Signs That You're a Hipster Photographer

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According to Gizmodo, hipsters "sort through the detritus of pop culture, appropriate what they find appealing in its quirkiness, cultivating an aesthetic that considers all, but allows surprisingly little. To be hipster is to hate." Indeed, there are photographer hipsters as well. Here's a list of some of their most common characteristics.

Photo by VMPastore


They Shoot with Lomography, Holga, or a Vintage Film Camera

Don't get me wrong: Lomography, Holgas, Blackbirds and other film cameras are cool, and there is something very appealing about not knowing the end result of what you've shot. But many hipsters swear to only use these cameras and nothing else. They claim that it furthers their artistic interests.

In reality, the biggest selling point of these cameras is what draws the hipsters—their simplicity. Many hipsters refuse to learn the same way that most photographers do, about apertures, ISOs, shutter speeds, etc. Instead, they just shoot, and claim that learning the technicalities only slows them down.

 

And don't even get me started on Polaroid images. There is professional Polaroid work, and then there is using Polaroid only because you hate everything mainstream.

They consider Hipstamatic and Digital to be Sacrilegious (most of them)

This fanatacism towards using only these cameras and film goes as far as also refusing to use apps on a smart device or digital camera that can mimic these looks. A camera like an Olympus EPL-2 can mimic the plastic camera effects very well, and most people seem to love the output from iPhone apps like Hipstamatic, and Android apps like Vignette.

However, crossing over into the digital realm isn't artistic to the hipsters, and shooting digital is like not shooting "real photography."

Now this doesn't apply to all hipsters. There are some that have crossed over into the digital realm and have no idea what they're doing with the cameras and lenses.

They Only Shoot with Natural Light


Was the above photo shot with natural light, artificial, or a mix of both?

You know they're a hipster when they say, "I only shoot with natural light because that's how the scene was, and I don't want to tamper with it."

I've learned in my years of photography that what that actually means is, "I don't know how to light or balance ambient light with strobe lighting." We've got a portrait lighting guide for you, if you'd like.

The exception to this rule is using the special Lomography flashes. From scouring the web, it seems like they only use these flashes in dark situations. From shooting headshots and engagement portraits, I've learned that flash is useful during daylight situations to fill in the shadows that appear on someone's face.

In fact, I use them very often because I simply like to have more creative control over my photos. In this way, I'm an available light photographer—I'll use all the light that I can get my hands on.

Extreme Cross-Processing and Vignetting in Their Photos

If a hipster isn't shooting in black and white, they are often cross-processing their images for a specific look. Cross-processing is a term from the film days of photography, where users developed their image with the wrong chemicals to achieve a different look. In digital, it is done with white balance, tints, and hues. There are different degrees of cross-processing; some are more extreme than others. Hipsters tend to lean more towards the extreme end of the spectrum. Additionally, they tend to do it very often.

Hipsters love to heavily cross-process their images because someone in the upper echelons of what is considered artistic suddenly stated that giving your images that look turns them into immediate art. Other variations that can be added are soft focus, pin hole, and combining many images into a photo-booth strip.

The, "Look at Me!" Factor

Photo by Andrea Fischman

Hipsters are guilty of always trying to stand out from the crowd, and have everyone look at them. Different ways that they try to call attention to themselves include:

- Having long lenses on their camera, but not knowing the ins and outs of how to use them.

- Having camera colors that stand out from the rest—like pink.

- Having the camera slung around their neck, but never using it.

How do you identify a hipster photographer? Let us know in the comments below.

Add new comment

*sigh* Over it.

Wait a sec...

I shoot purely on a Hasselblad V-series MF camera (quite sure I know my apertures), I swear by ambient lighting even though I've won awards for strobed-portraits and hates the use of Hipstamatic because it is too easy.

And I lug my freaking 500CM slung around my neck and walk around down town.

Does that make me a hipster?

ZZZZ

On the offchance that a hipster uses a digital camera (Wow! Is that a 7D? "Yeah, I got it for my birthday. It's alright.") you get the modelock hipster.

