Top Ten Annoying Things That Photographers Say to Each Other

Posted on 13. Mar, 2009 by in Everything, Top Ten Lists

Last week’s list of the Top Ten Annoying Things to Say to a Wildlife Photographer was quite popular and it generated a lot of great comments. That has inspired me to produce another Top Ten list for this week. Today’s list compiles the top ten things that other photographers have said to me that I’ve found to be annoying. And, the more often I’ve heard something the more annoying it tends to be. That’s just the way I am.

If you’re a photographer who is easily offended or you can’t take a little bit of sarcasm, please don’t read any further. I don’t want your delicate sensibilities to be offended.

With that out of the way, presented in traditional count-down order, here are today’s Top Ten Annoying Things that Photographers Say to Each Other.

10. What are you shooting at? 

Red-necked Grebe sitting on a nest

Red-necked Grebe sitting on a nest

  • Get a group of photographers together shooting the same subject and invariably one of them will ask one or more of the others this question.  I believe it stems from a sense of insecurity where a less than confident photographer is worried that he’ll miss the shot that everyone else got.  Why not just ask me to send you my shots?
    • In a learning situation this could be a useful question although differences in equipment can make the answer moot.  But, in a group of peers, this question should never be uttered.


9. Did you see my shots in National Geographic? 

  • Is there any photographer who doesn’t want to be published in National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Cosmo, etc?  Why risk a severe beating by flaunting your awesomeness?


8. Dude! Dude! You’re in my shot! 

  • And your feet are nailed to the ground?  Seriously?  Who calls someone “dude” in the first place?  Seriously!


7. I’m a Fine Art photographer. 

Fall morning at a beaver pond

Fall morning at a beaver pond

  • If someone can help me understand the difference between a “Fine Art” photographer and a portrait, wedding, landscape, photojournalist, sports or wildlife photographer, I might rescind this item, but the whole term strikes me as a bit pretentious.


6. The new K-tel Autocapture 5000 looks good but I noticed there’s noise in the shadows at ISO 102,400. 

  • Maybe the pixel peeping will never quit but do we have to examine each and every pixel of every new camera to find a flaw only evident at billboard sized prints? Besides photographers more obsessed with pixels than photos, who really cares?


5. …in these tough economic times… 

Ruddy Duck displaying on a lake

Ruddy Duck displaying on a lake

  • Okay, this one isn’t specific to photographers but I’m sick of hearing it.  I propose that the world set up a giant swear jar.  Every time someone utters the phrase “…in these tough economic times…” they have to put one US dollar into the jar.  Not only will this reduce the use of this annoying phrase but the funds could be used to solve the current economic crisis.


4. All of my work is available as limited edition Giclée prints. 

  • So your printer sprays droplets of ink at the paper? Wow!  That’s exactly what my inkjet printer does.
  • Giclée is French don’t ‘cha know.  It’s pronounced “zhee-clay” and it sounds pretentious.  IMHO.


3. Oh that?  I can fix that later in Photoshop. 

Black Bear cub trying to get to the bottom of things

Black Bear cub trying to get to the bottom of things

  • Not only is it annoying to hear, it is the calling card of a lazy photographer.


2. Oh, you’ve got the K-tel Autocapture 3000?  I just got the Autocapture 3000 Mark II. 

  • And that makes you a better photographer how?  Oh, that’s right; the Mark II finally introduces the “no sucky photos” setting whereby the camera will simply not allow the creation of a poor photograph.
  • There are some people I know that would think their Autocapture 3000 Mark II was broken when it never let them take a picture again!


1.  Dude!  Did you get this shot?

Pair of goslings swimming in a pond

Pair of goslings swimming in a pond

  • This is a common question from the serial chimper.  You know, the person you’re out shooting with who is continually chimping their images (looking at the LCD and then pointing and saying “ooh, ooh, ooh” when they see something they like).  They’ll call out when they find a photograph they think is great and you might have missed.  And, don’t call me dude!

I’m betting that if you’re a photographer who has spent any time photographing around other photographers that you’ve got a few of your own sayings to contribute. Go ahead. It’s very cathartic.

