Two weeks ago, I was with a girl who was asked to take a photo for a group of people sitting near us. She stood up, walked over to the group, and nicely began taking a photo for them when someone said, “Actually, can you wait just a minute? We have one more person coming. They’re inside getting a drink.” Unsure of what to do while this seemingly important person closed out their tab, my friend decided to come back to our table to wait it out — with their phone in hand.
There was backlash. Oh, there was backlash. “How could this girl just take our phone back to her table?” the group wondered while we continued our conversation in our section of the restaurant. And sure, taking their phone was a curious move. But what was she supposed to do? Sit around and wait around for this group to get their shit together as if she’s their staff photographer for the night? No, that’s ridiculous. She was going to wait for them to get their ducks in a row, then walk back over with the phone so they wouldn’t have to go through the whole phone-exchange “let me type in my passcode” charade again.
This girl was looked at by this group of friends like she was absolutely despicable. While I agreed that it was a rude move at first, I soon realized that I was completely on my friend’s side. I recognized that the expectation that she should drop everything and interrupt her night in order to capture a memory for a bunch of people she doesn’t know is ludicrous. And since then, I’ve completely refused every request to take a photo for any stranger that asks.
What makes anyone think I’m a photographer? Is there something about me that makes someone think that out of all these people at the bar that I’m the perfect person to take a photo? When I’m looking for someone to take a photo for me, I select carefully. She’s probably around 5’6″ with blonde hair and is wearing a romper. Why? Because she most likely has a budding fashion blog and/or an Instagram page that averages around 100-plus likes per photo. She’s the type of person I want taking photos of me because I know that she knows how to crush the situation. Furthermore, she’s probably going to be stoked to take the photo because she’s all about that photo-taking life.
Girls like that? Sure, they were marketing majors. But they also spent four years of college trying to get the perfect photo every single time they went out. They know what they want. They know what angles work. They know that if you hold the phone a little higher, it makes everyone look skinnier. They know what to put in-frame and what needs to be left out. These chicks get it. They want you to get Instagram likes. They want to tell everyone how good they look. They live for this stuff.
But me? I don’t have the patience to help you out nor do I really feel like going through the motions of making sure it’s the perfect photo of you. You’re going to do that whole charade where I take a burst of photos and try to pretend we’re done, then you’re going to shuffle over to me only to look them over and ask if I can take a few more but “vertically this time.” Then I’ll tell the same lie I tell everyone no matter what: “Oh, I took a million and you guys all look awesome.”
Newsflash, Diane Sawyer: Your skinny arm looks the same in every photo, your smile didn’t flinch in all thirty of them, and you’re just going to FaceTune these anyway. I could take a photo of you hair tied, chilling, with no makeup on and you’ll edit it to the point where you and your squad look like members of Taylor Swift’s blondetourage.
Ask a waitress. Force your least-tenured friend. Buy a goddamn selfie stick for all I care. Just stop asking me to take your damn photo and let me drink this draft in peace. .
Image via Instagram