You Know You’re Travelling with a Photographer When…

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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.

You know you are travelling with a photographer when...

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?

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Rebekah

    This is hilarious. I’ve travelled with photographer friends and they drive me CRAZY… but they take super awesome photos and let me use them so I forgive them for it šŸ™‚ I wish I didn’t suck at taking pictures so maybe I should try paying more attention

  2. says: Franca

    This post made me smile Audrey. I think if someone would travel with either me and Dale would go mad because we are both into photography and we both do all of the above. It can be annoying at times, but it’s very enjoyable if you are behind the camera shooting šŸ™‚

  3. says: Vid

    Audrey !!!

    How dare you ? šŸ™‚ Well, I have to give you this one – I am sure Savi is going to LOVE this article when she reads it because she can relate to every single word you have said !

    I think we might have to steal your idea and do a similar one on our blog hahaha šŸ˜‰

    LOVED it

  4. says: Renuka

    At the risk of sounding immodest, I would say people feel that way with me! Not all the points are true for me. But yes, I make people wait, while I patiently lock a shot. Photography is amazing! It requires lots of patience, hard work and focus, but the results are equally awesome, too! I would love hang out with the kind of photographer that you have mentioned here!

  5. I really enjoyed reading this post..because I can relate to it 100%! šŸ™‚ My husband woke up daily at 3am (yes 3!!) on a Montana and Wyoming trip to drive 20-30 kilometres not just to beat the sun rising but to get to the “best spot” first (and in my head: as IF there’d be other lunatics lining up to do that!)
    But the end results are really amazing , good photographs do not just happen , they are planned and are products of patience and hard work. — so says the person who stayed warm and toasty in bed while the 3Am photoshoot transpired šŸ˜‰

    1. says: Bree

      My older brother did the same thing in Europe. He would constantly tell my other brother and me to hold on so he could take a photo. It was never just one photo, he had to take several! We would roll our eyes. But, he always had the best pictures at the end of the day so, I think it’s worth it.
      I loved this post! I have experienced some other things you said and agree with you. Pictures so take time and some of the best ones are the ones you planned for in advance.

  6. says: Rachel of Hippie in Heels

    I am definitely the one in the background pressing the click button without focusing first.. that’s when I bother to use my point and shoot rather than my iPhone. I can’t imagine carrying all that equipment or traveling with someone and having to wait around! I am not patient enough for that šŸ™‚

  7. OK, I laughed out loud, though ruefully, because I clearly saw myself. But you’ve still got it good because that red-headed partner of yours hasn’t decided, like me, that he needs to “manually” focus every shot, because it makes them all so much better….

  8. says: Megan

    I remember my first “card locked” moment. And how awesome I felt when I worked out what it was and how to fix it. Ahhh actually that’s a bit sad isn’t it?

  9. says: Katie

    these are amazing – haha! I’m by no means a pro photographer but I still do all of these. Thankfully my travel partner (and hubby) is super patient and easy going! šŸ˜‰

  10. says: Justine

    Ha, I’ve definitely been that person who follows the photographer and lugs around the equipment. That stuff is heavy! But I love being around photographers because it always inspires me to strengthen my own skills. So I don’t really mind holding a heavy camera bag if I get to watch a pro at work šŸ˜‰

  11. says: Heather

    LOL, it’s like you wrote this for my husband! Even though I am still very much an amateur, he is forever waiting around (and holding the camera bag) while I take just one more pic. Also, glad to know I’m not the only blogger content to use the free Picassa software!

  12. says: Charlie

    Oh, hell yeah, I can relate. All of my serious boyfriends have turn out to be serious photographers (weird that). Years back, I once spent a whole day keeping one of them company as he got it in his head to do a study of light by taking a photo of the same view every half an hour for an ENTIRE 24 hours. The things you do! But, yep, on the flip side, I’ve definitely learnt a thing or two along the way.

  13. says: Pamela

    Gosh, I see half of myself from the way you are describing and I am not even a professional photographer. Ha…. It’s the sense of achievement when you took a really amazing photos and when you look at it everytime, memories will start flowing back. šŸ™‚

  14. says: Deepti @ Endless Postcards

    Such a funny post – I’m really bad at photography and struggling to improve, but I can’t wrap my head around ISO, aperture, etc. My dad loves photos and uses me as a decoy ALL the time – so annoying at the time, but hilarious after!

