8 Things You Should Know if You are Dating a Street Photographer

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Let’s face it, photographers are a breed of their own. Street photographers may belong to an even more extreme category… so here are eight things you should know if you are dating a street photographer:

#1 You cannot walk where you want on your own

No matter which side of the street your favorite shops or restaurants are, you will be required to walk on the side that offers the best dappled light, long shadows, reflections, backdrops, etc. You may also occasionally be used as a decoy to approach a situation inconspicuously.

Date night often means going downtown and it's also my opportunity to explore areas I would go on my own. We have fun, even if I'm the only one with a camera! ©Valérie Jardin

Date night often means going downtown and it’s also my opportunity to explore areas where I would not go on my own. We have fun, even if I’m the only one with a camera!   ©Valérie Jardin

#2 You may visit a lot of back alleys

If you and your partner are on a shopping spree, you may often be required to exit a building through the back door. Back alleys hold secrets, interesting subjects and magical light that are too good to pass.

#3 Good luck having a romantic night just the two of you (without a camera)

Unless your street photographer date is blindfolded, you will rarely have a romantic night out in the city without a camera. Yes, we live and breathe street photography. The camera is an extension of ourselves. The temptation is too great and you might as well let us grab a shot or two to prevent mood-breaking frustration.

#4 Do not expect to have your date’s full attention

You will have a hard time spending an evening in public gazing into each other’s eyes. A street photographer is conditioned to be on constant alert to notice every gesture, expression and lighting in the immediate radius, with or without a camera. Hey, you knew all along you were dating a photographer…

#5 You can expect to meet lots of new people

Expect to stop often and talk with strangers of all walks of life, at any moment and on any given day. This can happen unexpectedly in the subway, at the bus stop, in the cab, at the coffee shop or while you are waiting to cross the street. Just know that the street photographer who shares your life has a keen eye at spotting interesting people from a mile away!

#6 You may temporarily lose your date at a moment’s notice

I must admit, I had an ulterior motive when I suggested that we go for an evening walk over a bridge, down next to a highway so I could get this shot... ©Valérie Jardin

I must admit, I had an ulterior motive when I suggested that we go for an evening walk over a bridge, down next to a highway so I could get this shot…   ©Valérie Jardin

Do not worry if your street photographer takes off in a hurry in the middle of a conversation. The right subject may be entering the perfect backdrop for the shot of a lifetime. Or maybe an interesting person just passed you on the sidewalk and your street shooter now needs to run the other direction, well ahead of the subject, to find the best way to frame the shot.

#7 You’ll need to have patience

Bring a book! Setting a stage and waiting for the story to develop may very well be your partner’s favorite pastime. This can take a few minutes, or a few hours…

#8 Your vacation destinations will be predetermined for you

If your significant other is a street photographer, do not be surprised if your next vacation destination has an ulterior motive. We much prefer to walk the streets of a large city than to lie on the beach of an exotic island.

Vacation on the beach? Sure, as long as it's not too isolated and there are people to photograph! ©Valérie Jardin

Vacation on the beach? Sure, as long as it’s not too isolated and there are people to photograph!   ©Valérie Jardin

Conclusion:

Street photographers are not the easiest people to live with. Honestly I’m not sure I’d want to live with me if I wasn’t a photographer. We require a lot of patience. If you love one, don’t think for a second that you will be able to keep him/her away from that camera for more than a few hours. Be generous, give the street photographer in your life some time to pursue their passion on their own or with like-minded people. After all, wouldn’t you rather do your own things too? Look at it this way: We are the way we are because we have a true passion for people, it’s not such a bad thing.

Blue hour by the lake? At the very least I'll get a shot of my drink, or his... Sometimes both.  ©Valérie Jardin

Blue hour by the lake? At the very least I’ll get a shot of my drink, or his… Sometimes both.
©Valérie Jardin

If you read this article, you’re probably a photographer. Please share with the non-photographer in your life. And if you plead guilty to any of the above, please share your experience.

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Valerie Jardin I live and breathe in pixels! Photography is more than a passion, it's an obsession, almost an addiction. When I'm not shooting or writing, I spend my time teaching this beautiful craft during photo workshops all over the world! I am also thrilled to be an official X Photographer for Fujifilm USA. Visit my Website Follow me on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram. And listen to my Podcast!

  • Mark

    Ha, this made me laugh Valerie.

  • lolwhoops

    Seems awfully harsh. You paint a watercolour picture of a seemingly unhappy relationship filled with regret, glossed over by the nuances of hopeful wishful thinking.

