New Photographers: I’m Begging You to Not Be This Guy

New photographers tend to do things that annoy lots of people, and this is something you shouldn’t do at all.

If someone were constantly shooting a flash in your face, how would you react? Wouldn’t your eyes need a break? It would get annoying and you’d probably want to commit a small act of violence against the offender. So what happened to me and a buddy the other night at a Seiko event is the more modernized version of that. Instead of using a flash, a photographer just had a straight LED light on top of their Canon EOS R and shot non-stop. It was really, really annoying for a number of reasons.

First off, we all understand that you have a job to do. That’s cool. You’re either getting paid or agreeing to do it for free. But rule number one of event photography is to not bother the guests. A giant LED panel in my face is a million times worse than a flash bounced off of the ceiling. Oh, you don’t know how to use a flash? There are tons of tutorials on YouTube and even this website that help with that. Even better, lots of hot shoe flashes these days have LED lights built-in. The modeling light there helps with when you want to shoot video. But this guy clearly wasn’t shooting video because there were people there with entire video shooting rigs.

Folks, if you’re brand new to photography, I encourage you to embrace your passion, but I also encourage you to be ethical. Don’t flash an LED in someone’s face. Lots of people will spout the misinformation that affordable LEDs are ready for prime time. They’re not. Kinoflos and ARRI lights surely are, and they’re used professionally for great reasons. In most instances, a flash is still the best thing you can employ.