  15. This is hilarious Audrey! I am really guilty of many of these, especially taking forever to walk five minutes, I don’t want to miss anything, but it’s hard not to notice the other half’s rising resentment! Especially when I keep stopping dead in my tracks on a busy road and nearly trip him up! šŸ™‚ I will definitely try rope him in to be my decoy now, thanks for that tip! šŸ™‚

  16. says: Mary @ Green Global Travel

    Hilarious list! Love the one about being asked to be a decoy, as well as the last one of course! Thanks for sharing this!

  17. says: Alouise

    I’m definitely not a photographer or a photographer aficionado, although I’ve learned more about photography since I began blogging a few years ago. I can only imagine the great things you learn by proxy from traveling with a photographer…although I don’t think I could handle all those early morning wakeups.

  18. I have slowly but surely converted my fiance into a photographer wanna-be! Now instead of complaining about being bored while I go tripper happy in every place we visit, he is starting to fight me for the camera. His point and shoot isn’t good enough anymore and he now wants his own DSLR. I don’t know which is worse.

  19. Lol – that was sooo funny to read, as I am also the photographer and I know, sometimes my hubby would just want to leave me somewhere, instad of waiting for the perfect shot during the Gold/Blue hours šŸ˜€
    Well, but like you, also my hubby found something to make him occopuied – he’s now filming short videos and now our travels are much easier as noone wait anyone… but he still is carrying my camera bag and tripod šŸ˜‰

  20. Hi Audrey,
    A lot of times I asked to my wife to pose and my intention pic was the background.
    It makes easier and whoever is in the background will act natural šŸ™‚
    Even being far from a pro I can see myself in some of the situations you mentioned.
    Happy travels!

  21. says: Holly

    This is such a great post Audrey! I love that you subtly included some photography skills you picked up along the way. Looking forward to testing them out on my next trip!

  22. says: Joe Louis

    I traveled through New Zealand with a good friend of mine who is a photographer and there are definitely benefits to having a skilled partner. But don’t expect to get those pictures of yourself any time soon!

  23. So funny Audrey and yet, so true. My husband is a serious photographer and recently, I asked him how to make a close up with a blurry background on my camera, I can do this on my iphone you see. His eyes rolled as he patiently told me, then showed me how to do it. Result?
    I can still do it on my iphone but not on my real camera!

  24. says: Glamourous Traveller

    Hahaha what a cute post. Unfortunately for me, my fellow boyfriend/ traveller is the complete opposite of a photographer partner. Which makes for a real conundrum for a would be travel and fashion blogger! So little patience for me to pose and make sure lighting and background is correct. No wonder successful fashion bloggers usually come with a photographer partner!

  25. says: Samantha H

    I myself can personally relate as my fiance is actually a photographer! I actually work at this place called 24 hour passport and visas in West Los Angeles and working for this place I discover many stories of people coming in to renew their passports because they either have traveled the world too much and ran out of pages or are simply looking to take a step forward in life and actually go out there and see the world! My fiance and I have decided to go and explore the world ourselves so we have planned out a trip for 2015, I am pretty positive that your story is spot on as I’ve been a witness of my fiance and his photography time but I guess I am excited to see what our trip will bring šŸ˜€ great blog keep up the good work!

  26. says: Tasha

    Hahaha I love this post! I often take waaaay to many pictures of the same thing and have tortured my travel buddy with a lot of these! While not a professional, I do enjoy taking pictures!

  27. says: arena leo

    hahaha superb post….my friends used to do all these thing and i used to say dude we are here to enjoy not for clicking the pictures.But after reading this i can feel that he enjoy his trip in clicking pictures.Next time will not disturb him to do all this, thanks for sharing.

  28. says: Erin

    Haha! Totally relate to this! Luckily last time we went away we packed very lightly so other half only had his phone camera and a small film camera to work with but it’s still the stopping every few minutes! ”Go on, you can just walk on ahead” he says, I may as well be on holiday on my own! Working a little on my photography skills too as like you say it would mean I wan’t just waiting around for him all the time! Found I had a collection of photos all with a similar theme:

  29. says: saloni

    Hahaha what a cute post. Unfortunately for me, my fellow boyfriend/ traveller is the complete opposite of a photographer partner.
    This is such a great post Audrey! I love that you subtly included some photography skills you picked up along the way.

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