You Know You’re Travelling with a Photographer When…

It doesn’t matter if they’re a professional or an amateur, photographers aren’t the easiest people to travel with. They get up at strange hours, they like to pack a lot of crap, and they’ll likely keep you waiting around because photography is serious business…

I should know, I married a camera-totting redhead who also happens to be into video. You can only imagine how much time I have spent waiting around while he goes trigger happy around a new town. Well, long enough to get into photography myself and actually learn a thing or two, that’s how long.

If you’ve ever travelled with a photography aficionado, you can probably relate to a few of these:

You have to leave early because it takes twice as long to get anywhere.

Not only will you be chasing light when you travel with a photographer, but you’ll also be going at a snail’s pace. Getting from your hotel to that little restaurant a couple of streets away could take you an hour. I mean it.

How does it happen?

“Just one second, I’m going to grab my camera in case I see something along the way…”

See something along the way, huh? Well of course you’re going to see something along the way – we’re in a new city, surrounded by breathtaking architecture, and there are people walking around with giant trays of food on their heads – it’s a sensory overload!

And so it begins. We go five steps, *snap snap*, pop into a market, *snap*, bump into a man who wants to be photographed holding a boa constrictor, *snap snap snap*, now the man wants money because you took a picture of him with his boa constrictor…

Meanwhile, you, the non-photog, are descending into the pits of hanger (that’s HUNGER + ANGER), and it’s a very dangerous place to be.

You can’t wrap your mind around Lightroom.

Who the heck has enough time to actually figure out Lightroom, let alone spend 4 hours stitching, highlight, cropping, and filtering one single image?! If it’s not going on the cover of the Nat Geo, it probably doesn’t need more than 5 clicks on any photo editing software!

YOU, you’re happy with your free Picasa that you downloaded off the Internet. It gets the job done AND people have even complemented you on your work, so there.

You can have a tripod assembled in 12 seconds.

Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh. Click, click.

And again.

And repeat.

And voila!

That’s a skill set worthy of a resume.

You’ve learned to keep the sun behind your back.

Not only does this stop you from squinting, but it also means that your subjects are well lit as opposed to being dark silhouettes. Unless you’re going for silhouettes…

Quickest way to improve your crappy photography!

You can tell when Golden Hour and Blue Hour are approaching.

There are certain hours of the day when magic happens. These times have become your personal nightmare.

First, there’s this thing called Blue Hour. This occurs during twilight and it’s the little bridge of time between dawn and sunrise in the mornings, or between sunset and dusk in the evenings. The sky turns a deep-shade of blue producing some stunning backdrops.

And then we have Golden Hour. It strikes shortly after sunrise or before sunset when the sun is lower in the sky. Golden Hour casts a soft light in its path that gives your pictures a bit of an ethereal glow.

Of course if you’re not a photographer, all this means for you is that the alarm clock will go off at a ridiculous hour and that you’ll be throwing on a hoodie over your head, grabbing a flashlight, and bolting out the door before the sun creeps up any higher.

Yes, blame the sun (or the photographer) for robbing you of your precious sleep!

You are the decoy.

“Could you just stand there and pretend I’m taking your picture?”

Umm, what?

“There’s this guy behind you with an insane beard, orange eyebrows, and he’s wearing cowboy chaps…with a neon green thong underneath! Just stand there, so it doesn’t look rude.

Yes, these are the kind of scenes you’ll be subjected to…

You’re the one left holding the heavy camera bag.

You don’t know how it happens, but somewhere between the shuffle of changing lenses, adding polarizers, and pulling out the tripod, you often find yourself holding the bag with all the camera equipment.

Try setting it on the floor and before the bag even touches the ground you’ll hear, “that’s expensive! Please keep an eye on it.”

Yeah, right. You mean please hold it like it’s a newborn child…

You’re also starting to resent said pack.

Not only does it weigh more than a newborn child, but the gear inside really requires a lot of attention. Those lenses aren’t going to clean themselves and you’ll likely get swindled into helping. You’re just too nice!

You’ve learned to focus before you shoot.

Have you ever thought your photos looked sharp on the camera screen and then you develop them or look at them on the computer and they’re all blurry?

That’s basically 80% of my photos before I started travelling with the ‘tog.

You see, apparently there’s this little thing called focus.

This means before you take a picture of your subject you’re supposed to hold the trigger down halfway and allow it to focus on whatever it is you’re trying to shoot. Once you’ve heard the camera do its jhhhhh-shhh-beep (yup, that’s what my camera sounds like when it’s adjusting) THEN you can hold the shutter button all the way down and take your picture.

I now have an excuse to retrace my steps across Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina, because everything I shot there is a complete mess.

You’ve learned that artificial lighting is the enemy.

Don’t get me wrong, artificial lighting works when done right, but when it’s not, you may as well kiss your photos goodbye. If you shoot indoors with bad lighting, you’ll end up with yellow-hued images that are simply cringe worthy.

Save yourself the trouble and chase the natural light, beybeh!

You’ve started using words like ‘ISO’, ‘aperture’, and other photog lingo.

You still have no idea what these actually mean, but you know enough to be able to drop these words into conversation without them totally sounding out of place.

“Have you tried boosting the ISO?”

“Are you using large aperture and fast shutter?”

“Oh, it didn’t turn out? Was the image too noisy?”

Yeah, you’re rolling with the big boys now…

You’ve learned to NEVER ever touch a dSLR sensor, EVER!

It doesn’t matter if you’re seeing little specks of dust show up on your images, you never ever ever EVER go into your camera body armed with Q-tips to “inspect”. This usually results in worse problems than you initially had, and the mistake costs, oh, let’s just say the price of a new camera.

You know how to unlock a memory card.

A few months ago your first reaction to ‘card locked’ popping up on the camera screen would have been, “Oh my gosh! My camera is broken.” Now you’re a pro.

Pop the memory card out, slide the minuscule lock button on the side and you’re good to go.

Don’t ask me how or why memory cards get locked (I certainly do not slide the lock over!), but thankfully it’s an easy solution.

You’re starting to covet fancy camera lenses.

Maybe you DO need a 50 mm lens. You like the way it focuses on one point and gently blurs the surroundings.

Or better yet a telephoto lens. It’s like shooting with binoculars – wait, that’s probably not right – but you can shoot objects that are really far away!

Hmm, you could get really creative with this…

Your photography has actually started improving.

You spend so much time waiting around for your photographer to do his shizz, that you’ve actually started taking pictures with your own camera as a way to pass time.

A bit of tilt here, a little bokeh effect there, and whaddya know, you’re practically turning into a PHOTOGRAPHER!

Have you ever travelled with a photographer?
Go on, what was it like?