Five Annoying Moments in Photography!

Five Annoying Moments in Photography!

We have all been there! Out and about on a photo shoot, trying to photograph a beautiful landscape or during a portrait session, and then something happens, which annoys you to your core. Join me in this article as I discuss some of the frustrations I have experienced. 

Cellphone Copycats

One evening, I fancied photographing a beautiful lighthouse in New Brighton, UK at sunset as the tide was coming in. I was all set up, $3,000 camera gear on tripod, amazing light and scenes all around me, when suddenly, a man walks right up beside me, pulls out his cellphone, and quickly snaps an image. The man, happy with his shot, turns to me and shows me the photo and says, "nailed it."

Like, seriously dude! Yes, cellphones are capable of capturing nice images under the right conditions, but you do not just stroll up to a photographer and take the mickey in that way! Me being me, I was just like: "yeah, good job mate" and let him carry on about his day. I could not help but be amused at the cheekiness of this person and his outright bluntness, but at the same time, it was annoying because the person could not help themselves by trying to rub it in. 

Of course, it is not really a big deal, and it was just silly, so I do not hold a grudge by any means, and as soon as the moment was over, I could just laugh about it.

Perch Rock Lighthouse in New Brighton, UK

Get Down!

Last year, I travelled to the Isle of Mull, Scotland in the hope of photographing otters. Each day, myself and fellow photographer Adam Russell would head out on the road, driving along the beautiful coastline, looking for these iconic creatures.

One morning, we are driving along, and I spot an otter diving in the loch. I shout out to Adam to stop the car so I can make a dash for the shoreline. I duck down behind a large boulder, as field craft is very important with wildlife photography. We want to ensure there is minimal disturbance to the wildlife by staying as invisible and quiet as possible while also keeping downwind of them. 

I had a great position, and I was photographing a family of four otters. Behind me, I noticed another car was driving slowly along the road, looking for otters as well. The driver then spots me as I was still behind a boulder, and he parks in a passing place (this alone is a big no-no on the Isle of Mull), he leaves the engine running, and loudly gets out of his car and approaches the otters. The man had no idea what he was doing, and I could see the otters were getting startled. I waited until the otters took a dive for more food, and then I shouted at the guy to "get down!" 

Thankfully, he did get down, and I later explained to him about using field craft techniques to photograph wildlife such as otters. 

Isle of Mull Otters

Forgotten SD Cards

Now, this is not something where someone else has annoyed me, but more so where I have annoyed myself! I'm sure many of us have been there. You head out with the hope of photographing something, you reach your destination, and get your camera out. Thinking you have everything ready, you press the shutter button, only to get that dreaded message "Please insert SD card" or something along those lines. Of course, silly sausage here, left my SD card back at home, about a one-hour drive away, so the shoot was pretty much ruined!

Needless to say, that is a mistake I've never made again, and I always ensure that I have spare cards in both of my camera bags no matter what. 

What Was That Sound?

A few years ago now on Christmas Day, my wife and I drove to a small village in Scotland to get some shots at night, as it was very foggy and atmospheric. I was happily photographing away and was stoked with some of the images I captured. I packed up and put my stuff in the car. 

We proceeded to drive away and suddenly heard a couple of loud bangs on the roof of the car, but then, it stopped. We assumed it was the low tree branches near us that hit the roof, so we just carried on. 

Fast-forward a week, and I was heading out for another shoot. I started looking for my tripod everywhere, but to no avail. I searched the house high and low, and then thought: "Oh, I last used it on Christmas Day, so maybe it is still in the car."

Nope, silly me, I left it on the roof of the car, and that is a tripod I never got back! Annoyed! My own fault, though, and just like the forgotten SD cards situation, this was a mistake that I will make sure will never happen again. 

Stupid Filters

I don't know about you, but if you do a portrait session with a client and deliver beautiful images, is there anything worse than the client putting a stupid filter on it and sharing it on Facebook, ruining the art that you have created? Not only have they ruined the aesthetics of your image, but if they tag you on their edited version of it, it makes you look crap! 

While that has only happened to me only once or twice in so many years of shooting, crikey, it is annoying! I have heard of lots of other photographers who have had issues like that too as well.

Customers: Once you receive those edited images, please do not re-edit them!

Ashleigh is a fantastic dancer I work with, and thankfully, she does not re-edit our images.


So yeah, there have been a few things over the past several years that I've found annoying, some from other people and a few self-inflicted situations. We all make mistakes and can be annoyed by them, but these things happen. Forgetting SD cards or losing a tripod is not the end of the world. They bother you at the time, but que sera sera. 

I would love to hear some of your stories down below at things that have happened to you by others or even things you have done.

Greg Sheard's picture

Greg Sheard is a Scottish based photographer, focusing on wildlife, landscape and portrait work. Greg's mission in life is too help those who suffer with mental health issues and be a voice for the millions of people around the world who need that care, attention and awareness.

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On some places one can find public observation towers, which easily get crowded in summertime. I tend to get a feeling for the scene, find what I like get in cam, take the pictures and leave the spot for others.
What annoys me most are people just standing there without even looking at wildlife, the scenery or whatever, they carry on eating, answering phone calls and don't move an inch for others to simply enjoy the view for a moment. They could do that everywhere else too, but such observation towers are for, well, observation. It's not a parking lot for disrespectful idiots (Wikipedia says: The word "idiot" comes from the Greek noun ἰδιώτης idiōtēs 'a private person, individual' (as opposed to the state), 'a private citizen' (as opposed to someone with a political office), 'a common man', 'a person lacking professional skill, layman', later 'unskilled', 'ignorant',...).

Oh yes, that is a good one and I have certainly had similar situations!

People ruin everything. Great article! Sucks about the guy in Mull, saw that too often on my visit there.

It happens far too often and I will be back there again soon, hopefully will be quieter out of season.

Trying to take night sky images with flashlight guy shining his light everywhere. Happened to me last night so the irritation is fresh.

Ah yes, that is a bad one too and has happened to me several times

"This was a mistake that I will make sure will never happy again."

Fine, now about your typo... :)

Oops, it will not happy again ;)

When I was on a photo tour in the Kalahari, I had "parked" my (rather expensive) Leica binoculars on the roof of the car during a stop. Of course, I got back in the car and forgot about the binoculars on the roof. After 10 km of rough corrugations, I wanted to reach for my binoculars on the passenger seat at another stop - they weren't there. Thinking briefly, I got out and looked on the roof without much hope. There it was, just as I had left it 10 km before. Unbelievable. But unfortunately it wasn't the last time I left something on the roof of the car ...

Yep same mistake I made with my tripod, but thank god you managed to retrieve those binos!

Oh dear, what else happened?

Hi Greg,

it took me another 2 lenses and 1 pair of sunglasses to learn my lessons permanently.

ouch! I'm sorry to hear that happened!