Shooting Photos: Should the Term Change for Photographers?

There are times I’ve written “shooting animals” or something else along those lines. In other countries, it’s probably okay to keep saying that. But in America, it feels disgusting in these times. If you’re sitting there saying we’re getting caught up in vernacular and culture, then I implore you to convince me of your side. However, I’m going to talk about mine.

Let’s list a few phrases that just don’t feel right to say anymore:

  • You’re free to shoot in public.
  • Shoot her.
  • Shoot him.
  • Shoot your sister.
  • Shoot your brother.
  • Shooting birds through the trees.
  • Shooting animals from a distance.
  • Shooting dogs.
  • Shooting cats.
  • Shooting newborns with their mammas.
  • Shooting kids while they’re running around.
  • Shoot the parents at the wedding.
  • I’m going shooting at the parade.
  • Want to shoot later on the waterfront?

All these terms in our vernacular hit harder because they’re associated with living, breathing organisms. It’s not as bad as saying, “I’m going to shoot some astro tonight, want to come?” But considering all that’s going on in America and even the world right now, it’s probably time we change. Now, here’s a look at what some of these often end up sounding like instead:

  • You’re free to shoot photos in public.
  • Shoot photos of her.
  • Shoot photos of him.
  • Shoot your sister with your camera.
  • Shoot your brother with your camera.
  • Shooting photos of birds through the trees.
  • Shooting photos of animals from a distance.
  • Shooting photos of dogs.
  • Shooting photos of cats.
  • Shooting photos of newborns with their mommas.
  • Shooting photos of kids while they’re running around.
  • Shoot photos of the parents at the wedding.
  • I’m going shooting at the parade with my Fuji.
  • Want to shoot photos later on the waterfront?

Photographers and our cameras do not need to be associated with guns. A camera doesn’t take bullets. Flashes don’t use gunpowder anymore. Our cameras use batteries in many cases. Here’s an analysis of other terms:

  • Document: As in “document the kids while they’re running around.”
  • Snap: As in “I’m going snapping at the parade.”
  • Photograph: as in “photographing puppies.”
  • Capturing: Capturing animals doesn’t sound all that great.
  • Record: As in “recording newborns with their mommas.”
  • Film: maybe it’s time that we take the process of filming back from the cinema world
  • Make pictures: as in “Want to go make pictures together later that we’re going to adore?”

Consider how far we’ve come in society these days. The more understanding folk amongst us don’t use racial slurs anymore. We also don’t use slurs to describe LGBTQAI+ folks. We also don’t do things like call psychologists shrinks. Your intent and use of the word don’t necessarily matter in this case. What matters is the original root cause and usage of the word. The term “shooting” was used far before cameras existed. Humanity went around shooting bows, blow pipes, and guns long before Ansel Adams photographed the landscapes he made.

This is something for all of us to consider. If you’re going to just ignore the problem, then perhaps you’re part of the issue. Can you explain why we should keep using the term “shooting”? And more importantly, can you elaborate and tell me the who, what, when, where, how, and why of your argument?  Can you do it in a respectful manner, in the same manner I did here?

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.