"I only shoot in manual" has been the mating call of the Hamfisted Growphtog for awhile, and that has moved into hipster territory too, but getting back to the notion that "technology distracts from the art" is a whole gang of photographers who shoot modern DSLRS in "auto" mode as a statement.

I'm probably a 'hipster,' but I use polaroid for the same reason anyone professional uses it; it's fun, it's beautiful, and it forces me to slow down.
I'm a professional theatre photog, and on the job my 5dMkii and I take something like 1,500 photos during a show, just to make sure the moments are all there. The polaroid medium both forces and allows for 'slow photography,' and I am grateful that the medium exists.

This artical is problematic because it says "You're superficial if your style differentiates from mine in any of these superficial ways." I get that it's supposed to be light and funny, and if it wasn't accusatory (and 'hating' me for the things I supposedly hate) it possibly could be.

I avoided using Hipstamatic because I thought it would make me a hipster, but now I find out that it's the opposite. I just can't escape my natural proclivity to live on the bleeding edge of all that is hip.

;)

I can't believe B&H Photo is hosting this garbage. Maybe Adorama would like my film business instead...and my digital business...and all my business.

What *isn't* a vintage film camera?  Film cameras that are only sold new by B&H  today?

As for natural lighting, i'm fairly sure I've never seen a rangefinder with a flash mounted. I'd love to shoot with a flash, but it's *NOT EASY NOR DISCRETE*

I shoot film because i like feel of a metal bodied camera, the creative feel I get everytime I compose an image, and finally watching my prints appear in the developer tray. 

I hate calibrating my monitor, calibrating my camera, calibrating my printer, etc., and sifting through 1,500 images of a 30 minute event, finding one or two, and editing them. But I still want a Pentax K5 with 16-50 f/2.8 DA*

I thought photography was photography now matter how 'right' or 'wrong' it's done? Does it really matter if you have a group of people who take photos under their own weird, obscure set of rules? How is their photography any less valid to them than anyone else's? Is it really hurting other photographers if they exist?

Every profession or hobby is going to have a group of people who think they're cool by not following the rules and missing the whole point.

I really like the articles B&H puts up, but this gives off a very 'better than thou' vibe, which I don't like. Maybe it's supposed to be poking fun? I'm not really getting that feeling though. All I'm getting is "these people don't understand photography and here is why". Who cares if they enjoy it?

Wow. This is really offensive and insulting. Any other segments of the photographic world you'd like to call out and judge? How about women photographers and their little hands? Boy! Aren't they silly! And what about those pet photographers? Really, what "real" photographer uses squeaky toys on the job? And then there are those women pet photographers!

So you don't like lomography. Or over-cross processing. Or cameras in colors other than black. Really? What does it matter what color a camera is? Non-black cameras aren't cameras? Just because these are not things you would do, or be, or believe, doesn't mean they aren't valid choices for someone else.

There is an elite snobbery here that I don't appreciate. Poorly done, Chris. And poorly done B&H for permitting this content. Photography isn't high school. These aren't cliques. If these so-called "hipsters" upset you with their clique-ish behavior, does this article make you any better? 

But you can just ignore me. I must be a hipster and my opinions don't count.

shame on you, B&H, for hosting this garbage. this article comes across as very arrogant and anti-film. I wouldn't consider myself a hipster, but I shoot a lot of film with "vintage film cameras" (are there any other kind at this point?) with primarily natural light. are you saying I shouldn't be a photographer?

not for nothing, but the "hipster" "lomo" crowd is doing a lot to keep the film industry alive, something for which I'm extremely grateful. I'm not sure why you feel the need to call out a market segment who is buying new cameras and film at retail prices and keeping photo labs busy processing film. apparently you don't want that business.

Hey everyone,

I'm sorry if this offended anyone, but it was written with the intent of some good natured fun (tongue in cheek.)

Chris Gampat wrote:

Hey everyone,

I'm sorry if this offended anyone, but it was written with the intent of some good natured fun (tongue in cheek.)

"There are some that have crossed over into the digital realm and have no idea what they're doing with the cameras and lenses."

"You know they're a hipster when they say, "I only shoot with natural light because that's how the scene was, and I don't want to tamper with it." I've learned in my years of photography that what that actually means is, "I don't know how to light or balance ambient light with strobe lighting.""

