time I hear it. Like you can’t just be a great photographer. Its always just the camera.

  85. SauriaMami

    23. Jul, 2009

    Yep…these are DEFINATELY my favorite list I’ve seen so far!
    Have to add like someone else said?
    ‘Do you do nudes?’…yep…nude mushrooms, nude baby rats, nude tones of the early morning light…..’
    Or…the men who tell me as a woman I should try a smaller tri-pod. I carry that tri-pod, fanny pack, 2 bottles of water, 2 cameras, lots of bags, a knife, a stick and whatever else I can carry lightly. Like? A smaller tri-pod will make all the difference in a photo.

  86. Cris

    23. Jul, 2009

    I shoot most of my nature images while hiking, but sometimes I go to the botanical garden to shoot insects. And often I hear this, while walking around the garden with two DSLRs hanging from my neck:
    “Are you taking pictures?”

    I didn’t come up with a good answer for that, yet…

    • Cooper

      23. Jul, 2009

      I’d have said, “No, I just thought these cameras make a good necklace.”

      Now, nowhere near a professional photographer, all the ones I get turn out crappy anyway.

  87. Rachel

    23. Jul, 2009

    “How do you get such fabulous pictures?” It didn’t annoy me at first, but it really got to me. I spend a long time looking for the perfect shot, and in the end, the camera does its job. Besides, I do landscape shots.

  88. Paul

    23. Jul, 2009

    I would think that as a wild life photografer the most annoying comment you could receive is when a hunter looks at your photo and says it looks tasty.

  89. Karlos

    23. Jul, 2009

    My thoughts on the whole camera thing.

    ‘A camera is like a gun; the size, the make and the model do not matter. All that matters is that you have a good focus and keep a steady finger on the trigger’.

    People need to realize that you can take a great picture with a Disposable as you can with an SLR. Its not the medium that counts, but the photographer. It’s the same as an artist using pencil, paints or crayons; if used correctly they can all produce equally great results 😛

    • Cameron

      24. Jul, 2009

      Amen to that!!

      God, I get comments like, “Wow, I’m so jealous of your camera!” all the time. It’s like I’m not even there, haha.

  90. Maria

    23. Jul, 2009

    Very funny list – I don’t think it’s disrespectful of other people, sometimes you just need to get some air, while deep down you are aware of the reasons people comment like they do. That doesn’t make it any less annoying, though. I draw comics, and the one I get the most is: “Wow! You’re SO lucky you can draw like that”! Yeah. Lucky. I’ve been drawing all my life, I practised and took classes and practised and studied foto references and practised – I worked my ass off to draw like this. Still, deep down I know that I might have been born with a gift or abilities or whatever, and that maybe not everybody will end up drawing like me even though they practise – but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t work for it.

    • Lydia Raven

      24. Jul, 2009

      100% agree with you there!

      Irregardless of my mother’s natural drawing abilities, I was born with none and drew worse than most small children up until tenth grade when I decided to start working my butt off to try and not make things that looked like blobs and it took me over two years of such hard work to get anything that even resembled art, and I’m constantly working on it and still have tons of problems to fix.

      People have now started to say that all the time to me while commenting on how they ‘wish they could draw as well’ and when I tell them ‘you can if you just practice’ they go all quiet; Truth is, most of them wouldn’t put half as much effort as I have and other artists to try to get better they just want to be born with it =P

  91. Sally =]

    23. Jul, 2009

    hehehehehe…rofl, that’s funny.. im not a photographer and i must admit that i have said/asked a few of those things…lol…not many..only like three…lol i know never to do THAT again 😀

