Hey Photography Groups: Don’t Be Jerks In National Parks

Death Valley, Photography groups, photography class, photo trip, national parks

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting and photographing Desert Valley National Park and I was amazed at the vastness and beauty there. I was less amazed with the amateur photography groups yelling at poor, unsuspecting tourists with or without cameras who would unknowingly walk into their shots. What amazed me even more was the numb-nuts group leader yelling as well (I’m talking to you, Nick). Clearly an amateur and ignorant move. Myself and the other professional photographers quietly shook our heads in disbilief and discussed how ignorant this group was.

Here’s the thing, when you pay for a group photography class you aren’t paying for exclusive rights to locations. Group leader, you don’t get to tell people to move this way or that. In fact, be a professional and work with the environment you’re given. This clearly shows a lack of creativity on your part. Ultimately, if you don’t like what has come into “your” scene then you have two choices… Shut up and leave or move. Unfortunatlely, the group was too far away for me to share my two-cents with them however I doubt it would have been well received. Dummies will be dummies.

So, if you’re ever in a public place and someone yells at you to get out of their shot I would encourage you to simply ignore them and consider staying longer. On the other hand, if someone politely asks you to step to the side for x amount of minutes then perhaps you could oblige.


National Parks are not exclusive to anyone. There is no amount of money you can pay to have exclusive rights to any part of a national park… That’s the beauty. No matter your financial situation, if you find yourself in a national park you have every right to be wherever you want to be at any time you want to be there (as long as you aren’t breaking any laws of course). Ignore anyone that tells you otherwise. And ultimately, BE POLITE TO EVERYONE!

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4 replies on “Hey Photography Groups: Don’t Be Jerks In National Parks”
  1. says: becky desantis

    Well put, John. It’s a shame people can be so self centered and entitled. It is annoying when you are all set up and then people stand right in front of you but that’s the chance you take in a public place. As you said you move, you wait for a clearing, or you make it work if at all possible.

  2. says: Lewsh

    The real frustration is the number of people in the same place. The national parks have large numbers of people coming with limited time on a tour and they try to make the best of their limited time which includes walking in front of everyone and everything. Park facilities are in many cases overwhelmed and underfunded.

  3. So, if you’re ever in a public place and someone yells at you to get out of their shot I would encourage you to simply ignore them and consider staying longer.

    Precisely what my amateur photography group did while shooting sunset in the state park when the the wedding photographer yelled at us to get out of his frame.

    1. says: Lewsh

      Would you want someone else to do the same thing to you? Even if you speak gently, you might get the same ignoring results. It’s just people density. Can’t get around it.

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