The Eight Different Types of Photographers You’ll Find in the Wild


One of the joys of photography is the interesting cast of characters you meet along the way. I’m not talking about the subject’s you’re shooting here, I’m talking about the other photographers you’ll run in to.

No matter how many different personalities you come across though, you’ll eventually start to notice recurring themes. A cast of familiar characters if you will. Today, in order to lighten things up a little, we’ll explore a few of those different characters. Here are 8 different types of photographers you’ll run into in your life:

Social Media Hawk

social hawk

This is the person that has their entire portfolio up on Facebook and uses every hashtags variation they can in their Instagram posts. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, random objects that happen to be in the background at the time.

This is the person that adds #rock, #boulder, #stone, #avalanche, when they happen to see a pebble on the sidewalk in the background of one of their photos. Every photo is another marketing opportunity for their “brand” and they’re probably one of the few people you know that’s excited about the WiFi capabilities in the newest slew of cameras coming out.

Film Only Guy

film only

This guy (or girl) has probably lost all the color in their hair, wears glasses, and has more wrinkles than Social Media Hawk has hashtags. Oh, and they also still shoot film. Sure they’ll shoot digital, just to stay competitive of course, but watch out because while they do, they will complain about every. single. second of it.

They’ll talk about how much easier it was, how much harder it was, how much more of a craft it was, the aesthetic appeal of a dark room, the control over the photos, and so on and so forth.

And if they do happen to shoot film for a job (don’t worry, they’ll be sure to tell you about how awesome that is the whole time too) they’ll ultimately end up spending a ton of time developing the photos in a darkroom only to likely have to scan the photos in or create digital negatives for their client, adding a few more hours of editing time to the process, because it’s 2013 and that’s how people want their photos delivered.

Digital Only Guy


This person is the flip side to Film Only Guy, except they’re far less vocal. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t a positive character trait, it’s mostly just due to circumstance since everything is pretty much digital right now and thus they have less to complain about. Don’t worry, their time will come.

For now, you’ll still hear them grumble about Film Only Guy and his antiquated methods, completely blind to the fact that one day it will be them complaining about the new photography fad where photos are stored in your brain and can be taken with your eye at any time.

Don’t these people know that digital files, which are only playable on screens and susceptible to corruption and being accidentally deleted, are clearly the superior media!?

Gear Junkie


We all know this person. Heck, a lot of us might actually admit to being this person. This is the guy or girl who has more gear than photos. They collect lenses like they’re trading cards and they never get rid of anything. On the bright side, if you ever need a camera strap they have like thirty-seven of them… so at least there’s that.

This person is probably most into the type of photography that surrounds some sort of gimmick, like light painting or time lapses. I don’t mean to diminish these types of photography or portray them as lesser (I’m personally into both of these, so there’s definitely no judgement here) but this person is into them because they require the one thing that is most important in their life: MORE GEAR!

The Judge


This is that one person you know who never has a camera on them nor seems to ever actually take any photos, but boy, do they love to tell you how you should take your photos. You’re probably even a little suspicious that this person isn’t actually a photographer, but their bullish authority on photo editing makes you think they must have taken at least ONE photo in their life. Otherwise how would they know every detail about cropping ratios or the exact Lightroom shortcut you were trying to remember while they were standing over your shoulder.

The most notable quality of this character is that they always offer their expertise when you’re least looking for it. You know, like after your photo has already been printed in the local newspaper or is up on the front page of a national website. Or better yet, while your client or editor is reviewing the photo in front of you. Seriously, why are they even there?

The Recluse


This is that one photographer friend you have who is filled with talent and capable of amazing things. And yet, they’ve never done anything or used their talents in any substantial way. This is that friend you know that could land a staff job at a newspaper in a heartbeat if only they’d actually get up and apply for it.

When they actually do assert themselves they can pull off photos you’ve only dreamed of, but for one reason or another — be it insecurity, lack of motivation, or just a general lack of interest — they are forever ensconced in their house… wrapping it around them like a security blanket and never leaving its grasp. As a result, despite their potential, this person will forever remain at home dreaming about what could have been.