  92. Andrew Hager

    23. Jul, 2009

    “Wow, you were lucky to get that shot”….
    well, You know, I was on break from college and I planned a two week trek through the Andes Mountains because I was determined to get the most amazing image of macchu piccu ever…two weeks turned into 4 weeks, turned into 6 weeks…turned into 3 months. Yes, I was lucky to get that shot in the sense that I was lucky to have another teacher cover my classes and stay on a “learning trip” to get the image. that I was able to have the resources to do it, that I had enough clothes with me, that the natives were nice to enough to take me around the mountain and guide me. And after 3 months, I got it…the perfect shot…its amazing, and im lucky enough to have it hanging in 4 hotels and on several billboards. When I got back, I got two different statements….”did you get any good shots” and “you were lucky to get that shot”

  93. H.K.P

    23. Jul, 2009

    Wildlife Painter here, Jessica has pretty much stated everything I was going to say. I hope that you do not mean that its offensive to ask someone if you can use their photo as a reference for a painting. If anything, its one of the most sincere forms of flattery. But I don’t think that’s what you meant, at least I hope not. When a painter asks for permission to use an image for reference, its because the painter sees everything as a possible painting subject…not because they do not respect photography as an artform. Quite the contrary.

    I will add one to the list that probably goes for all artists: When people ask me what I do and I say “I’m an artist” and they reply, “Well do you have a real job?” or “But how do you make money.” I spent the first half of my life trying to keep a “real” job and sustain art as a hobby before realizing that it is not only possible to be a full time career artist, but it is hugely fulfilling and meaningful to be able to make a living doing what you love. When I announced that I was going to art school, my family was mortified. Everyone insisted that I go to school for something else, or have “something to fall back on.” Because of their discouraging sentiments, I wasted so much time when I could have been doing what I loved. And no matter how successful you become, it always seems like there is someone out there that doesn’t believe that what you are doing is “Work”

  94. Alice

    23. Jul, 2009

    Some of that answers are so rude and I don’t think that a real professional would to say something so crap like that, there is no professionalism at all.

  95. Amanda

    24. Jul, 2009

    this is just hysterical !,well written

  96. Gregory

    24. Jul, 2009

    You people should do weddings, if you get paid. A lot.
    You can get like a grand for a few hours work if you’re lucky.
    A comment I hear often is: “Cameras are useless, my cellphone takes pictures just as good as that.” The reply usually is: “Blow that picture up to any size bigger than your phone screen, then come back and show me how great it is.”
    It’s amusing when people ask why you don’t use film, never do they realise that due to the size grains in the film, the film itself is about 7 mega pixels.

  97. Nick

    24. Jul, 2009

    I don’t yet have an SLR (due to money), but I consider my Canon SX10 to be somewhat more advanced. My favorite questions about it are “How many megapixels?” and “What times zoom does that have?”

    In addition to that everyone I know always wonders why I “take so long” to take pictures. They obviously think you can just point, shoot and get a perfectly composed picture…

  98. Charo

    24. Jul, 2009

    A couple of years back the MV Doulos was docked at our local port. A friend and I went on the SS Duolos (?). I had my DSLR, she had her tiny digital point-n-shoot. We were being toured by a former student of my friend’s as well. While in the galley, I showed the shots I took of them. My friend goes “Gosh! Your camera really takes great photos! I wish my camera were that good as well.”

    With that comment, I took her point-n-shoot, made them pose again, took the shot and showed it to her. Her response: “WHOA! I didn’t know my camera can do that! I guess I just need to learn how to use this better.”

    Every time I get that #1 comment, I would find SOME way of showing them that it’s really not about the camera. I love it when later on my friends with their point-n-shoot cams are all excited about taking shots that “look so professional!” 🙂

  99. Lea

    24. Jul, 2009

    This was SO refreshing. Not only cuz I started to think I was the only one in the world who was annoyed by those but also because this is the best article with the best subtle sarcastic humor I’ve read in a while. It’s brilliant. 😉

    Kudos. 🙂

  100. Nilly

    24. Jul, 2009

    I photograph flowers, and it’s a nice hobby. However, what I cannot stand is people asking me ‘holy crap what camera do you uuuuse!’

    I am a sad, poor sap and have to use a digital camera (it’s about three years old now, been dropped a ton too) meant to take birthday, wedding, and vacation pictures. However as I know how to use it, I can take high quality pictures of my flowers.

