Eight Annoying Things Photographers Do That Harm the Industry

Eight Annoying Things Photographers Do That Harm the Industry

Let's face it, photographers can be really annoying people. While some of their actions are just mildly tiresome, other things they do are downright harmful to our profession. Are you guilty of any of these wrongdoings?

Having worked for over a decade in the industry, I have crossed paths with many a photographer in my time. I started my career shooting in-house for a large commercial studio and then moved into the world of freelance. During my many incarnations, I have worked alongside a lot of different photographers, and not all those encounters have been positive. They say the world is a small place, and I find the photography industry to be even smaller. It's for this reason that negative experiences surrounding photographers travel like wildfire ,and the reputation of our profession seems to erode away with every bad story, anecdote, or piece of gossip that comes out. Even when a photographer's actions are more annoying than serious, I still regularly find myself rolling my eyes at how some of us "professionals" act. 

In no particular order, here are eight annoying things that photographers do that I believe are harming the industry.

1. By Being Creepy

First on this list of photographer no-nos is the most serious of them all. Being that creepy photographer who ogles the models on a shoot is totally inexcusable. Ask any model who has been working in this industry for some time, and they all will have a story of a photographer who has made them feel uncomfortable. It's the complete opposite of what we should be doing on a shoot, and the negative environment such behavior creates will show in the pictures you make and destroy your reputation forever. People talk and stories stick. If you're serious about having a long career in this industry, then don't be a creep, period.

2. Forgetting Manners

I've seen first hand how people turn into Dr. Jekyll the second they get behind their camera, and it's not pretty. I shouldn't have to say this, but don't forget your manners while on a shoot. It's somewhat of a cliche, but you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, and this is just as true when shooting. I like to think I'm an easy-going, polite, and considerate photographer, and this approach has definitely contributed to the repeat work and long-working relationships I have built up over the years.

3. Name-Dropping Too Much

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay used under Creative Commons.

There's nothing wrong with being excited to have worked with certain clients, creatives, or talent, but name-dropping too much can be a real turn-off for people on a shoot. There's a fine line between being proud and boasting, and you need to tread that line carefully. Like many of the points in this list, creating the best possible working environment will always get you the most favorable results in front of and behind the camera.

4. Not Giving Credit on Social Media

Nothing annoys me more than when photographers don't give credit to all the people that helped to make the picture in question possible. It may only be a small detail, but things like this don't go unnoticed, and it could be harming your working relationships. I recently talked to a photographer who was complaining that they were never tagged in pictures by the clients and creatives they worked with. I later found out that this photographer never bothered to credit people either!

5. Breaking Promises

If a photographer agrees to do something for a person or client, then they should do it. I have lost count of the number of clients I have spoken to that have had unreliable photographers bail on them or not deliver what they promised. This behavior really harms the industry, and it can be hard to rebuild that trust clients have in some photographers. If you really need to break a promise, you must offer an alternative solution in the form of a different photographer recommendation or be able to commit to another date to shoot. We are hired as professionals to solve problems, not cause them.

6. Obsessing Over Gear

While it's ok to get excited about the latest camera body released, it's best to not get too obsessed about gear in front of all the non-photographers you work with. Showing enthusiasm and technical know-how can be reassuring to clients, but it can also be a real bore too. Most people won't understand or care about half the features your new camera has, so best to keep those stats for when you can nerd out with your fellow photographers.

7. Rejecting Any Kind of Criticism or Suggestions

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay used under Creative Commons.

A person who refuses to accept any kind of feedback will create a closed and awkward environment for others to work in. Your team must feel like they are free to add their own thoughts to your shoots without fear of the ideas falling on deaf ears. I have personally been on the receiving end of creatives who refuse criticism or suggestions, and the end result is that I eventually stopped offering my ideas to them. The creative process is always richer when you have more than one perspective on things. Nurture and welcome that input rather than building a wall around yourself.  