The Non-Photographer Friend


This person is commonly misidentified as The Recluse, but there’s one clear difference between The Non-Photographer Friend and The Recluse: The Non-Photographer Friend actually takes photos, and they are amazing.

This is that person in your life that has never defined themselves as a photographer, never had any interest in being a photographer, and certainly never edited a photo after they’d taken it. Heck, this person probably doesn’t even own a camera outside of their phone.

And yet, despite that, every time they do randomly decide to take a picture it’s a beautifully framed, perfectly lit masterpiece that you wish you had taken. This person clearly has a natural talent and you hate them for it. But it’s okay, we all do.



The one person who doesn’t fall into any of these categories and is perfectly balanced. You never give advice out of turn, equally appreciate film and digital photography, only use Instagram socially, and only have the gear you need and use. Congratulations you’re the only exception, just like the rest of us.

Image credit: Dolphin photographers Chanory point by Wilderness on my door step, what’s in my camera bag by diloz, Maison sinistre (creepy house) by Claude Robillard and iPhone Photographer by joshkehn

  • Jim Johnson

    “This is that friend you know that could land a staff job at a newspaper..”

    I don’t think staff jobs actually exist any longer. You might be showing your age there.

  • Al

    Recluse! I’m totally a recluse. Though there’s no way I’d ever get my photos noticed anywhere.

  • Dean W. Thompson

    I’m glad you added me to the list at the end there. Thank you.

  • Praverb

    Haha I am the recluse. This post is spot on. I am working on building up that motivation.

  • e3qw3eqwqwe

    yeah but you are a bad photographer too.
    so not a great loss for the world…

  • A.G. Photography

    Your point (with this article) is?

  • Walter

    fun… try it sometimes..may remove the stick from you a**

  • dfsafasf

    yeah but you are not good either….


    well you sure not insecure when you think you are talented and capable of amazing things.
    i say you wish you were recluse.. but you are just not good enough to be recognized.

  • A.G. Photography

    So making fun of others is fun to you? I am not sure why we need to be “categorized”? are we shoes, or people?

  • Mako

    I hate it when someone grabs one of my photos without giving me my credit! I’m referring to the shot of the equipment laid out. haha …

  • Praverb

    Yeah you are right. That is why I am continuing to learn.

  • Praverb

    Yup but learning is fun right?

  • Jeezdhdn

    Lighten up, dickwad.

  • Haoyuan Ren

    obviously this took a personal turn.. perhaps he fills several different types at once.

  • A.G. Photography

    did I call you names?

  • Mescalamba

    Let me guess..

    The Judge? :D

  • ramanauskas

    Man, tough crowd.

  • ramanauskas

    “Social Media Hawk”. Clever name. Hmmm, could you have someone specific in mind? Naaaah.

  • Stan B.

    Film Only Guy should be divided into:

    A) Old fart taking film photos.

    B) New Jack Hipster who gets published cause he’s… “Retro!”

  • Steven Tryon

    Hey! Be nice to us (mostly) film luddites. :D

  • NancyP

    I am the gear person/ “how does that work” person. Too much time spent finding out about tools, too little time getting to know one specific tool well.

  • Renato Valenzuela

    i’m a bit of a hybrid between you and recluse. ever so slowly, and ever so diligently, i’m shedding the recluse part. =)

  • Jack

    Sure, he could land a staff job at a newspaper… but he likes being able to afford food, electricity and shoes.

  • Ralph Hightower

    Film guy: I’m still using my Canon A-1 that I bought over 30 years ago. Hey, it still works! I added a used Canon F-1N to my gear since I can continue using Canon FD lenses; does that make me a gear junkie?
    I will buy a DSLR, but it’s an f’ing “arms race” with new cameras introduced every 3-4 weeks.
    Okay, I have a smartphone with a camera and we own a point and shoot camera; but I hate that shutter lag and the autofocus hunting. I will use my phone if I don’t have my camera with me.