    I get people telling me I shopped it, but, eh, most of what I do is crop out other flowers that inched into the shot. >.> I don’t even own a photoshop program.

  101. Lydia Raven

    24. Jul, 2009

    i absolutly HATE it when people think they’re doing some great pose and are all take a picture of this it will be awesome! or when they constantly bother you to take pictures of them >.>

    Or when you wait and wait and wait for the perfect shot of something and then inconsiderate people just walk right through your perfect picture >.> most annoying!

    • Michal

      14. Jan, 2010

      Well the last one is really bad but it’s unforgivable when your friend does it when you explicitly told him what you are going to do and that he shouldn’t go here…. still it’s better than when i was playing golf… I took my brother with me (he wasn’t playing he was just making photos of me playing)… i was in the back swing to tee off when he just walked in front of… just like nothing happened… and when i started shouting at him that i could have killed him he got pissed off and walked away…

    • Ben

      01. Mar, 2011

      During our southwest photo tour, I had a deer standing on a mound of dirt surrounded by a great scene of vegetation in front of an arch in Arches National Park, waiting for the right moment that when the deer made a personally connection to the photograph, then blam, a tourist walks in the picture, shooting slide film then… It just chapped my hide so much I yelled out ” Hey Tourist, get out of my picture” none the less did not get the shot I wanted, but I do have a great memory…

    • Hydroponics

      25. Apr, 2011

      My policy on walking into people’s shots is that they’ve decided to take the shot, not me. If I end up in the shot then that’s the way it was meant to be

      • Paul Burwell

        28. Apr, 2011

        Wow! Someone who has the world revolve around them? You should contact NASA and have them study you.

        • georgmi

          11. Aug, 2011

          Wow, Paul. I’m impressed at your restraint.

          I’d’ve mentioned the fact that my tripod collapses quickly down to an eight-pound metal club.

          • The_Animal

            05. Aug, 2013

            Oh…georgmi. I wish there was a “plus” feature for this comment. How many times I’ve been setting up for a shot of a mallard or a great blue heron when someone has interrupted me. “I’d smash the 600mm over his head but it’s worth more than the idiot who just interrupted me”. $6,500 (but priceless to me) and it’s not worth the damage to the lens.

  102. BobC

    24. Jul, 2009

    Heh heh.

    I take issue with number 7. When I say “that would make a great painting” I fully understand that a great photograph is the starting point.

    As for number 2, I really have trouble with someone that tells me a graphite drawing that took me 60 hours to complete is a “nice sketch”

  103. mike

    24. Jul, 2009

    If I had 2 cameras hanging from my neck and someone asked if I was taking pictures, I would tell them I’m a camera salesman and ask if they’re interested in buying one.

    When someone says to me that I must really have a good camera, I just say “it helps”.

  104. Amy

    24. Jul, 2009

    This is a fantastic post – I find the comments underneath almost as fascinating.

    My favourite I get is “sooo – what system do you use??”. I know its not so much a “wildlife photographer” only thing but the amount of time I’ve got stick from a Canon user because I use Nikon! Let it go guys – we’re all working towards the same aim! I just chose this particular system when I started out and now have too much expensive kit to bother buying the same all over again and I’m used to it too! You’ll get good results with either!!

    For the people taking this a little too serisouly – I’m guessing this is because you yourself have mentioned some of these similar comments. Almost every profession comes with these kind of comments made by people who don’t really understand and this is just a small list with what photographers have to put up with, not only from people who aren’t really clued up on photography but also some other photographers. Its like where my mum works, there is a security barrier. The number of times people go through and shout “beep beep beep” like they’re some new comedian just gets wearing.

    There are idiots everywhere!!

