If Miss Manners were a Photographer…
Imagine having the time for one sunset at a park to shoot a landscape.
Imagine you flew to the country where the park is, 8,263 miles from where you live, a 16-hour flight. You booked a hotel nearby at (higher) summer prices. You rented a car.
You spent months dreaming about that sunset.
Finally you are there, set up with your tripod with a decent composition, finger on the remote trigger for your dSLR.
At the perfect moment, youâ€™re going to take the shot.
Then another photographer moves into your frame and sets up her tripod smack in the middle of your viewfinder.
The sun sinks. So does your dream of getting an uncluttered sunset at this park, an experience you paid thousands of dollars to photograph.
If Miss Manners were a photographer, what would she say about other photographers who deliberately or inadvertently insert themselves into our frame?
Be attentive to whatâ€™s going on around you.
Itâ€™s very easy to get lost in your head when shooting, especially with a beautiful setting and a sunset. But because there may be more than one photographer around, it is good manners to check if you are stepping into someone elseâ€™s frame. Even tourists wait their turn to photograph each other in front of one tourist site or other. This courtesy is something that can only be practiced if we pay attention to what others are doing around us.
Know how much a lens can â€˜see.â€™
The person who stepped in front of the shot had a long lens. The photographer who set up her tripod first had a 16-35mm lens. The person with the long lens (if she knew her stuff), just looking at the photographer who already set up before her, would have known that she would be in the other photographerâ€™s frame.
She would still have gotten good frames with her own telephoto even if she did not intrude on someone elseâ€™s frame. The lens was long enough to make images even if she was standing behind the other photographer.
Who got there first.
Shooting over someoneâ€™s shoulder. Really?
You canâ€™t buy a photographic eye. You canâ€™t steal it, either.
Shooting over someoneâ€™s shoulder is basically stealing their composition, especially if you are intruding on their personal space. There are folks who pay someone to â€˜teachâ€™ them in a workshop and end up just shooting over the instructorâ€™s shoulder if the instructor has their own camera held up to their face.
News bulletin: you canâ€™t get better if you have to depend on someone elseâ€™s eye to create a good image. There are no shortcuts to getting better at photography. There is only the hard work of finding your own point of view.
Later on the photographer who traveled far for the foiled sunset went to another location for another sunset.
There were three portrait sessions going on at that location. One of the three portraitists for hire kept posing their clients wherever the wide-angle lens of the landscape shooter pointed. Total aggravation.
So tell me, should photographers develop some manners, or is this rude inattentiveness something we should teach in photo workshops in future?