  • Ron Scubadiver

    So true.

  • Sam

    Hehe… nice. I must add, that if a street photographer is visibly itching to breakaway from the conversation to take a shot and yet doesn’t then he / she is probably head over heels into the other person, possibly a keeper. Or just too polite?

  • Ha ha! This was great. Thanks!

  • betty

    Good one.

  • Guilty many times over. Couldn’t do it though without the support of my wife. She doesn’t carry a camera but she may be my best scout because of all the times she has walked the streets with me looking for interesting people:)

  • Choo Chiaw Ting

    just throw away your camera and have great time with your family. When you are not with your family, bring along your camera. Camera or your family, choose one at a time, unless both of you have the same interest.. 😉

  • Lisa Moyer

    Guilty as charged… perfectly me!

  • QuackQuack

    You must be fun at parties.

  • Jimmy Frost

    Guilty as charged! The funniest story my wife has was about the time after a long streak of rain in our area, we had these huge mushrooms popping up everywhere, so she was a little shocked when I stopped the car, jumped out with camera-in-hand, laid down on the grass (I’m a big man, over 300 lbs) and started shooting close-ups of the mushrooms.

    Of course, I now know her “What are you DOING?” look…..

  • excellent article. fun read.

  • carolyn aycock

    Sleep is negotiable as long as the camera wins.

  • Ib

    Exactly the same goes for nature and wildlife photographers, except you will likely be asked to carry the tripod 😉

  • AzYooper

    Just change the title to Landscape Photographer or any other garden variety of Photographer, for that matter. Same rules apply with minor modifications. Alleys become creeks or trails, etc. Bring a book for Star Trails, etc. The non-photo partner of any photographer will recognize these same symptoms and need to use the same cures or adjustments. Together though, they can enjoy a deeper appreciation of their surroundings and experiences and have a great memory recorded for later in life.

  • View Minder

    “Date a guy who shoots street. Date a guy who spends his money on lenses instead of clothes. He has problems with closet space because he has too many lenses and he always insists on saving the boxes they came in. Date a guy who has five cameras, who has had a a thirty five millimeter since he was twelve.

    Find a guy who takes pictures. You’ll know that he does because he will always be carrying a camera. He’s the one lovingly looking over the cases in the camerastore, the one who quietly cries out when he finds the out of production lens he wants. You see the weird dude sniffing the lenses in a second hand camera shop? That’s the photographer. They can never resist playing with the lenses, especially when they are vintage Ziess.

    He’s the guy monkey-thumbing through the days images on his camera while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at his mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because he’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of pixelated images. Sit down. He might give you a smile, as most guys who take street pictures love to be interrupted by beautiful women. Ask him if he got any good closeups.

    Buy him another cup of coffee.

    If he’s a professional photographer he probably can’t afford it.

    Let him know what you really think of Cartier-Bresson . See if he digs Capra. Understand that if he says he understands what Helen Levitt meant when she said “Since I’m inarticulate, I express myself with images” he’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask him if he loves the work of Garry Winogrand or he would like to be Garry Winogrand.

    It’s easy to date a guy who takes pictures. Give him photo opportunities for his birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give him the gift of images, in books, in your actions, in song. Give him Elliott Erwitt, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Lee Friedlander. Let him know that you understand that his images are love. Understand that he knows the difference between images and reality but by god, he’s going to try to make his life a little like his favorite image. It will never be your fault if he does.

    He has to give it a shot somehow.

    Lie to him. If he understands imagery, he will understand your need to lie or to ocassionally photoshop your self-portraits. Behind the images are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

    Fail him. Because a guy who takes lots of pictures that don’t come out knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because guys who shoot street understand that all things will come to end. That you can always try to shoot another image. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two… like bad light or dirty lenses.

    Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Guys who take pictures understand that people, like characters, or film, develop.

    If you find a guy who shoots street, keep him close. When you find him up at 2 AM pouring over the nights shots, beating his chest and weeping about the ones that didn’t come out, make him a cup of tea and hold him. You may lose him for a couple of hours when he hits the streets on Friday nights but he will always come back to you. He’ll talk as if the relationships in his images are real, because for a while, they always are.

    He will propose on a hot air balloon. While he is taking pictures. Over wine country. Or during a rock concert when he is trying to get the perfect angle or exposure. Or very casually next time he’s sick. Over Skype. Because he went off to London to shoot. After calling in sick to work.

