Monday, 21 October 2013

That Guy...

Perhaps, if you're not a photographer yourself, you will not have experienced this, but I really hope you have never been "that guy" or "that girl". Even amateur and casual photographers have experienced being "photo bombed", and it's getting more and more likely that just as you go to take that perfect picture, someone steps into the line of your shot to take their own and totally wrecks it!

They are everywhere!

I recently experienced this at a Thanksgiving Day Parade in Waterloo. My son and I went very early to find a parking space, walked about 10 minutes up the road to find a great spot to take photos from at a curve in the road. We stood waiting for about 1 1/2 hours for the parade to start. We probably didn't need to be there quite that early, but I wanted a good vantage point where I thought I had a good view and would not interrupt anyone else as I took my photos.

The crowd started to press in as the Parade began, and as people gathered, they walked right in front of me - many of them sporting their own cameras, getting in front of me to take the view I had waited so long for.


Now, it's one thing with kids - I want the kids to see the parade, and parents with them, many of whom are kind enough to stay out of the line of site. I welcome them. For the most part, I can shoot over the kids heads. But then, there's "that guy" who has a new mic for shooting video on his SLR camera and just has to stand front and center of my prime spot.

You don't even have to have a camera to be "that guy". Some people just aren't aware of their surroundings, or don't care about you and your view. They walk right in front without even a glance behind them.


As a flame juggler went by, I had to duck and dodge several times to get a shot of him around the crowd. At one point, a well meaning grandfather popped in front of me to point out the juggler. "Look, he's juggling fire" he said to his grandson.

Everyone is a photographer

It seems everyone thinks they are a photographer. There was even a guy behind and to one side of me saying all kinds of nasty things about how bad my camera was (my 5D Mk3 with a 70-200 f/2.8 lens no less) as he lifted his point and shoot camera to take photos.

There were lots of pro shooters there as well, of course. You could recognize them. Not because they had big cameras, though many did - worn out by heavy use - but because they were respectful of those around them and unobtrusive. They looked for the good shot carefully, and for the most part, stayed out of the way. Not one of them stepped in front of someone to grab a quick shot. In some cases you might not have even known they were there.

Those who just thought they knew about photography were the ones clamoring to get in front.

Unplugged weddings

The problem is compounded at weddings, where almost every person has a camera of one kind or another. If it's not a DSLR, or point and shoot, it's a cell phone with a camera.

Now, everyone wants to have a memory of the event, and having your own camera can be a great way to do it. I fully understand that desire. But consider the cost! Not only are you possibly destroying the photographs of the professional who was hired to do the job (and who, guaranteed, will have better photos than yours!), you are also missing the whole thing! That's right - you're not present at the event because you are looking at it through a lens!

Corey Ann, in an article on PetaPixel, does a great job of explaining why brides should consider "Why You Should Have an Unplugged Wedding"

She also explains how sometimes guests, or even those in the wedding party, have posted a picture of the bride or groom on-line even before their future spouse has had a chance to see them for the first time in the church! Can you imagine?

Sabrina on Fox News did a fantastic article illustrating the problem of "That Guy" very well:


As a photographer, I do understand the thrill of capturing the moment. That's one of the reasons I love doing this. But I have spent countless hours training and had plenty of practice photographing weddings. I also make it a practice to remain as unobtrusive as possible (see my previous, similar post

I know I will capture great images for the couple - I'm not sure that everyone with a cell phone will be able to say the same thing.

So, perhaps for your wedding, or even your next event if you hire a photographer, you will want to consider going "unplugged". Not only will your professional images turn out much better, your guests will actually be "present" at your event! And isn't that why you invited them?

(c) 2013 Gary Scott - Gary's Lens Photography

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