Humor: The Pain of Being Rejected as Someone’s Passerby Photographer

Here’s a little bit of photographic humor to help get you through to hump day. Have you ever been asked to take someone’s picture in public? Most of us have had this experience: a tourist or a family comes over and hands you their smartphone so they can get a complete family pic.

But after you’ve taken their photo — a photo, mind you, that you with your photographic expertise deem to be the most beautiful photo they’ve ever had taken — have you ever seen them go up to someone else just minutes later and ask them to take the same photo? What the!?

Australian video-blogger Natalie Tran pegged the reaction most of us have to this scenario with surprising accuracy and more than a little bit of humor in her most recent video. Everyone who’s remotely into photography does it: we go all “pro photographer” when a stranger asks us to take their picture.


Seeing your photo rejected just a few minutes later is like having it disqualified as a National Geographic Photo Contest winner — ok, definitely not that bad.

It’s a silly video but it captures both the taking of the photo — where you’re trying to get the tourist to pose just right and assuming one of the ridiculous “camera sutra” positions — to the reaction at being replaced by another stranger. Check out the video at the top for a quick chuckle, but be warned, there is some profanity and a couple of half-finished F-bombs dropped here and there.

(via Doobybrain)

  • Horst Wrabetz

    i don’t get the point of this video. is she really insulted by something like this? it’s not even really funny.

    i think she was just looking for a reason to show off her cute face to get semi-internetfamous.

  • Zack

    Hah pretty funny! I’ve been there, and it can be a little irksome.

    On the flipside of that coin (and this has happened to me on several occasions) when I hand someone my camera to take a picture of me and my friend and they insist on using manual focus – and they totally botch it. If you are a manual focus rockstar, fabulous! Go you. You get +100 photography points. But if you are switching it to manual because your high school photo teacher insisted you only use manual and you haven’t touched an actual camera in the 10 years since, maybe just use the AF?

    If you were on a plane and the pilot momentarily fainted, do you A) turn on the autopilot or B) try to fly it yourself because you’ve got like 10 hours logged on Microsoft Flight Simulator?

  • Doctor Octothorpe

    Oh, absolutely. I tell them I can’t have them going around telling their friends I took a bad photo of them.

  • gochugogi

    Yes, cute as a button and the attention on YouTube generates click revenue.

  • Jared Monkman

    Man, cheer up! She was making a light point, and doing it in her style of humor. I thought it was great!

  • Will Mederski

    this EXACT situation happened to me yesterday!
    a group of guys ask me to take their photo.
    so i did, using a simple thirds rule to frame them to one side and the gorgeous natural spring swimming pool they were standing in front of to the other side.
    i even took TWO photos, just to reduce the chance of blinkers!

    then they looked at the image. “oh, thanks… umm…”
    and i was like, “oh, did you want it of just you guys?”
    “yeah, if you wouldn’t mind taking another photo…”

  • Mike

    People hand me back my camera before shooting anything when I tell them that the focusing button is the * at the back where the thumb is.

  • Mike

    We shouldn’t be disappointed just because we can’t read the minds of others.
    As a pro, at least ask the “client” what he wants in the photo in general before shooting :)

  • John

    Stop wasting our time with this kind of crap….

  • javachipz

    If I’m visiting somewhere impressive, I’d like the background to come out clearly. If I’m with friends, ourselves.

  • Elsy Aumann

    I will usually take 2 or 3 shots and have them choose ;) because likewise you, I will get into serious photographer mode and start asking for different poses and angles.

  • Dick Fabulous

    Oh hell yes, I totally relate. I also hate when I shoot someone on Facebook, get all kinds of praise which I enjoy vicariously through them, then they put mine right next to a hideous set of pictures by someone else with the SAME PRAISE! WHA?!

    I want to snatch my pic right off their Facebook and deprive them of my masterful artistry because they don’t appreciate it with the right kind of “separation”.

  • Kurt B

    Bro, she was already famous before this.

  • Will Crockett

    Hey Natalie! This is SO great – and SO true!!! You are very talented. Thanks!

  • Trythe1

    I really don’t really care, I usually keep my ear buds in when I go out to shoot. I find it keeps people from bugging me with this type of stuff while I’m in the zone.

  • Kurt B

    I totally can relate!