  105. Alan Howarth

    24. Jul, 2009

    My snappers are a touchy lot!
    The one that sends me crazy is: ‘My cousin/uncle/sister’s boyfriend or whatever takes really good pictures’ sub text They’re better than you.
    So, gues that makes me a touchy snapper too

  106. Chris Earle

    24. Jul, 2009

    I think the LUCK part is a given sometimes. Only one day I sat out in the yard with Mom’s Nikon D40 after a failure of a fleamarket day did I hit the motherload of bird species: I photographed pics of species I hadn’t seen in years! About 12 different species…and no special bird seed. It was weird…but I’d say it was unusual luck. I didn’t see the rarer birds again.
    Also I think the photographer has to be an artist, if only a little bit. (Photography IS art.) To compose a scene, try to predict a set-up (wild animals are notirious for being uncooperative) and see whether the shot has any “art” or not. (I see art in everything. I’m hopeless.)

  107. Suyash

    24. Jul, 2009

    so tell me if i’m dumb. but really…………………. Doesn’t the camera matters? All i read in this blog was its the photographer, not the camera. Please reply.


    • eorgmi

      11. Aug, 2011

      Having a nice camera certainly helps, but unless you’re talking about a real piece of junk, the limiting factor in the quality of a photograph is almost always the skill of the photographer.

      Technique, composition, and timing are the most important factors in making a great image, and no camera can make those decisions for you.

  108. Miguel

    24. Jul, 2009

    You are so lucky to have been in the right place at the right time to write this top 10 list. I think it needs a bit more sharpening though.

  109. KarenJ

    24. Jul, 2009

    This is good stuff. When I go to functions or events, I’ll have people ask me if I’m the “official” photographer.

  110. Janet Hug

    25. Jul, 2009

    While out at a local park, another photographer approached me, and the first thing out of his mouth was, he thought he recognized the “dust pump” I was using. Not a hello, what are your shooting, or how are you today” ?(He watched me for about 15 minutes before approaching me.) He asked me what camera body I was using with the Canon 100-400mm L lens. I told him I was using the Canon 20D. He started telling me how HE preferred to use the Canon 70-200mm L lens, blah, blah, blah, and how HE had owned the 20D a long time ago, the 40D and the 50D, and moved beyond crop camera bodies to a Canon full frame body and is So much happier now. Meanwhile, looking down nose at me. Geesh. Not what I expected from another shooter. I walked away and kept on shooting, and shaking my head. There are rude photogs out in the world.

  111. Deina

    25. Jul, 2009

    I hate when people want to show me the shot they got on THEIR crappy camera or cell phone…

  112. Isaac Fast

    26. Jul, 2009

    “Can you see the MOON with that lens?!”

    Why yes, I can! How did you know? Believe it or not, I can also see the moon without the lens. And so can you!

  113. Layne Robertson

    27. Jul, 2009

    That’s a great start!
    Yeah I realize I’m not the best photographer, but that’s still a pretty rude assumption.

  114. Max Vernon

    27. Jul, 2009

    Fantastic! What a joy to read.

    Suyash, in case you need an example of why a good camera is not necessary, see my flickr stream at – even though I’ve spent thousands of dollars on equipment, I still take crappy “snapshots”. 🙂

  115. Carlton Ward

    27. Jul, 2009

    Whats amazing to me is that I now realize how I have succumbed to these sticking points by answering the people asking as if they had a clue what they were talking about.
    I have spent the last 2 years trying to get a specific capture with no success (yet) but if I ever do get the capture, nobody will even realize the effort I invested to get it.

  116. Danny Brown

    28. Jul, 2009

    I like to use the “more cowbell” skit when people ask me about my photography. I just say, “I’m no different from anybody else. I get up in the morning, put my pants on one leg at a time and then go out and take amazing photos.”

  117. Celeste

    28. Jul, 2009

    I hate when I’m out shooting, and someone starts trying to chat me up and go on about their own photography, get all snooty because my camera is only 6.7megapixels, and then I find out that they’re using a point and shoot, take 1000s of shots and hope for a good one, and start blankly when I ask them about aperture or speed.

