How Being A Photographer Is Annoying As Much As Rewarding

How Being A Photographer Is Annoying As Much As Rewarding

I sometimes find photographers annoying. I consider myself a skilled photographer. I annoy myself. I take photos while traveling and also while I’m at home. There are so many things irritating me more and more while doing both of these things.

At home, clients can be rude and inconsiderate: agreeing on a set date months in advance and then deciding to have no courtesy to let me know they are no longer interested, simply ignoring all of my messages and disappearing off the face of the Earth. Even though I have really reasonable rates for great, quality photos, it never seems good enough. I give people a fantastic deal time and time again, and when they come back for more photos, they expect the same rate or even less. (This is not including the photos I take for family members. Family photos are always freebies and I’m happy to do them). There is just no appreciation that, though small, this is a business of mine and my time is valuable. These are the people I have been attracting lately, and it can be really discouraging. But that is just people being people, unfortunately.

Now when I’m traveling, I of course am not working with any clients, rather snapping away at several landscapes, locals, and foods. While I do love challenging myself to get that perfect photo, or sifting through photo memories after I return home, again, there a several annoyances I have:

High Expectations

No matter where I go, I always have this cloud hanging over me that is telling me to always be on the lookout for the perfect shot, to always be ready to make the capture. While encouraging and exciting at first, after a while it can become quite tiresome. I feel like it’s my job to always get the best shots and it only amps up when I am traveling and am surrounded by all these amazing sights and scenes. But, it isn’t my job – I’m not a professional travel photographer. Yet I still feel those unnecessarily high expectations. Sometimes I just want to simply enjoy being where I am without having to worry about missed photo opportunities and then regret those lost opportunities.

There are also the people that are constantly asking you to take a photo. “Did you see that? Are you going to get that? You should get that. Did you get it?” While I appreciate your faith in my photographic abilities, it further adds to my struggle of finding the perfect balance.

Heavy Equipment

If you own a DSLR, of course you know it’s much heavier than your iPhone or compact digital camera, but when you add your lenses and other equipment to the mix, the struggle of the weight and bulkiness becomes real. My favourite lens is very heavy, and I worry that it will be yanked from me or that I’m going to accidentally drop it and smash the thing to pieces. It’s an extra hassle to deal with when you’re traveling.

Blocks “Being in the Moment”

I don’t always want to be viewing the world through my lens, and that is usually the case when you’re an aspiring photographer. There is that separation between you peering through your lens and the moment happening right in front of you. I believe that you really must learn to know when to put the camera down, and simply enjoy being in the moment. I’m still learning how to perfect this and if you are a photographer as well then you know how difficult it can be! With these recent realizations of mine though, I know I am getting better.

Stand Out Obnoxiously

There isn’t a better way to unsuccessfully feel like a local than to wander around and point your camera at everyone and everything. The thing I love most about traveling is going to a place where all the locals hang out, like a food market for instance. I love to walk alongside the locals and feel like I blend in with them, but at the same time I’m also torn because food markets always have remarkable sights and scenes that I desperately want to capture on film in order to share.

Solo Hobby

It’s usually one step forward and a hundred steps back when you are spending the day with someone who isn’t a photographer. The person you’re with is constantly coming to an abrupt halt, wondering where you went, when you stopped walking several minutes ago to take a photo of a building or a friendly dog that has come to greet you. Now you notice they are waiting for you and you try to hurry up but then you realize you don’t want to hurry up so you yell that you’ll catch up with them. Now it’s just you and your camera again. I’m surprised I don’t have a name for mine yet.

Clearly, I am frustrated, and I found myself becoming more and more so as I continued to write this post. I feel like I’m losing faith in photography. So I think it’s definitely time to reflect on why all these irritations become worthwhile:

Because I love it.

I love my camera and I love capturing special moments. More than that I love the sharing aspect that comes with photography. I love helping people gain insight into a place I really enjoyed, and quality photography is possibly the simplest and most inspiring way to do that.

When I first told people I was traveling to Croatia, I received a lot of puzzled looks and exclamations of “Why? Why would you want to go there!?” People had the idea in their head that Croatia was a barren war zone with no appeal whatsoever, thinking I was nuts for wanting to visit there. I was thrilled to show these people the amazing scenes I captured in Croatia, helping inform these people that a) they had no idea what they were talking about and b) Croatia is a beautiful country, one of my very favourites. I had similar reactions when I informed people I was traveling to Laos and Cambodia, and currently when I express interest in traveling to Vietnam and Japan.

I’m a very open-minded person, and this quality is heightened during my travels. I always like to give a place the benefit of the doubt, always being open to the unique and seemingly strange ways of a country. Photography helps me show others to be more open-minded also. I really like that. I like debunking people’s inaccurate views of a certain place, country, or travel as a whole itself.

Traveling is a beautiful thing, and the world really isn’t as scary a place as the media and other uneducated people would have you believe.

vintagecamera

Author

My passion for capturing memories through the lens of my camera, my love for food and the joy I find in reflecting on my travel memories using a pen and paper results in a series of blog entries filled with warmth, pure happiness and inspiration. I hope to share a little bit of myself and my adventure of life with you.

52 comments

  • I really enjoyed reading your post. I’m not a photographer, but I do take photos for my blog and hope that I get better at it every day. Which means being annoying, eating cold food at restaurants and so on. But the rewards for getting the perfect shot in the end – so worth it.

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  • I can understand all all your frustrations, but get the feeling that the love and joy you get from what you do outweighs them (fortunately!), Your perfectionism is probably also a help to you taking fabulous shots, so it’s not all bad!