  • Bill

    I doesn’t really bother me unless they ask me to get a certain “look” or pose, but I can see where she is coming from.
    It would be the same if someone asked you directions to somewhere and after explaining in full detail where they need to go, they ask someone else, as if there was a shorter or less detailed way to go.

    When I am out shooting, I get the “looks” all the time, they see the camera and some will ask if I can take their photo, some are very reluctant ir intimidated. I don’t mind as long as they ask nicely and are not a douche about it.
    The only problem I have, is when using someone else’s camera, it is like stepping in a foreign country, to me. I am so used to my camera and the settings, I have no idea how theres is set up. I look like a noob when using theirs, funny.

    By the way Natalie, you are really cute and love the Aussy accent

  • ennuipoet

    I don’t mind doing it, but unless there is a contract, release and a check, they are getting a snapshot. If they want someone else to take another snapshot, cool. I have, however, been hit up to do a passerby and then asked to take portraits of the people, and had some great results.

  • Richard Ford

    Semi famous?

    Bit late to the game. One of the biggest channels on the tube.

  • Shrihari Pandula

    Cute! Reminded me of Karen Alloy! :)

  • 9inchnail

    I do the same but from my own experience, I gotta warn you, you might be a sociopath. :-P

  • Marcus Sudjojo

    Well, depends on how you want to see the video, actually…

    If you consider this as a serious, social issue video, then yes, it makes little sense.

    But if you consider this purely as a humorous and funny video, it’s quite enjoyable (although not as funny as the description above implied, though)…

  • Anatole

    My focus is on the * too. I usually pre-focus and set a smaller aperture before asking. No one ever gets that you need to focus with another button before pressing the shutter…

  • Igor Ken

    Fun video :)

    I really don’t care, I just say I hope you like it and go away. Who cares what random strangers think of your snapshot, if they don’t like it, cool, they’ll ask another person! People usually don’t care about how perfectly the shot is composed, they just want a decent picture where the background is well seen and they look ok too. No need to get all professional…

  • bob

    Or maybe your pictures do really sucks!! Have you thought about that!!!!

  • Mantis

    It’s almost as if somebody isn’t forcing you to read every article or watch every video. Weird, huh?

  • A.J.

    You sound fun.

  • Volchesta Jfr

    “B” because I have crap photos of myself, or maybe it is that I am ugly and the camera doesn’t lie!! Well, it lies a little, but …it makes me look fat? Am I fat?? OMG!!!

  • Jack

    It’s funny. You aren’t. That’s the point.

    Honestly, you dont get it? Is it *really* that difficult to understand?

    I bet you need velcro shoes and a clip on tie.

  • Horst Wrabetz

    believe me, i’m not such a person. it’s just not really entertaining, that’s all.

    the subject isn’t worth talking about and the execution is … yeah, i guess it’s alright.

    it’s like watching a lame stand up comedian.

  • Arnold Newman

    Now that’s funny. I use back button focus too but there’s no chance in the world I’m going to hand a $5,000 body-and-lens combo to some random person who, in all likelihood, could out run me if they decided they liked the feel of it in their hands. They’d get a nice new camera and I’d be talking to my doctor about my pulled hamstring or torn Achilles tendon.

  • cpt pyungshin

    Thanks…needed a good laugh today. I’ve had a similar situation happen recently and after I shot the photo they simply stood there. I asked if they needed me to take another one and they still remained silent. I wished them good day and walked away. I just figured it was such a good photo it left them speechless. :-P.

  • chickswithlonglenses

    dumb and a waste of virtual space on the internet. get a clue.

  • Sara

    You might want to ask the person which they’d like (better photo of the background, better photo of themselves). Maybe the person hadn’t thought about what they really wanted, maybe they wanted both, or maybe they don’t have a photographic eye at all and don’t really care as long as it’s a picture. They’re not really a client, but if you want to please them as if they were one, you might give them a five second consultation before you take the photo. different people will want different things!

  • Guu again


    Although, yes, when ppl ask me to take their photo I usually say:
    “Sure! How do you want it?” or “What do you want in there with you, those autumn trees?” or “Do you want it to be a portrait, you know, you guys shown from chest up, or from feet to head or … ?”

    Just a tiny … micro … no, even nano communication. One sentence.
    a) surprises them
    b) makes them happy with the pic as they have a chance to say what they asked to take a photo of at the first place.

    And by adding the sentence, you’ve made up some good karma for yourself too!

  • csmif

    this only happens to you.