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:
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.
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.
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.