"Hipsters love to heavily cross-process their images because someone in the upper echelons of what is considered artistic suddenly stated that giving your images that look turns them into immediate art."

"Hipsters are guilty of always trying to stand out from the crowd, and have everyone look at them."

I don't think being rude and condescending is fun at all. Half-apology not accepted here.

Chris Gampat wrote:

Hey everyone,

I'm sorry if this offended anyone, but it was written with the intent of some good natured fun (tongue in cheek.)

I don't see any good natured fun in your article, at all. 

Chris Gampat wrote:

Hey everyone,

I'm sorry if this offended anyone, but it was written with the intent of some good natured fun (tongue in cheek.)

Don't let em get you down Chris. I actually thought this was kind of funny. I have plenty of old film gear from a minolta slr to a yashica electro 35gsn. I love to shoot polaroids on my mamiya rb67. For my more serious work I use my Nikon d700 on manual and add flash when needed.

If using my old flim gear earns me the hipster title then I'll proudly wear that title. The point is, I'll be out there making images and not here getting all upset about an article that was written just to have a little fun.

Chris Gampat wrote:

Hey everyone,

I'm sorry if this offended anyone, but it was written with the intent of some good natured fun (tongue in cheek.)

Massive, incredible, fail.....

Puuuulease... If one has been shooting with film cameras when that's ALL THERE WAS, and continues to do so, we ain't hipsters.  lame post.

 I wish articles like this didn't exist.

You shouldn't talk down to people, especially people within your field. It just isn't good practice. The Gizmodo quote actually sounded nice until the "to be hipster is to hate" part. Elitist garbage.

Shame on you Gampat.

 Sounds like some of the hipsters had their little feelings hurt. 

The article's title is "signs that YOU'RE a hipster photographer" but then goes on making fun of a broad range of photographers, while lumping them into one pool. The tone becomes mocking when in the second paragraph, the author claims that hipsters don't know how to use cameras. From then on, the article identifies hipsters as "them" and how to identify  "them" (no longer "you"). It feels like a kid in high school trying to gain friends through the process of mocking others.

I guess the author has a problem with "hipsters" (as identified and labeled by himself). I guess this includes me since I use vintage cameras and film... although I am 38 today, live in rural Upstate NY, and have mastered photographic "technicalities" such as shutter speeds, iso, and aperture).

Seriously, why is B&H Photo trying to alienate me because I shoot with film through vintage cameras? Actually, I don't care, I'll take my shopping elsewhere.

Poor form and lazy, Chris. Especially for a "lead writer." Yes, I get what you are trying to do, but you clearly do not understand photography w/o the unnecessary bells and whistles (or crutches) that modern DSLRs give you. 

Wanting total and uncluttered control over a camera instead of relying on a computer with a lens slapped on the front (that's what our modern DSLRs are) does not make one a hipster. 

Obviously it was written as a joke. Lighten up you hipster crybabies!

True: most people with cameras do not really know how to light a subject and many other technical aspects. Hence those using exclusively natural available light are most probably not capable of using any other light sources properly.

False: film cameras are simpler to use than digital ones. Quite the opposite. Unless you are talking about point and shoot cameras.

As for Lomography stuff, they mostly are just time/money wasters. They do not harm anyone but themselves, though. Nothing particularly wrong with them, there are much more worrying people out there.

i think it was a funny article just meant as light hearted BS. But i guess some are so sensitive like most people these days that it is a no no to joke around. I think he was trying to say that just because you buy some pos plastic camera and it produces images that some find cool, that doesnt make you a good photographer. Yes it is fun to do and nothing wrong with that. I think the point of the article is that photography takes years and years of practice, work, education and dedication to master regardless what medium you are using wheather film or digital. But i guess times are a changing, now everyone just whips out their iphone, takes a picture of some garbage, runs it through hipstamatic and boom instant hip photographer. The problem is that its a fad, and 6 months from now all those cool hipstamatic pics wont be so cool, and 6 years from now people will be like WTF is this crap and it will be played out. I dont think he meant if you walk around with a hassy and shoot film that your a hipster, you dont buy a camera like that and not know photography.

kevin may wrote:

i think it was a funny article just meant as light hearted BS. But i guess some are so sensitive like most people these days that it is a no no to joke around. I think he was trying to say that just because you buy some pos plastic camera and it produces images that some find cool, that doesnt make you a good photographer.

what about the vintage cameras? My vintage camera isn't plastic.

