He Says/She Says: Photos in Public

He Says/She Says: Photos in Public

In the He Says/She Says series, we discuss financial-ish topics where we agree to disagree.

We’ve mentioned a few times in past posts that a nice camera is a worthy investment for us. And why? Well, neither of us is much of a journal writer, so documenting our life through nice pictures is our way of recording our life’s journey. But in order for our camera to actually be worthy of the money spent on it and give us a justifiable ROI, we have to actually take pictures. Yes, this is true. And herein lies our conundrum.

And so let me share a little secret with you: Johnny hates taking pictures in public. If there are any other people around, and I whip out our camera (as I usually do), he immediately tenses up. I can see it in his eyes: a mixture of anxiety and fear. Oh no, here she goes! is what his expression says to me as I focus the little red dot onto one of his eyeballs. This results in terrible pictures of Johnny and an unpleasant documenting experience for me.

And just so you understand what I mean, I give you some pictures of Disapproving Johnny (this should be a meme) in public:

Disapproving Johnny photos

But I don’t even have to be taking pictures of Johnny. If I’m standing still too long in a crowded area trying to take a picture of some scenic something, Johnny is suddenly on high alert. Are we blocking someone’s path? Are we holding someone up? His face says it all. I can actually smell his stress, and surprisingly it smells like cotton candy. And then sometimes he goes so far to say aloud, “Jo, don’t do it.” or “Jo, let’s keep walking.”

Johnny’s anxiety makes me feel like lifting the camera to my eye causes a ginormous crossing gate to lower from my backside and block anyone within ten feet of me. And a loud speaker announces, “Alert, Alert. Joanna is taking a picture. You will be inconvenienced until she is done.”

Although Johnny’s stress toward public picture taking is kind of distracting at times, I’m otherwise not deterred. I just don’t get where he’s coming from. It’s not like I’m the only person taking pictures in public. And I’ve had to wait while other people take pictures plenty of times — and I have never minded at all. I kind of enjoy seeing others’ photo-ops. And let’s say my stock-still picture-taking self does force people to take a slight detour. It’s never for more than a couple seconds. I’ve never once had someone get annoyed at me about it. Well, except Johnny.

Should I continue my shameless ways? Do you tend to follow my thinking, or are you more like Johnny when it comes to striking a pose around hordes of strangers?

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  • Reply Erin May 1, 2013 at 7:13 am

    My husband does the EXACT same thing. It’s worse when asking him to smile for a photo. He’s a huge baby about it. Every single time. Then we have to have a pep-talk/lecture before he concedes. Fortunately he knows I’m right and he’s ridiculous so I can tease him about it.

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:07 am

      Maybe it’s a guy thing. I should consider the pep-talk/lecture method! Right now I just shoot the picture no matter what, and based on the above pics of Mr. Johnny, we all know how that’s going. 😀

  • Reply eemusings May 1, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Heh, I think I’m a weird combo of both you guys – I’m the picture taker but I also have photo stress because I’m always paranoid about inconveniencing others and being really obviously that girl with the huge camera (who doesn’t even really know how to do it justice). A street photographer I will never be…

    We also both hate being in FRONT of a camera.

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:10 am

      I’ve totally been there with feeling kind of self-conscious about taking pictures with a bigger camera. That said, it hasn’t been enough to keep me from still taking lots and lots of pictures (unluckily for Johnny :)).

  • Reply Elle May 1, 2013 at 7:35 am

    LOL, I understand both of your pains! I enjoy taking photos, but my husband is very uncomfortable with it. When the tables are turned, then it’s my turn to look like a deer in the headlights. i tense up. I prefer doing group shots, but just me? Uhh…no thanks :/

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:13 am

      I think most people in general don’t like pictures of themselves. I don’t tense up, but I become very prone to awkward smiles and poses! The solution? Take more pictures and there’s bound to be one that turns out okay!

