The Pain of Photography

A short list of a few of the tribulations photographers encounter


Practicing photography has many pains associated with it: 

  • The pain of getting up before sunrise and in total darkness trying to find that location you scouted last year.
  • The pain of carrying that "lightweight" five pound tripod and head.
  • The pain of setting up a panoramic stitch while the light is starting to change.
  • The pain of getting the airline to let you carry your 36-pound backpack on board.
  • The pain of downloading 32GB cards full of 36mp images.
  • The pain of keeping up with the arms race in stock photography (today 36mp, tomorrow 72mp).
  • The pain of shooting with a 400mm+ lens out of a vehicle or on sidelines.
  • The pain of the animal or player you're shooting with that 400mm+ lens running you over.
  • The pain of retouching all the dust spots out of your otherwise perfect photo.
  • The pain of having to constantly find more storage room and bigger backup drives.
  • The pain of spending most of your time marketing and selling yourself, not photographing. 
  • The pain of increasing security concerns outlawing photography where you want to practice it.
  • The pain of trying to explain to a security guard that he's wrong and can't delete your images or confiscate your equipment.
  • The pain of learning from the Internet that the equipment you chose sucks.
  • The pain of finding out that Nikon has once again changed how i-TTL really works.
  • The pain of sitting in front of a computer all day tagging and organizing your images.
  • The pain of finding that there's now a sign/wire/fence/fallen tree in front of your favorite vista.
  • The pain of discovering that the camera reset something you didn't expect it to.
  • The pain of forgetting to reset something you should have.
  • The pain of getting all your lenses fine tuned for all your cameras.
  • The pain of waiting for the lens you want to ever be in stock.
  • The pain of discovering your new camera needs to go back to the maker to be fixed for something.
  • The pain of finding that the manufacturer is claiming "impact damage" for the shutter problem you had taking shot #1 on your new camera.
  • The pain of finding dust inside your new lens.
  • The pain of reaching anyone at Nikon via telephone other than someone in the Dominican Republic.
  • The pain of waiting for a camera maker to update software for new OS versions.
  • The pain of waiting for any software maker to fix a bug that crashes the program you bought for hundreds of dollars.
  • The pain of hearing that your camera maker just obsoleted your equipment with new stuff.
  • The pain when you discover that you brought the wrong adapter for your charger, or the wrong charger.
  • The pain of trying to learn yet another new complex software program.
  • The pain of workflow, period.
  • The pain of tagging all your images because your camera won't put a Copyright message in the EXIF.
  • The pain of insuring all your equipment.
  • The pain of convincing your spouse to allow you buy any equipment at all.
  • The pain of trying to take a photograph when your family wants to move on to the next scenic site.
  • The pain of keeping multiple sets of batteries charged.
  • The pain of buying new batteries because the maker has changed them again.
  • The pain of keeping your equipment clean.
  • The pain of being without equipment when it's being repaired because even the pro program is out of loaners.
  • The pain of finding that an amateur that just orders anything new no matter what is ahead of you on your dealer's wait list for something.
  • The pain of keeping track of cards and whether you've downloaded them yet or not.
  • The pain of backing up your 2TB of images. Soon to be amplified by your 2TB of video.
  • The pain of trying to keep the camera from shaking, even on a tripod, even with mirror lockup, even with a remote.
  • The pain of it raining hard the one day you're going to be at that fantastic location.
  • The pain of dropping your equipment (you will someday, trust me).
  • The pain of hand scanning all your 35mm slides, thus creating several more TB of data to keep track of.
  • The pain of keeping humidity from creating condensation, fungi growth, or worse.
  • The pain of presbyopia.
  • The pain of looking at LCDs with sunglasses on.
  • The pain of paying for yearly software upgrades on virtually everything you need in your workflow.
  • The pain of removing artifacts from your images, and keeping them out.
  • The pain of calculating DOF, since the camera makers have never been much help, and now they've basically punted.
  • The pain of figuring out the best settings for the autofocus system for the thing you're shooting today.
  • The pain of downsizing 36mp images for Web use.
  • The pain of finding your images on the Web with someone else's name attached.
  • The pain of getting your rental vehicle stuck in a remote location that the contract says it's not supposed to be.
  • The pain of leaving something behind in the rental car when you drop it off.
  • The pain finding 10 photographers already at the sunrise location and taking up all the spots you would have picked.
  • The pain of waiting for your GPS unit to acquire satellites.
  • The pain of finding out that the act of acquiring GPS satellites just zapped the last of your battery power.
  • The pain of scratching your LCD, front lens element, or glasses.
  • The pain of being asked for the thousandth time "what lens are you using?" 
  • The pain of being asked "what the heck are you photographing?"
  • The pain of being asked "so what's the right exposure?"
  • The pain of forgetting to plug in the external microphone when recording video.
  • The pain of finding that the lens hood was on crooked and put a nice little black blur in two corners of your image.
  • The pain of forgetting to take off your filters when shooting into light sources.
  • The pain of forgetting to turn VR on. Or off. It'll always be in the wrong state.
  • The pain of trying to figure out why the camera won't focus only to find that your lens is set to M (manual). 
  • The pain of your lens falling into pieces in your hands when you didn't do anything (yes, it happens).
  • The pain of getting less for your used equipment than you thought you would. It's not an investment, but you thought it was.
  • The pain of getting to an event and finding out that security won't let you in with your camera because it looks too professional.
  • The pain of trying to keep up with all the useful things Chas Glatzer says at a workshop because you can't write that fast. Heck, you can't remember that fast.
  • The pain of having a senior moment in the field.
  • The pain of not having a camera with you when a magical moment happens.
  • The pain of completing a complex lighting set up, only to find that someone has moved one of them on you, or that your subject won't be where you thought they would.
  • The pain of having your projector's bulb blow out in the middle of a workshop presentation.
  • The pain of seeing images getting published from near where you were, but because you weren't at the right place at the right time, you didn't get them.
  • The pain of two mismatching card slots, meaning you have to bring two different sets of cards.
  • The pain of getting emails that say "but that's not what Joe Nikonpro said."
  • The pain of hearing "That's a nice camera, you must be a professional."
  • The pain of discovering your whole shoot was at ISO 6400.

And a few from readers:

  • The pain of not being able to enjoy life because photography always gets in the way. (md)
  • The pain of someone saying " wow those photos look great, you must have a really expensive camera." (hy)
  • The pain of getting to your scouted sunrise location only to find that the sun never peaks through. (pl)
  • The pain of realizing that stock photography is a losing proposition, no matter how many megapixels you have. (pl)
  • The pain of realizing that content aware isn't. (pl)
  • The pain of being asked for the umpteenth time "what lens should I use" when you have no clue what image they have in mind. (cg)
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