I shoot vintage film cameras (maybe if I had money for a M7 I could shoot a non-vintage film camera?), mostly in B&W (Ansel Adams was such a hipster) and in available light (I'm no Bruce Gilden).

But why bother with all that, when a $500 phone and some app could turn me into a real photographer?

This article is so condescending toward almost anyone who still shoots film, it's a surprise to find it on B&H. But whatever, go play with your new DSLR, or better keep writing blog articles while some people go out and shoot.

 If everyone took photographs the same way, the world would be an awfully boring place. 

Let's all stop judging everyone.

This article is garbage. You can tell by the trash that come out of the woodwork to defend its supposed, yet gapingly absent humor.

I shoot mainly a Nikon F2 Photomic (DP-1) and an F (prism, no meter), prefer existing light and shoot only Tri-X or HP5. (I also use a D50 and have been known to use, god forbid, an SB-600 flash, but don't tell anyone).

Fortunately for my street cred, I'm too old to be a hipster. In fact, it may be time for a hip replacement.

I wish I had the clean ME-Super (or better yet a K-1000) shown in the photo. Although I've been using Nikon since 1985 it was foolish to trade in my K-1000...oh well. Live and learn. Maybe.

I think I'm also too old to take offense at this article. Spilled ink that draws attention to the fact that a lot of people like "traditional" photography is okay with me if it helps keep it alive. I wish B&H would carry some of the items they have dropped (like the Kaiser film cutter which is now special order only). But I understand...

What annoys me are the individuals buying old cameras only to jack up the price when they hawk them on eBay. Evidence of this: it costs a fortune to buy a non-metered prism (finder) for an F or an F2. My F prism has dings so I got it cheap. I was lucky. I can't afford a prism for my F2.

Today I spent my lunch hour photographing old buildings and dandelions, using my F and a crusty old Gossen light meter. It was pretty damn close to Nirvana. I don't know if that's hip or not. I don't think it matters a lot. Your mileage may vary.

Ducking for cover...

Hilarious! I gave it 5stars... way to call a spade a spade!

I expect better from this blog.  Dissapoint. 

And you've just shown the classic example of the elitist DSLR shooter. How are a bunch of people doing their own thing so offensive to you? I don't particularly like much of the work that comes out of the Lomography movement just like I don't much care for the overworked fake looking work thats sprung up from the strobist and DSLR surge over the last several years, but I keep my opinion to myself because its my opinion and my personal taste. Putting something like this up representing B&H is pretty ridiculous.

Hipsters tend to wear androgynous clothes, so if I wear a pair of skinny jeans will that make me a hipster?

No, it'll make me "someone's dad looking embarrassing in a pair of jeans 3 sizes too small".

Being a "hipster" is just being part of a clique, but you can't label anyone who happens to do some of the things that clique does a member of it, and since people don't like being labelled, anyone who considers himself a hipster will resent this article too.

Not a great way to get more customers, from a firm that specialises in selling film...

 Considering several experiences I've had or observed with B&H employees, I think this is actually a good representation of their mindset.

I was a month away from placing a $200,000 order and was discussing the possibility of a discount with one of their sales reps, and basically told me I didn't understand economics.

Guess who didn't get my $200,000.

Run of the mill idealist wrote:

 Considering several experiences I've had or observed with B&H employees, I think this is actually a good representation of their mindset.

I was a month away from placing a $200,000 order and was discussing the possibility of a discount with one of their sales reps, and basically told me I didn't understand economics.

Guess who didn't get my $200,000.

i was about to spend $100 billion next week, but i cut it down to $500.

 Wow, the hate replies are worse than the article. To me, this was obviously meant to be humorous. By the way, I've seen a large number of people with fancy DSLRs who don't even know how to use them on manual. Very expensive point-and-shoot. 

