Photography — is it a lucrative and glamorous job filled with travel, a hobby with an eye-watering amount spent on unnecessary gear, or something in between? Photographer Niels de Kemp pokes fun at the different misconceptions people have about what photography is all about in this humorous 2.5-minute tongue-in-cheek sketch.
Common Misconceptions About Photographers
When it comes to photography, everyone has an opinion, whether it’s about the “best” equipment brand, editing technique, camera settings, and more. It’s an industry filled with greatly different perspectives, which also makes it an ever-evolving community. But, similarly, the general public has just as many and varied opinions on what photographers actually do behind the scenes and why they shoot in the first place.
To demonstrate the different misconceptions — although some may carry a touch of truth — street photographer and content creator De Kemp decided to create his lighthearted video.
“Even my wife thinks I carry around as many cameras as I can, my friends think I only want to photograph naked women, and so on,” De Kemp tells PetaPixel.
“But we just enjoy photography!” he writes on YouTube. “It’s not about Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, Pentax, or Ricoh. For us, it is about the fun of creating things so I created something fun. Hope this video gives you a giggle!”
De Kemp touches on these misconceptions in his short sketch:
Photographers’ partners think that their other half has a Gear Acquisition Syndrome, also known as GAS, but may be unsure what they actually do with all of that equipment. Big camera brands assume that all photographers just want to get their hands on free gear in exchange for exposure. Parents are unsure what their offspring does on a typical shoot, but likely assume it’s something to do with photographing families and kids, photographed in a studio akin to traditional portraits decades ago. Friends, particularly those of male photographers, jokingly believe that the photographer just wants to do lewd shoots and likely bring that up every time to tease their friend. Clients probably see the photographers as looking for any ways to squeeze more money in every way possible. Other social media users see photographers, as either using quick filters on their photos or think that all photographers do, is move those Lightroom sliders to the extreme for a quick edit, deemed good enough for a social media post. Photographers using other brands can spot another shooter using a different camera brand from a mile away and likely have uncomplimentary assumptions of what the other shooter is all about just based on their camera. Any beginners taking part in a workshop scratch their heads in confusion after the photography tutor relays all of the technical information without relating it to the real-life shooting experience. The general public assumes that all photographers are “sneaky snipers,” waiting in the bushes or around the corner to ambush their subject in the hunt for the perfect shot. Photographers can have intense brand loyalty and look down on “lesser” brands.
A few other common assumptions that could be added to the list include:
Clients and passers-by assume that the photographer is not fit for the job just because they don’t carry a large DSLR with a telephoto lens mounted on it. Photography is — or rather should be — cheap because it’s easy to point a camera and press a shutter button, but people forget about all the time and money invested in equipment, learning, networking, post-processing, running the business, traveling, and having something left over to cover the bills. Party-goers think that wedding, event, and music photographers are doing their job just for the fun of it. The general public assumes that every street photographer wants to jump on the chance of getting unflattering close-up portraits of anyone who walks by. Every photographer is also a videographer and vice versa. If the camera has a video function, why wouldn’t the photographer be able to suddenly become a filmmaker? There is no need for niches — every professional photographer should be able to take on a pet portrait shoot as well as sports coverage, a wedding, a fashion shoot, and a cake smash.
While some of these misconceptions directly affect the business of photography — the idea that photography is easy and should therefore be cheap, for example — others are more lighthearted and something photographers can share a laugh with non-photographers about.
More of De Kemps’ work can be found on his website, Instagram page, and YouTube channel.