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85 Responses to “Top Ten Annoying Things That Photographers Say to Each Other”

  1. Beth

    22. Mar, 2009

    As I am just beginning my venture into photography, I’ll take use the list as guidelines of what not to do!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Deborah aka Loxly

    23. Mar, 2009

    “I only crop in camera, I never post process, I never use the rapid sequence feature, I always get the perfect image every time the first time”…. I say if you really are a great photographer you know how to use your technology to get the best shot, including rapid firing and *some* post processing. And yeah, the latest and greatest camera doesn’t make you a great photographer 🙂

    Nice list.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Chris Monroe

    23. Mar, 2009

    …But I will be published in a Special Edition of The National Geographic coming out in June! Honest…Look for the piglets.
    It’s The Holy Grail Man!!!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Sam

    24. Mar, 2009

    As someone who refers to their own photography as “fine art” let me offer a response to #7. Food for thought, as it were.

    If someone is defining fine art as a type of photography akin to wedding, landscape, nature, etc., then they are sorely mistaken. As for my take on “fine art,” it’s more HOW I shoot, than what I shoot. It’s a style of shooting, much like journalistic shooting.

    Journalistic focuses largely on people, expressions, moments, trying to put you in the scene, where fine art looks more at the abstract, lines, shapes, textures, color, and lighting in an effort to create a form of beauty not always tethered to a sense of reality. Minimalism, surrealism, or one of the other commonly used artistic techniques are applied to give a photograph the same level of attention and detail as painting (although obviously the execution is somewhat shorter). Photography as a whole has a tendency to lean towards journalistic photography due to its very nature, but with my background in graphic arts and other forms of traditional art, I tend to take a slightly different approach at times. While most photographers will try to give an accurate representation of a scene, I’ll degrade, push, pull, and stretch the color, exposure, angle, etc. of an image until I pull out what I saw in the image with my mind’s eye.

    Is the term a bit pretentious? Sure. I won’t disagree with you there. I just think there are some misinformed and diluted people out there throwing the term around without taking a moment to think. You could have a fine art style wedding photographer or a journalistic one. Both have their merits and neither is better than the other. My job requires my photography to be more journalistic, so I’m actually working hard NOT to be just a fine art photographer. One could argue that the best photographers out there (the ones you see regularly in National Geographic) usually get a good blend of the two.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Jeremy

    27. Mar, 2009

    Fine art. It just sounds better than art.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Jennifer

    29. Mar, 2009

    Love it! Very funny.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Frank

    30. Mar, 2009

    ” What a fantastic shot!, check out my flickr, i have the exact same shot ”

    ” What lens did you use to capture that shot? ”

    ” What’s your setting? ”

    ” You shoot raw or jpg? ”

    ” IS on or off ? ”

    ” Is my lens sharp? ”

    While strolling down the street with your dSLR, someone came up to you and said ” Hey, nice camera, my brother has an “L” lens “.


    Reply to this comment
  8. Suzy Walker

    06. Apr, 2009

    lol. two v funny lists. Thank you for compiling them. 8 & 4 made me laugh out loud at my desk and everyone looked at me! One of the best things about underwater photography is you dont get all of this while you are actually shooting – the silly comments have to wait until everyone is back on the boat 😉

    Reply to this comment
  9. sandy cathcart

    07. Apr, 2009

    I LOVE your photos, and your comments made me laugh. It was actually one of the few times I could actually use the acronym that makes me wanna scream most of the time…LOL.

    You touched on a few things that I need to change in my own vocabulary…oops!

    Dude. ha! that’s one I think you and I will both have to learn to deal with while working with the public. It’s a generation thing. Best to just start calling them dude back. Pretty soon, they quit using it and shut up and look at ya funny.

    Reply to this comment
  10. ross millar

    07. Apr, 2009

    Calling oneself a fine art photographer is no more pretentious than calling oneself a photographer just because one owns a camera.

    I find the post disturbing, either you are saying photography is not an art whatsoever – which is an argument that was settled decades ago, or you are stating that all photographs are art – a snap shot of little joey playing ball is hardly art, nor a photograph of a wedding.

    There are many definitions of art. I define art in the intent: the intent of the artist to invoke an emotional and or intellectual response to the artwork. A fine art photograph will stir an emotion or thought significantly more substantial than “ooo, that’s a pretty picture.”

    The barriers to entry are so low right now, I would argue that we are living in an unprecedented time of pretension.

    Reply to this comment
    • Paul Burwell

      07. Apr, 2009

      I think the difference for me is that by definition, a person who takes a picture is a photographer where there is no agreed-upon definition of a fine-art photographer.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Werner Maurer

    08. Apr, 2009

    I like to go to locations that other photogs don’t go to, so I never have this prob. I try to keep an eye out for the seldom-noticed. Now, if I could just shoot pix as good as theirs….

