A photographer shooting the reflections through a puddle

18 Reasons Why You Should Never Travel With a Photographer, Ever!

There’s no question that having a photographer friend or being in a relationship with a photographer has its perks. Whenever you do something together, there’s always the chance of ending up with some awesome pictures of yourself or of the place you visited. That alone is pretty great.

That said, though, as much as you love your photographer friend or partner, sometimes it’s just not worth tagging along when they go on a trip. Below, you’ll find some of the best reasons why you should never travel with a photographer. If only one of them applies to you, you two should be fine during your trip. If you can relate to two or more, however, you might want to think twice about your travel plans.

1. You Will Never Enjoy a Sunset in Peace

The hour before sunset—including sunset itself—is prime photography hour. If you’re looking to enjoy a romantic sunset with your loved one, think again. They’ll be looking at it through their lens.

A group of photographers setting up to cpature a beautiful sunset over a pier
Sunset is prime time for photographers. From white balance to ND Grad filters, there is just too much to do

2. You Will Never Get to Eat Your Food When It Arrives

Who likes to wait for food when they’re hungry? Who likes, when it arrives, to have to wait even longer? No one! Well, if you’re on the road with a photographer, you might just have to. Food photography is extremely popular on Instagram, so you’ll definitely have to suck it up and let your photographer companion take his or her #foodporn shots.

A photo of a photographer taking photos of food using a smartphone
Your food will be cold by the time they are done taking the photos

3. Too Bad If You Don’t Like Posing

If you’re self-conscious or don’t like to be the center of attention, you’ll want to pick a different travel buddy than a photographer. People add a sense of scale to a scene, whether it’s a landscape or urban place.

As you’ll be the most readily available model, don’t be surprised if you get asked to strike up a pose more than once during your trip.

A women posing strangely to the camera with a question mark expression on her face
You will be their model for the trip. Get ready to pose!

4. They Will Be Holding Their Camera, Not Your Hand

This obviously applies to couples traveling together. If you’re a romantic soul and are totally into strolling on old cobbled streets with the love of your life, don’t fool yourself if that love of your life also happens to be a photographer. They will pay more attention to holding their camera than your begging hand.

Photo of a photographer holding a camera in hand
Instead of holding your hand, they will be holding their gear

5. They Will Wake You Up at 4 AM

Together with sunset, sunrise is one of the two best times of the day to take pictures. In fact, it may just be the single best time. This is because Dawn tends to be extremely quiet and sometimes moody. Photographers obviously know and love this. If the person you’re traveling with is serious about photography, there’s no way on earth you’ll be able to sleep in. Unless, of course, if you don’t join them on their early-morning outings.

Photo of a photographer taking a sunrise photo.
Dawn is the best time of the day to take photos – Photo by manolofranco

6. Forget Long Dinners on Romantic Summer Nights

Long days characterize summer vacations, which means that you’ll often have dinner before the sun actually sets. Photographers won’t have time to stick around for conversations, romantically shared desserts or after-dinner drinks. They’ll be anxious not to miss the “golden hour”.

A person eating food on a romantic summer day
No time to waste on romantic dinners. Golden hour is more important!

7. You Won’t Have Any Photos of the Two of You Together

Photographers tend to see the world through lenses and filters. They’re the ones taking photos all the time, while you will be patiently waiting on the sidelines or perhaps even posing for the photos. This results in pictures with either none of you in it or only you in it.

A photo of a photographer's companion posing alone for a photo
Don’t expect too many photos of the two of you together!

8. Be Ready for Extra Baggage Fees

Professional photographers are notorious equipment gatherers. There’s no maximum number of lenses they can have. Tripods are essential. Maybe they even have a drone! And all of this, of course, has to come along whenever you travel. This stuff tends to be rather heavy, so be prepared to spend a bit more cash on baggage fees (if you’re flying).

A photo of a full display of a photographer's gear on top of a park bench.
Photographers certainly don’t travel light

9. Get Ready for Extra Checks at Airports

Bags stuffed with fancy, professional camera equipment might raise a red flag at border crossings. Punctual border control officers will pull you apart, search your bags and question you about the purpose of your trip. Keep in mind that professional journalists, photographers, and other media people are often technically required to have a work visa if they’re planning on actually working. This is a gray area, though, as it’s difficult to (dis)prove whether you’ll be working or not. You may just be passing through…

A photo of a TSA agent getting ready to scan travellers
Airport security agents are known to hand check long telephoto lenses and bulky cameras.