8. Telling Lies

Lies will catch up with you sooner rather than later, and most people would rather not work with a liar. As I have already said, the photography industry is a small place, and everyone talks to each other. Thanks to the Internet, untruths have become much easier to spot too. I know of a photographer who claimed a shoot was done in China and boasted about it all over social media. Problem was the rest of the team on the shoot didn't get the memo and disclosed the not-so-exotic location in their own social media posts. While many may think this kind of lie is harmless, it didn't do the photographer in question any favors, and jokes are still made about the event today. When someone is labeled as a liar, it's hard for people to know what is fact and what is fiction anymore. This obviously isn't a great foundation to build a career upon.   

Over to You

So there you have it, the many different ways I have personally found photographers to be annoying and damaging to the industry. While I don't claim to have been holier-than-thou during my career, I have always acted professionally and courteously when working and treated people how I would want to be treated myself. I wouldn't go as far as to say the term "photographer" is a dirty word yet, but its general trajectory seems to be going in the wrong direction. Photographers are definitely not held in the same regard as they used to be now that everyone is a photographer with a camera in their pocket. Unfortunately, this dilution makes it too easy for the world to generalize and to tar us all with the same brush. If you're serious about having a long career in this industry, then you can't be that annoying, unreliable, or creepy photographer. I guarantee that the phone will stop ringing much sooner than you think if you do act in these ways.

This topic is bound to ruffle some feathers and we'd love to hear your thoughts on both sides of this argument. What annoys you about photographers today? Are any of these points defensible? Please leave your comments below.

Lead image by Min An via Pexels used under Creative Commons.

Paul Parker's picture

Paul Parker is a commercial and fine art photographer. On the rare occasion he's not doing photography he loves being outdoors, people watching, and writing awkward "About Me" statements on websites...

Log in or register to post comments

Having a really gimmicky website that drives visitors mad trying to navigate it.

Try square space. With beautiful award winning templates. Use my coupon for 10% off!

"Really annoying things (some) photographers do": promote squarespace at every single opportunity.

True, WIX is way better :-)

Geocities is clearly the best


Why would anybody down vote this!

nothing can beat Angelfire!

Heck, I had to look it up :-). Before my time.

Hey man, people gotta eat. If sponsorships help them continue following their passion, all the power to them.
Besides, it could be worse, they could be pushing “dick pills” 4-5 times a week like one of the podcasts I listen to.

Somebody else deciding to "follow their passion" doesn't make it any less annoying. And another annoying thing: people making sponsored posts without adequate disclosure.

Sounds like you don’t know how running a business works. Some people have to diversify their revenue stream. If you find it annoying that people make money from sponsorships, that’s too bad for you.
Guess we can add crybabies to this list, yeah?

What part of "adequate disclosure" did you fail to understand?

Jordan thinks that the original post I responded too was sponsored. If it was: or if the discount code gives some sort of compensation to the original poster, then that sponsorship/compensation was not declared in that post.

If you "know how running a business works" then running foul of US government agencies like the FTC isn't a very good idea. There is nothing wrong with people diversifying their revenue stream. But if you are going to do that then you should do that within the confines of the law. And it isn't being a "crybaby" to point that out.

You’re assuming what he thinks. It’s clear the post you responded to was a joke. Anyone who thought it was anything other than that is slow.

I know how the FTC works. I don’t know who these people you’re talking about are, but everyone I see promoting squarespace and wix are incredibly open about it being an ad.

Except there is nothing at all in the original post that indicates that "it is an ad." Surely you meant "everyone you see promoting squarespace and wix are incredibly open about it being an ad except the person that we are all talking about here?"

The people "I am talking about" are the people that are in this conversation you've decided to join. Can I suggest spending a couple of minutes actually reading the thread? Let me know when you are all caught up.

Wait? So you actually believe Marcus’ squarespace post is not a joke?
I’ve read every post in this thread.
Literally everyone is joking around, you just don’t seem to be getting it. Do you also believe Evan is shilling for Geocities, because if so, I’ve got some magic beans I’d love to sell you.

Wait: you've gone from:

"Sounds like you don’t know how running a business works. Some people have to diversify their revenue stream. If you find it annoying that people make money from sponsorships, that’s too bad for you.
Guess we can add crybabies to this list, yeah?"



In the space of 3 posts?

I think its obvious to everyone exactly what you are doing here.

-Marcus made a joke about people pushing squarespace masked as an ad for squarespace (A joke seemingly some didn’t get)

-You responded to Marcus’ joke post apparently thinking it was a serous ad.

