Lies Photographers Have Told Me

I’m way too polite and well-mannered to come right out and say that photographers lie, so instead I’ll repeat some of the things I’ve heard them say and translate their words into language we can all understand, i.e., the truth. For example, when my friend told me, “Very useful blog this week, Jon!” she really meant, “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag, you schlub, but I ran out of Nyquil and I had to get to sleep somehow…”

If you see a bit of yourself in the narrative that follows, please keep in mind that it’s all written in good fun. (That’s a lie. We’re all laughing at you, so get used to it. Bah!)


“I only shoot in Manual Mode.”

Translation: I tried Manual Mode two or three times back in high school, with my Pentax K1000, so I know all about it. Anyway, it would threaten my status as a serious, committed enthusiast to admit that the camera could possibly set the exposure faster and more accurately than I can 95% of the time…


“I always shoot Raw format.”

Translation: Well, I really DO shoot Raw sometimes, like when I shot that picture of a black cat in a coal bin. Oh, no, wait—that was at ISO 6400. But I know there are zillions of situations when I always shoot Raw, like, um. Well, you know.


“I still shoot literally tons of film.”

Translation: I bought two rolls of Tri-X on eBay last fall and I finished one of them in my father’s old Nikkormat before the PX625 battery died. I’m going to have it developed real soon now.


“I’m not trying to be a professional photographer; I just take pictures to have fun.”

Translation: I spent $1900 on this %#*&! thing and my pictures still look like %#*&!


 “One of these days I’m going to sit down and try all of the different features.”

Translation: I spent $1900 on this %#*&! thing and my pictures still look like %#*&!


“The type of camera you use doesn’t make any difference if you’re a true artist.”

Translation: Okay, so you have a Canon 5D Mark III and I have a 6-megapixel Rebel. I’m not jealous, not one little bit. Zip. Zero. I hope you choke on it.


“I plan to back-up all my images as soon as I decide which online service is best.”

Translation: Who has time? I’m four episodes behind watching Game of Thrones, my GF says I don’t spend enough time with her as it is, and it’s really time consuming to have a dog. But I’m going to get everything backed up one of these days…probably with one of those cloud outfits.

“It took me about four hours in Photoshop to get this effect.”
Translation: I don’t know what the hell happened, the picture just came out all blue, but I think it looks pretty cool, don’t you?


“I did read the owner’s manual.”

Translation: I think I saw the manual when I tossed the box, but anyway, you’re supposed to teach me how to use this camera over the phone—that’s what customer service is all about, right?


“I applied the Rule of Thirds, naturally.”

Translation: I wouldn’t recognize the Rule of Thirds if it bit me on my flash bulb, but someday I’m going to Google it, and if it looks cool I may try it. I might even try the Rule of Fourths.


When returning the camera for warranty repair:

“I didn’t drop the camera, I swear – I have no idea how the ding got there.”

Translation: If I’m obnoxious enough, maybe they’ll fix my camera under warranty. Besides, it only fell about four feet; it was just—like—from the top of the car to the sidewalk.


“What do you mean ‘liquid damage’? I was nowhere near the water.”

Translation: Right after the canoe tipped over, I packed the camera in rice, left it overnight and warmed it up in the oven the next morning. That worked for my neighbor’s iPhone, so this camera should be right as rain, if you’ll pardon the pun.


“Of course I didn’t try to take my camera apart.”

Translation: I was sure that if I just took the top cover off and blew the dust out, the meter would start working again—how I was I supposed to know that all of those wires would jump out like that?


And finally:

“Good photographers don’t need flash units.”

Translation: They’re too big, cost too much, the batteries are a PIA and they always make people look like demons, what with those red eyes. Besides, I’m not a professional, even though I may look like one since I always shoot in Manual, always shoot Raw and I burn through literally tons of film these days…

—Jon Sienkiewicz

jiipee's picture

What might be the purpose of this article? It seems to be as amateur stuff as these "lies" in this article... if one needs to tell these "lies", he's is definitely amateur.