10. You Have to Deal With Complaints About Blue Skies

Blue skies may be delightful if you’re looking to do some serious sunbathing, but photographers hate them. No clouds mean no contrast. It definitely means a boring sunset, too. While you’ll be basking in the sun, your photographer buddy will be moping about less-than-ideal shooting conditions. Is there a bigger vacation mood killer than that? Right, I didn’t think so!

A photo of a girl posing in a white sandy beach in front of blue ocean
You might be thinking blue sky is beautiful. You are wrong!

11. They Decide When to Go

Focused on the best possible locations and the best times for photography, photographers tend to be somewhat single-minded and selfish during trips. It’s too bad if you want to go to Japan and only have holidays in June. Obviously, because Japan’s Cherry Blossom season is in April! Don’t even try to discuss this stuff with a photographer.

A photo of a night lighted cherry blossoms in Japan
Beautiful cherry blossoms in Japan – Photo by jamie_nakamuru

12. They Decide Where to Go

No matter how much you want to go to a buzzing city and window shop and do all the exciting things, you will never convince your landscape photographer companion that it’s a good idea. They will end up dragging you to a mountain or backpacking in Asia hunting waterfalls instead.

13. Forget About a Relaxing Vacation

If you want to go on a stress-free trip and need to recharge your batteries, consider picking someone else than a photographer as your traveling partner. Traveling with a photographer is by no means relaxing. Rather the contrary, in fact. It will probably be hectic. Photography opportunities are endless; photographers want to take advantage of that. Even on supposedly “relaxing” holidays.

A photo of a photographer hard at work while making a face
Whether they are scouting locations or meddling with settings, photographers are always busy

14. Get Ready for Funny Looks From Onlookers

Photographers tend to bend themselves in the funniest positions in order to get the best possible shot.

A photographer bending in a funny way on a railway track
Photographers do crazy things to get the best shot – Photo by 3dman_eu

15. You Don’t Get Their Undivided Attention

Spending quality time with your partner is the basis of any healthy relationship. That’s just a basic fact. However, if you think that you’ll be spending 24/7 with your other half during your vacation, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise. You’ll have to share your partner with the actual destination, which will demand much of his or her attention.

A photographer setting up their camera settings to take a landscape shot.
From ISO settings to white balance, there are plenty of issues that photographers need to worry about!

16. Time off Is Not Really Time Off

And then there’s the editing, of course. Be assured that, if your photographer partner thinks they got a great shot, they will want to edit it in your hotel room and share it on social media. No question about that! Show them this article to save time on post processing.

A photo of a photographer editing their photos in bed at night
You might think they will be happy with that really cool shot they took. Wait till they come to the hotel room and start editing all night!

17. They Will Use You as an Assistant

When traveling with a photographer, you may sometimes feel like a mule. When they’re busy getting the perfect shot, you’ll be standing there holding their camera bags, filters and tripods.

A girl holding a camera
Honey, can you please hold on to my extra body!

18. A Photographer Can Tolerate Bad Weather, Can You?

Storms, blizzards, tornadoes,… Those all make for an epic, dramatic photographs. Photographers are in love with them, even look forward to bad weather. If you don’t have the same mindset, there’ll be some discussion during your trip.

A photographer taking a shot in snow
Serious photographers are hardy creatures – Photo by jill111

Traveling with a photographer also definitely has its downsides. Photographers are essentially both creators and salespeople, which puts them in a sometimes stressful position. In exchange for a supremely flexible schedule and opportunities to visit amazing places, photographers often find themselves doing two jobs at the same time.

When you’re traveling with one—doesn’t matter if it’s your boy- or girlfriend or just a friend—you need to understand this about them. You have to realize that things may be stressful. Even if the trip isn’t necessarily a “business photography trip”, every passionate photographer will still want to go out and shoot some pictures.

Be aware of that peculiar quality of someone who is a photographer at heart. Try to respect their passion; try to be flexible when they are not.

Have you traveled with a photographer before? Share your experiences in the comments below!

A photo of a funny pose from a photographer

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About the author

Bram Reusen

Bram Reusen is a Belgian travel writer and photographer who’s based in Virginia, USA. From day hikes in national parks to long-distance cycling adventures, from short city breaks to multi-month trips, he has tried several travel styles over the years. So far, Bram has been to 26 countries on 4 continents, 28 national parks and 44 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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