-Jordan pointed out some people plug sponsorships legitimately (probably not referring to Marcus - given Marcus’ post was an obvious joke)

- you responded to that assuming he thought Marcus’ joke post was serious and he was defending him

- I responded to your response of Jordan’s response (assuming you thought he was talking about legitimate sponsorships, not Marcus’ obvious joke) backing up his point about making legitimate money through legitimate sponsorships.(again, guessing he wasn’t referring to Marcus, given that he has a functioning brain and all)

- you admitted your entire response to him was based on an assumption you made about what he “thinks”, and seemingly continue to fail to understand that Marcus was joking and not seriously promoting squarespace. Then you started talking about the FTC for some reason, which has nothing to do with the legit sponsorships I was responding about (so I can only assume at this point you still didn’t get that Marcus’ post is a joke)

- I responded pointing out as clearly as possible that Marcus was joking and people I watch on YouTube always disclose their sponsorships.

- you continued failing to understand that Marcus was joking. Making your entire argument invalid as you rambled on about the jokes in the thread as if they were real ads. like someone was actually promoting Geocities... in 2019

- I try to confirm one las time that you understand Marcus was joking and not actually promoting his nonexistent promo code.

- you still don’t seem to understand Marcus was joking.

- I realize I’m talking to someone slower than I thought.

That about sums it up, right?

LOL. Why are you taking this so seriously? How long did it take you to write that? Did you actually expect me to read it?

Given that Marcus’ joke was too advanced for your brain, I’m it surprised you can’t read.

Are you still going?

“Are you still going?” - the battle cry of those proven wrong, but too sad to admit it.
I’m done now. But be sure to use my Squarespace promo-code for 10% off your first purchase

"I'm done now." The battle cry of the defeated. Bye!

Some people just go woosh

Good lord, what a beautiful disaster I’ve created. This is a reminder why it’s best not to assume you know what others think, lest you make an absolute fool of yourself.

For the record: I was referring to legitimate squarespace ads. I thought that Marcus’ joke was so obvious I didn’t have to state I was talking about people like Thomas Heaton, not the obvious joke post/posts, or people breaking advertising disclaimer regulations... it actually hurts my brain that I had to clarify I don’t support breaking the law, but alas, here we are.

Don’t worry. Those of us with a brain knew what you were getting at in your original post. The fact that he didn’t seem to know Marcus’ post was a joke and responded so harshly is all you need to know about his intellect.

Could be, but like I said, people gotta eat, and feed their families. I just skip all ad reads in every podcast I listen to and every YouTuber I watch. Either way, they get paid, so I don’t mind hitting the skip button once or twice unless it’s something that actually interests me, or they do the ad read in an entertaining way

Remember, behind every squarespace and wix site is a person who didn't find it necessary to hire a human to build a site for them. It is sadly ironic that people who want to make it in the creative arts world don't find it necessary to pay anyone who works in the creative arts world. I get that people want something for near nothing, don't want to hassle with another person who might not get it right, but as I told a drummer who chose wix over hiring a designer, "thats why I have a drum machine now!" We need to pay each other for work. Just like we don't want people to assume photography is easy, anyone can do it, there's no need to pay a professional, the same is true for these other efforts.

I can see where you’re coming from, but unfortunately you can’t just group all uses into one category like that. That would be like saying “everyone who eats fast food doesn’t think it’s necessary to cook”. I mean, that’s true for some people, but other people might only have time for fast food on that particular day.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I use squarespace, and it has nothing to do with “not finding it necessary” to pay through the nose to get someone else to do it, and everything to do with “this is a better investment and fit for me at this point in time”. It’s a clean, simple, starter site and it’s a better investment while I try to get my foot into the industry. It’s the same reason I didn’t buy a pro camera right out the gate, because it would have been a bad investment at the time. You know, learn to walk before you run, and all that stuff.

It’s less of a “drum machine” and more of a starter drum kit rental with an entry level music sheet. With it I can do a simple drum beat myself, rather than hire a professional to play a simple drum beat.

But again, I do get where you’re coming from.