    Reply to this comment
  12. Kimberley

    09. Apr, 2009

    I find it annoying when other photographers comment on my use of burst mode. I use it a tool, not just on action shots, but on still scenes when I have no tripod or resting surface handy for my camera. The implication is I don’t have enough skill to just take one precisely-timed photo and get the image I was trying for.

    The reality is, my goal is to get the image I’m trying for, and I will use whatever tools or techniques available to get it. For instance, if my use of burst mode on a macro assures me shots 2, 3 and 4 will be crisper than the first shot, then so be it.

    I don’t go into a restaurant and nitpick with the chef about how to prepare my meal. I give him creative license as long as the food ends up satisfying my palate.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Keith

    16. Apr, 2009

    wear a ipod w/ your fav music playing and a t-shirt that says “shut up and shoot”

    Reply to this comment
  14. ian

    17. Apr, 2009

    Funny list, #1 and #8 are very true, PLUS what Deborah aka Loxly said.

    And next time I’ll do what Keith said 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  15. Jim Esten

    28. Apr, 2009

    #4 – ‘giclee’: I don’t wish to offend, but the best way to take the wind out of those sails is to tell the person what the French slang meaning is: sexual ejaculation. Jack Duganne should have used a better French dictionary.

    ‘Dude’. Notice to Stephen and other younger photographers: don’t address older people that way, and we promise not to say “Well, when I was your age…” Come to think of it, that would be another great Top 10 list: obnoxious inter-generational statements.

    Reply to this comment
  16. George Slusher

    28. Apr, 2009

    People calling themselves, “fine art photographers” have wrankled me, as well, though not because I don’t recognize that there are such things as “fine art photographs.” The problem isn’t with the photos but the person making the statement. It comes across as pretentious. (“I’m better than those unimaginative photojournalists and wedding photographers, not to mention the whorish commercial photographers.”) Of course, pretentiousness seems to be rampant in the world of “art.” (I don’t “do” art, myself, but I’ve bought a lot of it.)

    Anyone can call himself/herself a “fine art photographer,” so the term is essentially meaningless. Did Ansel Adams call himself a “fine art photographer”? Did Picasso call himself a “fine art painter”? if you’re really good, you don’t need to call yourself much of anything: your work will speak for you.

    On the other hand, labeling a business as “fine art photography” is different, as that focuses on the photographs, not the phtographer. It differentiates that business from wedding photography, nature photography, photojournalism, travel photography, portrait photography, fashion photography, etc. I’d much rather see a business card that said, “Jane Adams, Fine Art Photography,” rather than “Jane Adams, Fine Art Photographer.” The first says what Jane produces and sells, which is the point of a business.

    Reply to this comment
  17. araya

    08. Jul, 2009

    great article. thanks!

    Reply to this comment
  18. A. Cast

    06. Aug, 2009

    While discussing about the difficulties to expose for high contrast light at noon, some really pretentious commertial photographer told me once:

    “I don’t know about your amateur camera, but the digital back of my professional Bronica medium format camera can register 12 stops of light”

    Reply to this comment
  19. Mei Teng

    29. Dec, 2009

    Great list! I have to agree that #1 is utterly annoying.

    Reply to this comment
  20. a giclee printer

    27. Jan, 2010

    #4 makes me laugh as that’s what I do!

    Would pigment ink on archival paper be any better?


    Reply to this comment
  21. Ant Gray

    17. Jul, 2010

    Most popular in Russia (sort of mem): horizon tilted

    Reply to this comment
  22. georgmi

    15. Aug, 2011

    I ask question #10 fairly frequently; I’m always trying to develop my eye, and there are still lots of situations where I can feel that a shot exists in what I’m looking at, but I can’t see the path to isolating it out of the mess in front of me.

    With #8, if I’ve just spent five minutes on my tripod composing my shot and you walk into it, yeah, I think the moral high ground rests with me. In that case, yes, my feet *are* pretty well nailed to the ground.

    Of course, my social anxiety prevents me from talking to people I don’t know, so I’m only going to ask #10 of somebody I’m already acquainted with, and I’m going to wait a *long* time before #8 passes my lips to a stranger. 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  23. Hugo Chikamori

    15. Sep, 2011

    “So…you shooting with a D300s?”

    Yeah…so what? So I don’t have the $$$ to kick around and buy myself a D3s/D3X or whatever latest new-fangled camera they got out now. I make do with what I have and I get the shot. Maybe once I’ve sold a few prints, I’ll upgrade, but until then…”mind your own beeswax…and go shoot something!”

    Yes…we photographers when you interrupt us on a shot…get very antisocial too.

    Reply to this comment


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