    I also hate comments like “you must have a great camera” on my Utah series. Then I point out that I spent 2 weeks waking up at 4am, to stand in the snow and wind, waiting for sunrise and hoping the clouds were right. Then scouting all day, and to a different location for Sunset, and hike back in the dark and snow.

  118. J. L. Gould

    30. Jul, 2009

    I get the “You took that at a zoo, right?” quite a bit.

    My answer for “Did you photoshop that?” is usually “only the equivalent of the post processing done in a dark room”.

    I collect cameras so on top of my regular gear, I usually have some vintage or near vintage film camera along to play around with (and occasionally a crappy digital point and shoot). That makes some answers fun…ie

    Question: Do you use digital or film?
    Me: Both!

    Question: Do you use Nikon or Canon? (usually from some snooty photographer)
    Me: Both! As well as Minolta, Kodak, Agfa, Argus, Leica, etc

    It also works for when people make the “you must have SUCH a good camera!” and I pull a photo out of a bin and tell them this particular one was taken with a 1 MP HP Photosmart A200.

    A friend of mine often accuses me of shooting with different cameras just so I have an answer for everything. lol

  119. A. Cast

    06. Aug, 2009

    Some comments I have received:

    “Wow, this picture looks like a postcard”
    Man, they mean it well, but I can’t avoid to think about a cheesy, tourist intended, souvenir postcard.

    Another good one:
    “Wow, man, what a picture. That long lens of you is working wonders”.

    Sure. It takes the pictures by itself.

    And in the same style:
    “Wow, what a great picture. I will have to buy a lens like yours right now!”
    (Said a macro shooter, who never shoots wildlife, about my 150-500mm)

  120. A. Cast

    06. Aug, 2009

    Oh, I’m sorry, another one, and the most anoying of all.

    I hate when I’m in a park, quietly waiting for a wading bird to approach me, and some bypassing girls start shouting.

    “Hey what are you shooting! Why don’t you better take a picture of me?!!”

  121. JFargo

    14. Aug, 2009

    Apparently I need to start taking more shots so I can get annoyed at people asking me questions. Either that, or I need to get a big, obvious camera, so they see me and start demanding I take their picture.

    I just like attention. I’d be happy to take it away from all you pros. 🙂

  122. Joakim Bergquist

    20. Aug, 2009

    A couple of times I’ve got the question: Can I borrow your camera? Mine is so bad (i.e for a trip or something) By that time I use to ask them, will you go auto or full manual mode? I say no either way, and tell them that their own point and shoot cameras will do.

  123. Gary

    30. Sep, 2009

    I’m a wedding photographer and recently shot a wedding that a coworker attended. The coworker was not pleased with the pictures produced by her recently purchased and expensive point & shoot. She said..I thought I bought a good camera but now I’m not sure…she was shooting into a backlit situation and of course the faces were all dark. My comment was…”It’s not about the camera and never will be”

  124. Robyn Carter

    23. Oct, 2009

    Well done – a great article ad one that iss soooo true. Glad to find another B&H Affiliate too 🙂

    Haven’t uploaded for a while though because i’ve only got sporadic internet access due to me building a new home 😉

    Once I move in I’ll be able to start uploading again 🙂


  125. John

    10. Nov, 2009

    Great list! #1 and #4 are my favorites and so true. For many people obviously great shots are the result of luck and equipment. And if they can’t take great pictures with the same camera, it must be camera’s fault, of course.

  126. Elodie

    16. Nov, 2009

    lol. Excellent post…

  127. Tim

    16. Nov, 2009

    I hate it when people call me and ask me how much I charge for wedding photography.
    My Follow up is always….’have you seen my work/web site”?
    When they say no, they’re just shopping for price, I tell them that photographers are like cars…they come in all shapes, sizes and talents….and if they’re only looking for the cheapest photographer they can find, they should probably be looking on Craig’s List to hire a Volkswagon Photog. “I”m more a Rolls Royce”.

