The 10 Commandments for Accompanying a Photographer


Having spent vast amounts of time with photographers, and being a consultant who is paid to compartmentalise everything I see and do, I have catalogued the do’s and don’ts for accompanying a photographer. Somewhat grandiloquently, I call this list the 10 Commandments for accompanying a photographer.

1) You shall have patience like an angel. A photographer can wait a long time for the exact moment when the right photo can be taken, whether it is waiting for the right light, a lynx to show itself and its pointed ears, or a child finally overcoming its shyness. However, a photographer will not have patience with anything around disturbing her work. And this is where the non-photographer friend often finds him or herself, i.e. to the annoying surroundings. Therefore, whatever patience the photographer does not have shall have to be compensated in equal amounts by your patience.

2) You shall not abide by common sense. How many photos does it take to get a good image of a building that does not move? A lot. How many for a mountain that is not likely to run away? A lot. How many of these photos will be kept? Too many. Does this make sense? Nope. But you’d better get used to this situation.

3) You shall have to be funny. Accompanying a photographer can put a strain on the patience for everyone involved. Therefore, a humorous attitude must be kept.
-How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb?- Three. One to change the light bulb and two to set the direction of the light in the bathroom with the dressed giraffes behind the purple car wreck. (I told you earlier photographers can be real artists.)
-What’s the difference between a photographer and a pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four.
Photographers do it with cameras and tripods.
(Maybe you shouldn’t tell these to a photographer after all, but you can always silently whisper these lines repeatedly to yourself.)

4) You shall observe the photographer. Scrutinising the behaviour of a photographer can be very educational as it can really introduce new angles to common things in life. No one can explore things like photographers; always trying to point their camera from some unusual position. Have you ever thought what rose leaves look like from underneath? A car fender from underneath? A sidewalk from underneath? A photographer from underneath?

5) Remember the nature of the photographer and keep it in mind. Photographers can be real artists. And there are even more photographers who think they are artists. In ancient Greece, artists such as sculptors and painters were held in low regard as their work was considered as mere manual labour. Given how few photographers there were around in those days, this must really show the low regard the Greek had of such artists. Just don’t tell this to a photographer. They might not get it.

6) You shall not lose your temper. Let the artistic photographer do that. That is enough for both of you.

7) You shall not commit adultery. Why is this an important commandment when accompanying a photographer? It isn’t really. But such an unrelated topic to photography will adjust you to the many other unrelated whims, quirks, and oddities of a photographic mind.

8 ) You shall not covet your friend’s camera. This is not so much because it will upset a photographer. It will upset you even more when the photographer becomes aggressive about his or her work tool. Anyway, ask yourself if you really want to become a photographer. There are other professions out there (but do not say this to a photographer). Like being a doctor or—if you cannot stand the sight of blood—a lawyer.

9) You shall not accompany a photographer on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is on Saturday, thus followed by Sunday. Any photographer out for a stroll on Saturday and finding a nice spot for taking pictures is likely to want to come back the next day when the light is right, i.e. in the veeeery early morning. If you like to sleep on a Sunday morning, then stay away from photographers on Saturdays.

10) You shall enjoy photography. If this is not the case, you shall at least have to enjoy the company of the photographer. Or simply enjoy the photographer.

Gabriel Fuchs is a Swiss-based IT and management consultant, as well as a keen hobby photographer. Gabriel is also a proficient writer of more or less serious industry articles, both on IT and photography.

This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: humour, Gabriel Fuchs, 10 commandments, whims, patience, enjoyment, Sabbath, temper