  I'm sure you'd love the hipsters if they bought expensive DSLR cameras from you. Much of the appeal to film photography is you don't have to buy a new and expensive digital camera every-other year. 

I'll buy my film elsewhere. And I don't need new camera, mine have worked just fine for the last 20 years.

An Old Hipster

Maybe a lot of film users don't find this post particularly funny is that it reminds us of serious posts attacking film photographers. This post really isn't all that different from those kinds of posts, and as such doesn't work particularly well as humour.

Congrats B&H for alienating film loving photographers. Go ahead and lump is all into one 'hipster' stereotype. To return the favor I'll lump B&H into 'places I won't buy my continuous need of film and chemicals from anymore'.

Let's not confuse lame-o's with true hipsters. True hipsters don't hate, they appreciate and elevate the dialog to a higher level the rest of us can only hope reach.

 So B&H is now in the business of insulting their own customers. Thanks. Adorama is lookign better and better, especially since they sometimes give free shipping and they  don't close down for the weekend.

Rickon wrote:

 So B&H is now in the business of insulting their own customers. Thanks. Adorama is lookign better and better, especially since they sometimes give free shipping and they  don't close down for the weekend.

Last time I was in Manhattan, Adorama was closed on a Saturday.

The people complaining in the comments clearly don't live in NYC or other places where there is a high volume of hipsters. As a 20-something who is more aware of the hipster scene, i'd say this was both spot-on and tongue-in-cheek. obviously everyone who shoots film isn't a hipster. If you're offended by this, you don't understand the nuances of the scene they are mocking. Perhaps you should get outside your bubble more often?

Mr Gampat, 

You realize that you're cutting down actual products sold by B&H and falsely associating them with the social locusts known as hipsters?

 This incorrect and distateful article has switched my allegiance back to Adorama from B&H as a company.  Even if something costs slightly more from Adorama, I will be giving my business to them in the future.

 Your own 'Flickr Picks' entries tell me all I need to know about your taste in photography.   Perhaps you're slighted by or bitter with the creative types that make photography seem like successful, happy accidents rather than obtaining garrish results after a long struggle with digital post processing?

 I have spread this link around my usual haunts online and hope other people will stop and consider if they want to do business with a company that retains ignorant and spiteful employees.

-Luke Healey

Luke Healey wrote:

 This incorrect and distateful article has switched my allegiance back to Adorama from B&H as a company.  Even if something costs slightly more from Adorama, I will be giving my business to them in the future.

Looks like B&H lost another Holga purchase. Good thing they don't sell fixies, beard grooming kits or cardigans; they'd really be in a sales slump.

Something Clever wrote:
Luke Healey wrote:

 This incorrect and distateful article has switched my allegiance back to Adorama from B&H as a company.  Even if something costs slightly more from Adorama, I will be giving my business to them in the future.

Looks like B&H lost another Holga purchase. Good thing they don't sell fixies, beard grooming kits or cardigans; they'd really be in a sales slump.

LMAAAAAAAAAAAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Something Clever wrote:
Luke Healey wrote:

 This incorrect and distateful article has switched my allegiance back to Adorama from B&H as a company.  Even if something costs slightly more from Adorama, I will be giving my business to them in the future.

Looks like B&H lost another Holga purchase. Good thing they don't sell fixies, beard grooming kits or cardigans; they'd really be in a sales slump.

SOOO TRUE!!! hahaha:) I love it.

I'm pushing 60, crippled and collect bottles;  but I own my vintage film cameras and have very long hair. Can I still become a hipster?.

 More than anything, this article addresses the recent fad culture of photography. It's not a slight to people who shoot with film. It's directed more at people that buy film cameras and film point and shoots simply because they think it's cool. Whether they appreciate the quality film cameras produce or the process that goes into developing the film is another subject.

People reading this article that are insulted by the derogatory nature of the word hipster should know better. You aren't hipsters. You shoot film on gear that can't be bought at Urban Outfitters.

Now let's talk about fixed gears in the bicycle community...

 I will take being a hipster shooting with a hexar af, a pen ee and holga any day than use a strobe. or a flash for that matter. yuk.

I only enjoyed this article ironically.

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