7 Photographer Types We All Know (I Am One of Them) 

7 Photographer Types We All Know (I Am One of Them) 

As a photographer, you inevitably meet a lot of other photographers in the industry. As much as I am not a fan of putting anyone in a box, it is still lots of fun and can make for some great jokes. In this article, I will do just that: list the seven most common photographer types I met. 

There are a lot of stereotypes about photography, being a fashion photographer, I am perhaps exposed to them a bit more than the food photographer. When I meet people who don’t work in fashion and mention that I am a fashion photographer, it is assumed that I am in relationships with the models. This happened so many times, that I get annoyed by the question and do a visible eye roll. The answer, perhaps somewhat disappointing for someone who wants to get in on the “action”, is that I am with someone who isn’t even in the fashion industry. What is more, I purposely separate work and relationships to keep things professional. I am dating a model though, not by job title, but by looks.

Without further ado, let’s get into the five most common photographer types. 

The Creep 

While being on the topic of photographers with questionable behavior, some people start photography not for the artistic pleasure, but rather as a different one. Some time ago, I wrote an article on what is and what isn’t fashion photography. In it, I hinted that it is wrong to call yourself a fashion photographer if all you do is photograph naked girls in sexy poses. While boudoir photography is not a creepy genre, if anything I have also photographed nude work. There is such thing as creepy nude photographers. 

Models all over the world have shared countless stories of photographers who were acting seductively around them. What is more, even world-class models such as Emily Rajtakovski came out with allegations of sexual assault against photographers who they worked with. 

This is probably the worst type of photographer to be on this list.

The Gear-Head

What frame rate does the Nikon Z9 shoot at? How does the sharpness of the EF 16-35 III compare to RF 15-35? Can I shoot 8K on an R5 without overheating? You know the person I am talking about, the person who should make money selling cameras, not shooting them. This photographer is likely to also own too much gear, but also complain about not having enough gear to do what they want. 

They are the folks who take it as a personal offense when someone doesn’t use the brand they do. For example, people that hate on a particular brand for no reason. While I do use Profoto for most work, because I like the flashes, I am happy to work with Broncolor or anything else that can get the job done how I need it. Probably the same reason I use Canon and not Nikon or Sony. I just happened to pick up my dad’s Canon EOS300, break it, and then save up for a new one because I didn’t know about other cameras. I would use Nikon if I picked up a Nikon. After all, there is little to no difference in what cameras do for me, since there hasn’t been a bad camera since 2009 and now it’s the only brand name that makes one device different from the other.  

The Artist

These are the opposite of the gear-head. Their work is probably nothing like what you’ve seen before and will ever see.

They are usually pretentious and will constantly complain that nobody understands their art. In their eyes, they are the next Helmut Newton, and their art will comment on what art comments best on: “society”.  

The Narcissist

They will pretend to be famous even if all they did is photograph their mate’s wedding. If done right, being a photographer can be a good way to attract attention to yourself. They are the person who is concerned more with how good they look on the shoot than with how good the photos are. It is almost like the act of picture-taking is a side-activity to give an exposure excuse to show off themselves. If someone is grabbing more selfies with the models, subjects, and themselves. Living the glamorous photographer lifestyle, without actually being a photographer. 

The Hipster

Do they have a film camera? Do they only shoot expired films from the 90s? Do they only shoot petrol stations at night? They might be a hipster photographer. To find a hipster, just go to any artisan coffee shop, you'll see them right away. While there is nothing wrong with shooting film, even expired film, there are a lot of other things that can be actually creative and not boring “Instaworthy” pics. 

The iPhone Pro

They will tell you that all you need now is an iPhone. And they are not wrong. I don’t take my camera everywhere I go. If anything I will take a Profoto C1 light instead and have good flash anywhere I want. It does make for some pretty cool iPhone photos. I have even photographed things with an iPhone and professional flash. But there is a clear divide between people who say that phones are equally as good, and people who like using them but understand that professional cameras are still needed.

If someone is going on how their phone is better than photographers, and how they see the job becoming obsolete because of AI, politely inquire whether AI can be as creative as a human being, and how many years it would take for small sensors to become as good as big sensors. The answer is, no matter how good the software is, there are hardware limitations in phones. The iPhone is good, but it’s not everything. 

The DSLR-Evangelist

Alright, you got me. This one is perhaps me. I religiously say that DSLRs are not as bad they people make them seem. I feel like the debate is fueled by camera marketing companies in the first place. If mirrorless works for you, good! Some people just don’t need to upgrade, but I digress. I am a DSLR evangelist, or perhaps just an “upgrade when you need” evangelist. That’s up to you to decide.

