Things Photographers Say And What They Really Mean

Take the following with a grain of salt, it’s meant to be more fun than anything.  Obviously there is no way to know what people actually are thinking when they say things…  Unless…  No, there isn’t.  Enjoy.

“I only shoot in Manual Mode”  Every time I hear this I hear Thurston Howell the third’s voice from Gilligan’s Island.  What it really means is “I’m feeling a bit insecure about my abilities as a photographer so I overcompensate by making it sound like I know what I’m doing”.  Look, there is a reason why manual isn’t the only option on a “professional” camera.

“I only shoot natural light”  99% of the time this translates directly into “I’ve never attached a flash to a camera before, why start now”.  There are exceptions.

“If you don’t have a portfolio website then you aren’t going to land any big clients”  First, I think you’re nuts if you don’t have a portfolio website and want to be a professional.  Second, it’s certainly not required to land clients.  Some of my largest clients actually came from Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr.  The exact translation goes like this “I have not landed any big clients yet, but when I do it will be because I spent all of my time on my portfolio website and very little time marketing, photographing, networking, etc.”.

“You need a DSLR because they are bigger than mirror-less cameras and clients always think bigger is better”  means “My photography isn’t super great so I compensate by trying to look like I know what I’m doing”.  These photographers usually drive big trucks too…  I kid.

“DSLR’s are dead, mirror-less cameras are the future”  Seriously, you can’t enter a photography forum without reading some numbnutz blasting this in all caps these days.  This really means “I own a mirror-less camera and I really like it, I like it better than my old DSLR…  So it’s better.  It’s better than my old DSLR and every other DSLR that I’ve never used…  Because it is…”.

“You can’t make much money as a photographer”  How many times have you heard that?  Probably a lot if you were ever interested in making a living being a professional photographer.  When I hear or read those words I instantly think of Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh.  That depressed little donkey would have said the same thing while Pooh and Christopher Robin (who in real life would have been mauled to death by his best friend the freaking bear) were out making lots of money with their new camera business they set up as a LLC in Poohs house.  The translation is “I tried and gave up, so obviously nobody can do it”.

“[Insert Camera Manufacturer’s Name] is better!”  The translation of this one is actually a little surprising…  It actually reads like this: “I’ve fully invested in [Manufacturer] gear and am really hoping that was a good choice… No, it was the best choice…  Wasn’t it?  The internet forums need to hear about what a great choice I’ve made.  I hope it was a great choice…”

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3 replies on “Things Photographers Say And What They Really Mean”
  1. LOL. I run into these all the time. I try to avoid these types of photographers. I also like trolling the forums and blogs. I post things like “Small sensor cameras are dead. Medium format cameras are the future!” or rewritten their glowing post about [Manufacturer] by rewriting these sentences and replacing it with another manufacturers name. Hilarious.

    I’d rather learn how to make my photography better than talk about gear. Nothing wrong with a gear discuss so long as one doesn’t blames poor photography on the gear.

    1. says: Lewsh

      Mr. Williams hits the nail on the head with the last sentence of his commentary. Perfectly said. Thank you for telling the bottom line truth.

  2. says: EdC

    Well done hopefully I am not being pretentious if I submit 2 more:

    I shoot film because …
    An open letter to (insert group here that never reads photo forums) followed by a lot of self entitlement prose.

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