How to avoid being labelled with one of these photographer clichés

How to avoid being labelled with one of these photographer clichés

Silhouette of the photographer byJaromir Chalabala

Are you guilty of any of these photographer clichés? If you answer yes, now is the time to change

Being a photographer can be incredibly rewarding. Whether you are a pro or just starting out, it is also good to always get into good habits of doing things. And that means avoiding some of these clichés that some photographers fall into. So here are 7 labels to avoid.

1 Taking photos at any cost

A walk in the woods. Photo by Nick

Over the years I have come across a whole variety of photographers. Most are courteous, polite, and often, more considerate of others and the environment than non-photographers. But like anything, there are also some photographers who are willing to take photos at any cost. Even if that means breaking the rules or worst causing damage to the environment. For example, this might be as simple as flying a drone where you are not allowed to. Sure, you might get away with it, but if enough people break the rules of flying a drone, blanket bans will come in for everyone. And needless to say, if taking a photo means damaging the environment, then it’s not worth it.

2 Being all about you

Photographer. Photo by James Allen - f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/200s

The above point is about potentially damaging the environment or even potentially harming other photographers in the future, but there is also other people’s enjoyment to think about as well. Just because someone has a camera in their hand doesn’t give them any more rights to a place than other people. So if someone is taking a photo give them the same courtesy that you would like. I mention this because I recently saw a photographer practically shove a woman out of the way for a photo. So always be considerate of others and remember that they have as much right to enjoy a place or an experience as you do.

3 Being a shrinking violet

Photographer and his model. Photo by Imagerisium - f/1.4 | ISO 200 | 1/640s

Being courteous and considerate of others doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stand your ground against other people, more experienced photographers and even people like unreasonable security guards. Don’t be shy and make sure that you get the photos that you want to take and are entitled to. For example, if you are taking a photo of something and there is another photographer who is getting agitated, don’t let them bully you out of the space. Take your time and capture the photo that you want to take.

This also extends to when you want to approach strangers to take their photos. Often one of the most common fears that newbie photographers have is that they are afraid to photograph strangers. But you really don’t need to be shy or scared. Be confident and don’t feel intimidated by other more experienced photographers.

4 Settling for a photo

Photographers demonstrating. Photo by Ralf Zeigermann - f/6.3 | ISO 800 | 1/100s

If you have ever taken a photo, and said to yourself, “that will do”, then this tip is for you. Whether you are photographing wildlife, sport or landscapes, you should always aim to capture the very best photo that you possibly can. If that means waiting around for a couple of hours, then you should do it if you can. Of course, there are times when you simply can’t wait, and you have to leave.

But what I can tell you from personal experience is that most of the best photos I have ever taken took time to plan but also usually lots of waiting for the right conditions. Sometimes, I even had to return again and again until I took the right photo. And there are some shots that I still have managed to capture even after years of returning to a location.

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5 Blaming the world

Photographers. Photo by Claudia - f/5 | ISO 100 | 1/200s

“If only I had a better camera, my photos would be better”. This is something that I hear a lot from newbie photographers who often feel that it is their camera that is holding them back. If you feel the same way, let me put this to you. Do you think that a better camera will help your composition? Or will it help you find the right light to shoot in? A better camera also doesn’t necessarily mean that your photos will be sharp and in focus. And it’s not just camera equipment that people blame. The weather, other people and I even heard one photographer once blame the local wildlife.

If you really want to improve your photos, you need to stop blaming things that are outside your control. This also means that you should stop blaming your camera gear as well. Instead, focus on why you are not happy with your photos in the first place and work on improving those aspects instead of blaming everyone.

6 Know it all

Photographer catching the sunrise. Photo by Rod Hill - f/5 | ISO 100 | 1/250s

Whether you are a seasoned photographer or just starting out, I believe that everyone should be open to learning and trying out new things. And photography is no different. Over the last few years, I have expanded my skill set by learning to shoot aerial photos using a drone. I have also begun to learn more and more about videography and editing videos. So, don’t ever be arrogant enough to close yourself to learning more by thinking that you know it all – especially if the person giving the advice is more experienced at what they are doing than you are. Because the chances are that you may just be missing out on some great advice.

7 Judging other photographers

Photographers at sunrise. Photo by Charlotte Smith - f/9 | ISO 100 | 1/160s

The flip side to being a “know it all” is to constantly judge other people and their work. Unfortunately, this is one of the major downsides of social media. People feel that they can criticise freely without any limitations or implications. So don’t be one of those photographers who are constantly judging other photographers whether it’s online or in the field. Keep in mind that everyone has different tastes and may also want to get something different out of their photography than you.

As I mentioned at the start of this article, most photographers don’t fall into any of these categories. But if you have one of these habits, it might be a good time to change things. You never know, you may just see an improvement in your photography as a result.