Do you know any photographers who can fall into these categories? I would love to know in the comments! 

Illya Ovchar's picture

Illya Ovchar is a fashion photographer based in Europe. In his work, Illya aims to tell stories with clothes and light. Illya's work can be seen in magazines such as Vogue, Marie Claire, and InStyle.

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Great article! Two types immediately came to mind for me:

First, the Artist. Many years ago I worked at a camera store that was conveniently located to many schools with art/photography programs. The majority of the students who came in were actual nice kids. There were a few standouts, though. One favorite was the upper lip curling snob who while having never handled a digital camera, would loudly proclaim how digital sucked.

Another "artist" I encountered accompanied a very nice young woman looking to buy her first camera. Her "artist" friend could have also filled the narcissist category kept interrupting my answers to her questions with his own uninformed, inexperienced opinions. At some point he vomited forth his comparing himself to Stanley Kubrick which had finally pushed me over the edge and I couldn't help but laugh at him. I apologized top the woman and told her that if she ever felt like coming back without him I was happy to help her in any way I could.

She came back the next day without Mr. Kubrick.

Favorite artist:

Another student, this one was overheard bragging about how he only shot available light in such a snotty tone that I loudly invited him to my studio to show him how learning how to control light would change his life. Again offering his disdain for artificial light, I asked him if he had yet to take a studio lighting class at his school. He hung his head down for a moment, straightened up and proclaimed: "ARTIFICIAL LIGHT SUCKS!".

Oops. I forgot the second type- The Narcissist:

One day a young gentleman came into the store and after the appropriate pleasantries began to brag about how he was going to be the #1 headshot photographer in our city because he was going to be the only affiliate of a very famous headshot photographer. Clearly his favorite things in the world was the sound of his own voice because this was mentioned multiple times in a 10-15 minute conversation. Funnily enough, he never once showed a single image to back up his claims of greatness and when asked about his studio he was evasive and went right back to talking about how great he was.

I forgot his name in the first minute of the conversation and he never popped up on anybody's radar after that.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Fred :)
Great stories, had a laugh reading them :))

You're welcome. Happy to provide!

Seven caricatures. Amusing I suppose, and I do know a handful of people like that. Fortunately for the rest of us, the majority of photographers do not fit those categories.

I hope so!

I agree with Nick that these really are caricatures. Granted that some people fit into these types perfectly. But most photographers I know, including myself don't fit into any of these.

Also, the DSLR-Evangelist type seems like you would only shoot with DSLR and forbid anything else similar to how the iPhone Pros are. But then you go on to say it's really the “upgrade when you need” evangelist which I feel like most people (except gear heads) can get behind.

So fun article, but your missing a huge range of other photographer types.

When out and about shooting wildlife, one often encounters the "Arrogant Prick." Almost always a middle aged guy with mediocre photos who can't stop talking about himself & thinks they are the best wildlife photographer on the planet because they have a few prints for sale on the wall of a small local cafe.

What about the photographer who always tells people he's a fashion photographer at every possible opportunity? Why isn't he on the list....?

I will add him, right before the commenter who points out anything they can :)

Great article! The type I have met most is the gear head one. So annoying :))

DIY photographer, never mind what gear you have, they know better and cheaper solutions. I remember on one workshop guy came with big neon lamp on board with wires hang out, danger to see. But how was he so proud and smile on his face

It would appear that we have all forgotten about the "Askhole". The GWC (Guy/Girl With Camera) who asks for all sorts of advice and subsequently ignores all the answers given because it would appear that they know better. My own personal askhole story was the GWC who wanted to "shadow" me in my studio (I let him for a day) and answered all his questions. He had the stereotypical fear/disdain for strobes (based on no experience whatsoever) because available light should be good enough, blah blah blah and after asking me about Kino-Flos' (He watched a Peter Hurley video). I knew what they were but had never used them.

I explained my views (Hurley isn't wrong by any means- Look at his successes!) and eventually he decided to use fluorescent shop light fixtures because to him they were the same. He even showed me a Youtube video where some amateur did it. The imagery was horrible in every way and I explained to him why. After going against the rest of my advice, he chose to buy the shop light fixtures anyway so I very politely asked him to stop wasting my time and effort and wished him the best in his pursuits.

At some point, he gave up.