As a photographer, you inevitably meet a lot of other photographers in the industry. As much as I am not a fan of putting anyone in a box, it is still lots of fun and can make for some great jokes. In this article, I will do just that: list the seven most common photographer types I met.
There are a lot of stereotypes about photography, being a fashion photographer, I am perhaps exposed to them a bit more than the food photographer. When I meet people who don’t work in fashion and mention that I am a fashion photographer, it is assumed that I am in relationships with the models. This happened so many times, that I get annoyed by the question and do a visible eye roll. The answer, perhaps somewhat disappointing for someone who wants to get in on the “action”, is that I am with someone who isn’t even in the fashion industry. What is more, I purposely separate work and relationships to keep things professional. I am dating a model though, not by job title, but by looks.
Without further ado, let’s get into the five most common photographer types.
While being on the topic of photographers with questionable behavior, some people start photography not for the artistic pleasure, but rather as a different one. Some time ago, I wrote an article on what is and what isn’t fashion photography. In it, I hinted that it is wrong to call yourself a fashion photographer if all you do is photograph naked girls in sexy poses. While boudoir photography is not a creepy genre, if anything I have also photographed nude work. There is such thing as creepy nude photographers.
Models all over the world have shared countless stories of photographers who were acting seductively around them. What is more, even world-class models such as Emily Rajtakovski came out with allegations of sexual assault against photographers who they worked with.
This is probably the worst type of photographer to be on this list.
What frame rate does the Nikon Z9 shoot at? How does the sharpness of the EF 16-35 III compare to RF 15-35? Can I shoot 8K on an R5 without overheating? You know the person I am talking about, the person who should make money selling cameras, not shooting them. This photographer is likely to also own too much gear, but also complain about not having enough gear to do what they want.
They are the folks who take it as a personal offense when someone doesn’t use the brand they do. For example, people that hate on a particular brand for no reason. While I do use Profoto for most work, because I like the flashes, I am happy to work with Broncolor or anything else that can get the job done how I need it. Probably the same reason I use Canon and not Nikon or Sony. I just happened to pick up my dad’s Canon EOS300, break it, and then save up for a new one because I didn’t know about other cameras. I would use Nikon if I picked up a Nikon. After all, there is little to no difference in what cameras do for me, since there hasn’t been a bad camera since 2009 and now it’s the only brand name that makes one device different from the other.
These are the opposite of the gear-head. Their work is probably nothing like what you’ve seen before and will ever see.
They are usually pretentious and will constantly complain that nobody understands their art. In their eyes, they are the next Helmut Newton, and their art will comment on what art comments best on: “society”.
They will pretend to be famous even if all they did is photograph their mate’s wedding. If done right, being a photographer can be a good way to attract attention to yourself. They are the person who is concerned more with how good they look on the shoot than with how good the photos are. It is almost like the act of picture-taking is a side-activity to give an exposure excuse to show off themselves. If someone is grabbing more selfies with the models, subjects, and themselves. Living the glamorous photographer lifestyle, without actually being a photographer.
Do they have a film camera? Do they only shoot expired films from the 90s? Do they only shoot petrol stations at night? They might be a hipster photographer. To find a hipster, just go to any artisan coffee shop, you’ll see them right away. While there is nothing wrong with shooting film, even expired film, there are a lot of other things that can be actually creative and not boring “Instaworthy” pics.
The iPhone Pro
They will tell you that all you need now is an iPhone. And they are not wrong. I don’t take my camera everywhere I go. If anything I will take a Profoto C1 light instead and have good flash anywhere I want. It does make for some pretty cool iPhone photos. I have even photographed things with an iPhone and professional flash. But there is a clear divide between people who say that phones are equally as good, and people who like using them but understand that professional cameras are still needed.
If someone is going on how their phone is better than photographers, and how they see the job becoming obsolete because of AI, politely inquire whether AI can be as creative as a human being, and how many years it would take for small sensors to become as good as big sensors. The answer is, no matter how good the software is, there are hardware limitations in phones. The iPhone is good, but it’s not everything.
Alright, you got me. This one is perhaps me. I religiously say that DSLRs are not as bad they people make them seem. I feel like the debate is fueled by camera marketing companies in the first place. If mirrorless works for you, good! Some people just don’t need to upgrade, but I digress. I am a DSLR evangelist, or perhaps just an “upgrade when you need” evangelist. That’s up to you to decide.
Do you know any photographers who can fall into these categories? I would love to know in the comments!