Squarespace and Wix are a good alternative to the "web guys" who I have hired in the past. They had a tendency to disappear, take forever to do things like add a page, or not pay hosting fees so my site would disappear once in awhile.
I would rather have a site that I can work with on my own. Change whatever I want when I want.
Another thing is that the clients I know are familiar with Squarespace, how it works and how to navigate thru most of the templates. Most are clean and stylish in a mainstream sort of way. Viewers don't need to look for secret over designed navigation links.

It was a joke. I don't mind people pushing it but everyone that I watch and listen to pushes Squarespace. It's like getting on a plane and listening to the safety announcement. All airplanes do it. You just accept it. I'm all for money making better YouTube channels and podcasts for sure and take the money.

I tell you what I didn't like was. YOU NEED A WEBSITE pre roll advert on almost every video on YouTube because I battered that skip button every time.

Jordan, I understand that view. I don't have to pay a web developer, graphic artist, videographer, photographer, 3d artist or cyber security person because I can do those things. But that said, I know that for 20+ I've worked for artists almost exclusively to keep these tools available to them at a very affordable rate because I find these sites like Wix, Squarespace etc disappear and leave the artist hanging. It takes time but ultimately the costs are nearly the same.
Now, the "do it myself" aspect, I completely relate to, but not everyone can or would do that, so I think it is necessary for people to find someone responsible (taking in account Mike Ditz experience) and be cooperative. Hobbyists needn't rack up fees for their hobby but professionals should budget to have an affordable and self-contained option. Just like other hired tasks, we can be wise about the hiring choice.

Like the posts we read about freebie asks for photographers, other creatives are going through the same problem and it has consequences that expand beyond their medium.
I appreciate the disagreement as a way for us to share and learn from each other.

I love the internet and this thread.

Interesting topic! While I certainly agree that the behaviours listed are annoying, and perhaps even harmful to the industry, I do not think these are the most annoying or harmful by well... a long shot!

Let me take a stab at this. The article listed 8 things, so let me list my 8 annoying things that I see photographers do that harm our industry.

1. Complain. I know being a photographer today is difficult, and sometimes it's hard to make ends meet. But the aroma coming from out industry is rather negative — and that doesn't help.

2. Suffer from victim mentality. Photographers have more power than they know; but they feel weak and insignificant, and perceive the client to be powerful and strong.

3. They can't handle the rejection if a client says 'no thanks.'

4. They can't handle the tension that is a normal part of healthy negotiation with the client

5. They are willing to lower the price further and further, often so that it sinks below cost, just to get the project.

6. They give away work for free all the time

7. They assume an outsider should understand their reality, and are loathe to offer explanation. They do not see that a little education can do wonders to build a good relationship with a client.

8. They invest lots of time in learning better photography skills, and obtaining better equipment. They spend no attention on personal development. Better communication skills, for instance, would make a huge difference in the business of a lot of us!

Shift your number 8 to be your number 1 and it becomes a root problem followed by a cascade of symptoms.

Fair point!

I totally agree with you except on one point, everything you write is not specific to photographers, it's the same for most creatives.

Complaining about "tourists" when visiting popular sites. I've watched too many videos in which the photographer feels they have to differentiate and elevate themselves over other people enjoying the same location. Your attempt to document or photograph a beautiful scene should never impede others' opportunities to enjoy it in person. They've hiked the same trail, paid the same entrance fee, done the same research and have every bit the same right to be there.

I honestly cannot understand how someone in their right mind could down vote this comment.

Because that person thinks they are better than everyone else around them and that comment hurt their feelings.

They may not have paid the same fee. I believe some pay more to use their tripod...

Depends...if I paid for a film permit to exclusively shoot somewhere, and some joker rolls up and tries to do a shoot in the same location, I'm calling park rangers. Tourists are fine, but other photogs can pound sand.

if you have paid to reserve a location and have exclusivity, then other photog or tourist it doesn't matter. They are not welcome. You have every right to be angry about that.

Leaving comments like “nice pic” and “great shot” is the worst.

that's called bots

Lovely comment. Keep up the hard work!

Love your content! DM us to collaborate!

*fire emoji**fire emoji**fire emoji**raise hands emoji”

Or "nice work check out my portfolio" (deliberately with bad punctuation)

Using a flash during a concert

More comments