    • georgmi

      11. Aug, 2011

      My stock response to wedding requests is that I charge $25,000 plus travel and expenses.

      I figure, if that doesn’t scare them off, for twenty-five grand, I can subcontract an “assistant” to do most of the work, get a nice little trip out of the deal, and take home a few bucks on top of it.

      So far, nobody’s taken me up on it, which is also a win in my book.

  128. Chris

    16. Nov, 2009

    I hate it when people see my or my daughter’s sports photography and say “Yeah, well if I had your big lenses I could get those shots, too!” As if training a 600mm through a 1/4sec pan of a motorcycle doing 140km/h in a sweeping curve is something just anybody can do.

  129. Blake

    17. Nov, 2009

    thank you for this. i needed a good laugh today. i get about 80% of those as an professional architectural photographer.

  130. Stephanie

    20. Nov, 2009

    Wow this topic sparked a lot of passion in people!! I think your an amazing photographer. I really enjoyed reading it. I have to admit I thought that you were going to say you hate it when people ask you to photo shop so there butts don’t look so big and I would of known who you were talking about 🙂

  131. Michal

    14. Jan, 2010

    I’m no professional photographer… i am just an amateur/hobby photographer…. but I already heard nearly all of the here mentioned questions…. but 3 things which piss me off the most are: 3) “Why aren’t you using a film camera it’s much better… WTF??!!?!?! even if film would have 10X better resolution than digital… for gods sake today they use a digital scanner in the photo labs to scan the negative which means quality loss….” FYI… I’m always annoyed with this crap by a friend which uses a compact film camera where the only settings are AUTO or NO FLASH… 2)”Why the hell do you need a 1200$ camera with an extra 400$ flash?… my camera has a flash…. it can take pictures… and it’s just 300$ bucks… well try to compare my photos to yours and then answer the question…” and the worst one for me 1) “why do you take the same photo like 10 times?…. well because the first nine had the wrong exposure, the image wasn’t sharp enough and/or there was a bird flying through the middle of it…. well then i guess you really are a crappy photographer…… ” when i hear this thing my blood just starts boiling in my veins because the only photos this person can make are self shot pics in the mirror where you can’t even see his face because of the flash reflection.

    But thankfully I’ve found a great cure for this…. simply act as if haven’t heard their question… they’ll leave you alone…

  132. ck

    27. Mar, 2010

    That reminds me a of a joke:
    A photographer visits a friend’s family. She brought some photographs along, so they sit together and look at her photos. The friend exclaims “You’re photos are amazing! You must have a really good camera.”

    Later, at dinner, the photographer says: “Your food is absolutely delicious, you must have a really good oven!”

  133. E

    09. May, 2011

    ‘Hey are you using a canon DSLR?I’ve heard that canon cameras cannot take sharp images.Nikon’s way better’-most annoying comment to me

  134. W. Nussbaumer

    14. Aug, 2011

    not so much an annoying comment, but annoying actions. I cannot count the number of times I have spotted wildlife along a road somewhere and make an effort to park a distance away so as not to spook the subject, Grab camera and tripod and start walking closer to have some inconsiderate twit stop right beside the animal, jump out with their cell phone camera and start taking pictures as they walk closer and scare the critter back into the bush. That isn’t good enough then they have to run down the side of the embankment to see where the animal went, guaranteeing,it will not re-emerge in the foreseeable future. They do not even stop on the edge of the road, but right in the middle so as to block everyone else traveling the road. Grrrrr.

  135. Hugo Chikamori

    15. Sep, 2011

    The one thing that drives me absolutely crazy is when I’m out at a park, and I’m shooting wild animals, you always get suspicious looks (implying – “Hey…you trying to take my picture or something”). – NO…I got my camera pointed at a pair of ducks because I want to take a picture of YOUR ~disparaging comment~ narcissistic posterior end.

    And people walking through my shots especially when I’ve got it pointed directly at the shot I’m wanting…just drives me up the wall…over the top and down the other side.


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