  • Rachael Alexandra

    I just tweeted a very similar thought, color me amused :)

  • tron

    just pointing out you don’t need a darkroom to develop film :)

  • Dikaiosune01

    I am all of these things. And none of these things. That makes me, me! Somedays I’m a film guy. Somedays I’m a digital guy. Somedays I’m a recluse, others the judge. Some days I get a lot of hits on my website, somedays I get none. What makes me, me; is that I refuse to be boxed into any single one of these categories.

  • Kurtations

    Cool article and funny comments!

  • Joseph

    We are people, you just have a stick up your a**

  • Derrrk

    I guess I would be the recluse – but only cause I ran out of money and can’t make any more prints for the time being. But when I do get some cash, look out!

  • Bill Binns

    You forgot the worst (and fastest growing) variety of them all…the iPad photographer. I despise these people. Nothing like having 20 glowing phone books held up in front of your face during a concert….

  • Teodorico

    I feel perfectly confortable in “you” box.

  • Violeta

    There should be the “I never edit my photos” person. So many people who don’t get/want to learn proper editing tend to say how they prefer to “get it right in-camera”, while mocking people who spend time on their computer. It’s extremely annoying.

  • frankdaniels

    haha nice :)

  • Daniel Walldorf

    Your point (with this comment) is?

  • Photo Pro IP

    Judging by the comments it looks like the person who wrote this article forgot one category:
    “The BULLYotographer who cannot answer a simple question without being rude, and inconsiderate”

  • Daniel Walldorf

    I was going to post something similar. These people seem to be everywhere, always ready to take a photo with their iPad! Ridiculous :D

  • Daniel Walldorf

    Yep, definitely I’m the “you”-guy! Great you mentioned me ;)

  • Mik

    I’m no perfect balance.
    I’m the judge, and probably a bit of the recluse, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself hoping it’s true.

  • DoomedPhil

    You forgot The Wannabe. The guy who accidentally took a shot that he’s happy with and is convinced that some combination of equipment or software will magically make things work right more than once. That’s me now, but one more GIMP tutorial and I’m pretty sure I’ll have it worked out.

  • Chive Awesomeness

    I’m the hybrid, I know some non-photographers, I know a few recluses, I am a cross between digital only and social media.

  • Kaybee

    That’s me! Hahahaha… I need to move away from being recluse though because these days’ I am only thinking about the “What ifs”…

  • E-Nonymouse A

    i’m definitely a combo of the gear freak and the recluse although as of yet none of my work has been recognized..

  • E-Nonymouse A

    I am shoes! :P

  • So Crates

    You forgot about the “kid in the basement” – this is the person who is living at home and spending all of their time and money on photography/software/etc. Their work is quite good and they are willing to give it away for free/credit, undercutting everyone else until Mom says get a job – at which point they get a job, move out, and start a new life… only to be replaced by the next kid in the basement.

  • D. Benjamin

    C’mon now, you can afford shoes w/ a newspaper job.

  • D. Benjamin

    20 glowing phone books = sweet band name.

  • stoooopid

    Funny how many people think they are the recluse. I think this is how many people see themselves – talented but no motivation to do anything. In reality most people are not talented (by definition) and also not motivated. Me – I like the gear. I don’t have the resources to buy every lens and body ever made, so it keeps me from falling neatly into the gear junkie category. But there is another catagory that It think was left out – the “forum photographer”. This person may or may not own any gear. But they troll all the photography forums looking for a lens fight, or a aps-c vs. full frame fight, or a mirrorless vs dslr fight. Yeah, a lot of us fall vaguely into that category. Another type of forum photographer goes on the forums after a gear purchase and vigourously defends that piece of equipment against all attacks, until 2 months later when the return it to walmart and then go on a forum rampage against it.

  • Sitha

    I wish I was the Gear Junkie guy…. I would be happy to own the best gear…