    You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives in images, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes and take millions of pictures of them that you will never print. He will introduce your children to the Nikon and studio lighting, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together listening to the sound of his shutter and he will recite Robert Capra’s quotes under his breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

    Date a guy who loves shooting street because you deserve it. You deserve a guy who can give you the most colorful life imaginable… even if he prefers to shoot in black and white. If you can only give him monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a guy who shoots people on the street.” ~ Viewminder

    Inspired by Rosemarie Urquico

  • Richard L Hayes

    I had a professor in College ask me what I did for fun outside the class room. I told him I take photographs. To this he replied…” No. I mean what are your other interests.” I told him again that I take photographs. The look of exasperation and un-belief on his face confounded me. I was serious. He thought I was being a smart @$$. It was an advanced photography course. Go figure.

  • Michael Rojas

    I’m very guilty with this…LOL…my wife wants to have her photo with the shopping mall at the back as the background…but I fill the frame with full of layered elements on it…and she’s very angry with it…

  • Patricia S Paton

    It gets worse and worse when you not only go out with your extension; camera but when you get home and you have other extension; headphones listening to street focus podcast!! Luckily this came into my life in a stage that us as a couple have already enjoyed a lot life together and now we have more space for our own hobbies 🙂

  • Sara

    Ha! Too funny! Though I am not normally a street photographer, when we took a vacation to the Twin Cities I instantly turned into one. Blue hour seemed to last so long and it was the perfect mixture of woods and city, new and old!! I kept him out very late every night. So worth it! He agrees, however, at the time it did require more patience than he usually has.

  • Doug

    Spot on!

  • Xon Coronel

    So you’re basically saying street photographers are annoying, selfish, inconsiderate pigs. I’m not a great photographer by any means but I wouldn’t aspire to be one at the expense of basic interpersonal skills. (LOL! This is satire, right? Don’t worry. I get it.)

  • Guest

    If my wife leaves her Kindle behind, I will leave my Fuji behind! (or not)

  • Martin Lamoon

    Well, If my wife leaves her Kindle behind, I will leave my Fuji behind! (or not)

  • If we can’t laugh at ourselves right?

  • Please take the article with a sense of humor in which it was written. I know her husband of MANY years was consulted in the writing of it and they are quite happy.

  • I know right? I’ve actually forgotten what else I like to do. What is there? I do like to sip wine and eat good food, does that count? But I might take photos of it too LOL

  • Guilty as charged! Great article 🙂

  • Meee

    Hmm,I think that this also applies to women street photographers as well
    (not that I would know) 😀

  • anonymous

    If there’s one thing a street photographer should know about relationships… it’s that if you put your camera first and your woman second… you’ll be a very sad man. The joy your photography brings is only skin deep. Don’t carry a camera on a date! It’s basic common sense really. There’s nothing wrong enjoying hobbies. But not knowing priorities and lacking wisdom spells stupid. You’ll only truly enjoy the hobby, when you’re not in bondage to it. 🙂

  • lolwhoops

    Only the ones at which I show up.

  • John Ellis

    Love it. Will share on my girlfriends FB page.

  • Jeanette Lamb

    Packing for vacation? I only take enough clothes to wrap my lenses and spare camera in.

  • Jeanette Lamb

    Aside from street photography, I also like to do Landscape photography, Macro Photography, Astro Photography, Bird Photography and soon….Microscopy Photography. 🙂
    All are quite different. 🙂

  • CWT

    Exactly, I think even worse because any friendly female photographer can get away with so much more. They will appear not only less threatening but can even flirt a bit to get most anyone to get their picture. Trust me I know.

  • dan690

    At least street photographers don’t have to shoot their food before they eat it like Iphoneys.

  • zo taylor

    Lol, very interesting !

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  • Tapas Basu

    Thanks Valerie. I agree most othe topics you would have said but everybody is different so that Individualism must be kept politely.

  • Ken McColley

    O so true, well written.

  • wastingmytime

    My significant other is sunrises, urbex and rooftops. I am sunsets, landscapes and street. Sometime we do each others thing, sometime off on our own. To improvise when we cannot agree, we go to the zoo.

  • Nathan Young

    Happens with landscape and nature photography in our house.Whenever out for a hike or a walk I get lost.They turn around and I’m no where to be found I sat by a stream or down an embankment under a tree or on my belly shooting Moses or some fungus looking mucky stuff around a rock…lol.They have learned not to wait I’ll catch up sooner or later.

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