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  • I can so relate to much of your rant. I’ve become obsessed with photography and have been carrying around a Canon SX50HS for the last couple of years. My heart leaps at shadows and light. I too have frustrated companions by stopping to capture something or someone. I also know that feeling like the camera, that search for the shot, gets in the way of just being. But being a travel writer forces me to engage so there’s some balance. Can’t say I’m aspiring to be professional. I’m just so grateful to have this tool that’s so easy and compliant. (My shoulders ache still!)

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  • I always struggled with the being in the moment aspect… and I love your honesty in how being a photographer can be annoying. I remember five years ago I yelled at my friend on vacation because she wanted to take pictures constantly while I just wanted to have fun… fast forward a couple years and my first DSLR and I suddenly understood everything >.<

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  • I really enjoy reading this post! I have to admit, I am no expert at taking photography and all my life I thought it was a quick snap. It wasn’t until I got my gopro last year and having photographer friends when I learn the importance of a great picture. Although it can be annoying, it is well rewarding to yourself at the end when you do have great pictures :)

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  • One of the other annoying things about being a photographer is that whenever you take pictures among your friends, your terrorized the next day on social media by people screaming at you: PHOTOOOOOS, we want PHOTOOOOOOS!
    Being photographer is intense!!!
    http://therussianabroad.com

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  • What an interesting post. So many people see the life of a photographer as glamorous, without realising all the downsides to it. I love this: Traveling is a beautiful thing, and the world really isn’t as scary a place as the media and other uneducated people would have you believe. We keep telling people this all the time, I wish more would realise what a wonderful world we live in!

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  • Though far from a photographer aha I can relate this to some of my own personal hobbies. I think in life we’re sometimes all too critical when it’s something we enjoy doing and can lose ourselves in our passion and work!

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  • Oh man. I’m sure most other travelers can relate to this. I’m not a professional photographer by any means, but I’m constantly falling behind the group when I go out with hometown friends. There is so much to see and capture, and photos are one of the best souvenirs I can have. I too struggle with being in the moment. I caught myself filming a fireworks show, but watching it through the lens to make sure it stayed in the frame. It’s definitely hard to admit that it’s time to put the camera away. Thanks for addressing something that I’m sure plagues many travel bloggers.

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    • Especially for something like fireworks, they always seem so lackluster if you watch them on TV instead of just being there. I bet it’s the same through the lens of a camera even!

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  • I used to photograph concerts for music magazines and now i’s ruined my experience of going to concerts. If I go just to watch a band and not photograph i’m constantly seeing amazing shots that I could have taken if I was photographing it!

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  • We wish we knew our camera better. Right now we just snap and feel we should be taking better photos. So, We always admire Photographers such as yourself who takes it a bit more seriously and takes amazing photos!

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  • Great post, I am not a professional photographer myself but I can totally feel your pain.I think the hardest thing is switching off and just being in and enjoying the moment you are in rather than feeling like you have to record every single thing.

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  • I hear you on “being in the moment”. I’ve made a pledge this year to worry less about the perfect photo and more about the memory. As a result, my photos have suffered but I’m taking in more. I actually had the same pledge regarding blog posts. I was becoming so consumed with pleasing followers that I was forgetting the most important part. Enjoying the trip! Of course I’ll have to step it all back up soon but there is quite a relief in throwing caution to the wind.

    As far as your work/time having monetary worth, you fight for that! People might whine and dicker with you but I’m sure they know the value of your work and would pay a fair price in the end. This is business and I’m sure you are very reasonable.

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  • heavy equipment I think is the biggest one for us! When I met my husband abroad we was traveling with two backpacks. His smaller day pack held his clothes lol and the large backpack was all of his camera gear! We since ended up moving to point and shoots – the Canon SX 40 is AMAZING quality for a little camera and you don’t have to haul around the equipment!

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  • I feel pressure from blogging to take good photos, but the thing is, whilst I want photos so I can remember the place, I don’t care enough to make sure they’re perfect or to fork out for a DSLR. I think it’s great when people can turn something they’re good at creatively into a business, and make money from something they enjoy, don’t get me wrong! It just ain’t for me, haha. I don’t mind waiting for people who are photographer’s either, because whilst you might feel like you’re not in the moment taking photos of everything, you’re making me pause for a few moments to be in that moment ;) so I think that is a good thing :)

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  • Haha, first off, loved the post. It’s the classic debate between being a travel blogger and getting what moments you want on film. I agree, it can definitely be frustrating at times (especially when you’re with someone who isn’t a photographer) but it’s well worth it when you can look back at the moments you managed to catch on film.

    People love photos almost as much as they love the adventure. Keep at it girl! ;-)

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  • Oh man DSL-R’s are SO heavy even without all the extra lenses. I frequently find myself just travelling with an 18-55mm because it seems to do the majority of the trick. Adding my telephoto lens breaks my neck on long days. But…pretty, pretty pictures. Love/hate for sure.

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  • I completely understand! When I was taking pictures on the first day of my cruise with my sister, she said “Is it going to be like this for the entire trip?!” because I was taking too many photos apparently. Oh well! I really enjoy taking photos and practicing and then also blogging with them! :) But yes, I’d like to take a step back sometimes and appreciate things more in the moment without snapping pictures, I think we can all be guilty not doing that enough (especially me!).

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  • I can so relate to that! When I travel half of my backpack takes the whole photography equipment, so annoying!! But I love it so it’s worth it ;)

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  • I love this post. I have the same feelings and thoughs than you. I love travel and I love taking pictures too and sometimes those questions come to my mind too.
    But like you, I think I will continue doing it, trying to get pictures as good as yours.

    Reply

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