It’s been a while since I wrote a top ten list and this one came to me in the middle of the night during a visit from the anxiety monster. You know the anxiety monster? He’s the guy who helps you worry about one of everything. I’m trying to turn that negative night into a positive by channeling the energy into something entertaining that might make you think a bit about whether you’re a Cameraist or a Photographer.
Oh, and to the best of my knowledge, Cameraist is a term I coined to describe someone who is just interested in capturing images and not so much about making photographs.
If you’re a Cameraist who is easily offended, I beg you to read no further. You will anyway, but I’ve taken care of my responsibilities by warning you.
With all that preamble out of the way, presented below, in traditional count-down order, are the Top Ten ways to separate the Cameraists from the Photographers. Oh, and since it’s my list, I get to editorialize a bit after each of these points.
10. A Cameraist thinks that a histogram is a medical procedure performed on women to help with their “lady issues”. A photographer realizes that a histogram is arguably the single greatest tool built into digital cameras that helps photographers make better photographs.
- Are you afraid of histograms because they look like graphs and remind you of high school math? Get over it, educate yourselfand use this tool to make well exposed photographs.
9. A Cameraist insists on telling you all about how many megapixels their camera has. A photographer realizes it’s about quality instead of quantity.
- Megapixels? Please get over yourself allready. There are lots of images being made with older 4 and 6 megapixel SLR cameras that out perform any micro-sensored Point-n-Pray Megapixlonic 5000 on the market today.
8. A Cameraist thinks that the only thing holding back their image capturing skills is the ability to afford more expensive equipment. A photographer can make a good photograph with whatever equipment is available.
- Don’t believe this is true? Go find a pro and trade cameras with them and shoot the same scene. You won’t believe how much better your camera got.
7. While viewing an event from the 43rd row of a stadium a Cameraist wants to make sure their flash fires to illuminate the scene several stories beneath them oblivious to the fact that the only thing their flash is illuminating is the guy eating a hot dog 5 rows below them. A photographer realizes they’ll never get a great image from the 43rd row (or 10th row for that matter), leaves their camera at home and enjoys the show.
- This is a personal pet peeve that drives me insane. First of all, YOU”RE TOO FAR AWAY!!! Second of all, why do you want a picture of those ants on the stage/field anyway?
6. Cameraists are oblivious to the fact that they may be interfering with a pro photographer trying to do their job. Photographers wouldn’t dream of getting in a pro photographer’s way or interrupting a shoot.
- Go to most any modern wedding and you’ll see the poor pro having to compete with a gaggle of SLR slinging Uncle Jimmies and Aunt Marthas interfering with the pro trying to do his or her job. People! Get over yourself and give the pro room to work. Oh, and no, they don’t need your suggestions either. (Note, this is probably the primary reason I’d never consider photographing a wedding).
5. Camerists think that the “P” mode on their camera stands for Perfect. Photographers actually change their camera’s settings away from fully automatic mode. Oh, and for clarification, automatic mode hereby includes Portrait, Sports, Night, Macro and Backlit modes.
- Yup, sometimes you actually have to THINK to make a photograph. I’m sure this will change when the K-Tel Autocapture 5000 is finally released, but until then, yes, thinking still counts.
4. Camerists expect different results even though they keep repeating the same actions. Photographers learn from their errors and work to perfect their craft.
- If you think you’ll get different results from the same actions, Einstein thinks you’re insane. Look it up.
3. Camerists think everything can be fixed in software. Photographers try to make an image as perfect as possible in the camera.
- Nothing drives me crazier than to hear someone say “Oh, I’ll fix that later in Photoshop”. A lot of people who think they can fix it in Photoshop actually suck at Photoshop. Learn some skills and make a photograph.
2. Camerists believe their friends and relatives who tell them what great images they capture. Photographers constantly seek peer feedback and study other photographers’ work.
- If you only listen to your friends and family you’ll be the world’s greatest photographer, as long as you only live in your own real tiny world. Take some risks and expose your work to a wider audience and you might be surprised by what you can learn.
1. Camerists “capture” images. Photographers make photographs that tell stories.
- Yup stories. It’s kind of an abstract concept of a static image telling a whole story, but think about it and it kind of changes your view of photography.
Have another differentiator to contribute or just want to pick on me because your now a disgruntled Cameraist? Please feel free to contribute a comment.