Signs That You're a Hipster Photographer
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.
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
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.