  • Reply Carrie May 1, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I hate being in pictures generally, but pictures in public are torture. I feel like everyone is staring. Even if I am not in the picture, I have this weird fear that taking pictures in public is advertising, “Hey, thieves! I am a tourist and ripe for the picking (of my pocket)!” Is that a normal fear or is it just me?

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:16 am

      Well, even if it does make you look like a tourist, luckily there are enough other people who take pictures that a pickpocket can’t possibly get to all of you! 😀 I’m not helping, am I? Having lived in NYC and taken thousands of pictures there with no pickpocket ever approaching me, I’d say you don’t need to worry about it.

  • Reply Brian May 1, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I’m usually the one with the camera so It doesn’t bother me and my wife likes getting her picture taken. I try to be polite and not block people for too long, but I’ll also wait for the perfect moment (or just shoot like 100 pictures of the same thing since one of them is likely to turn out). Our little guy is also a cheeseball and LOVES getting his picture taken. He will pretty much smile on demand if you have a camera up (or even fake like you have a camera).

    @Carrie – I have never been afraid of someone thinking I am a tourist because I have a camera out. Of course my wife says I have a pretty good “don’t f**k with me” face that I put on in public. It also helps that I’m not a small person either.

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:25 am

      That’s the way it should be! And so cute about your son! I bet you guys have tons of cute photos of him. Right now we’re lucky if our girl looks in the general direction of the camera!

  • Reply Carla May 1, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I think a lot of people over-estimate how much others care what you do in public. I mean, if you wanted to run topless or something, I’d be on Johnny’s side 100%. But, since taking pictures is socially accepted as normal, and I doubt you whip out the tripod every time you want a quick shot of the hubby, I’d say carry on. Tell him you won’t stop until he smiles 🙂

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:27 am

      I’m totally gonna start doing that! One thing that has helped is having a baby as a prop in his arms, so at least most photos aren’t of just him now.

      And it’s strictly big baggy T-shirts on my runs, so not to worry! 😉

  • Reply The Norwegian Girl May 1, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I love taking pictures, and I don´t think anyone cares about it if I do it in public. But for some reason I think people are more Ok with it if the pictures are taken with an Iphone (or just any usable smartphone) than with an actual camera. BF has an Iphone, and takes quite a lot of photos with it, which I think is great, but the moment I take out my camera (because my smartphone doesn´t take as good pictures as Iphone), then it`s suddenly a big deal that I´m taking photos.. what is the difference? it`s still a camera..

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:30 am

      You’re totally right about taking pictures with a phone. I’ve never really thought about it, but people are way more chill when I use my phone for a picture. If only they could make normal cameras the same size as our phones. Come on, technology!

  • Reply debtperception May 1, 2013 at 9:13 am

    I stop all the time to take pictures but they’re usually of nature and not my husband because he always has to strike a pose…like the most dorky poses ever. He can’t just smile. There’s always a face or a muscle-flexing pose. I hate having my photo taken but I at least pop a fake smile. 🙂

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:32 am

      Way to be a good sport and give a fake smile. I’d take a fake smile from Johnny any day! I know people just like your husband… at least they keep the photos interesting, right?

  • Reply Roo // NEON FRESH May 1, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Bottom Middle Disapproving Johnny:

    “Those shoes with that dress? OH NO, girl. NO.”

    • Reply Chris May 1, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Bahahaha spot on.

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:39 am

      Some people just have the “gift of memes,” and you’ve got it, girl. If that’s not on your resume yet, it should be.

  • Reply Beth Sheridan May 1, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Oh my goodness, I am literally laughing out loud as you have so accurately pinpointed my husband when it comes to taking pictures of him in public, or just taking pictures in general in public. It was just spot on!!! And please continue in your shameless picture taking, because I sure am 🙂

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:41 am

      Glad to hear I’m not alone. I love knowing I have a partner in unwanted picture-taking crime! Knowing you’re out there struggling with your hubs like I am will help get me through our first family photo shoot!

  • Reply My Financial Independence Journey May 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I love to take pictures, especially when I’m doing the tourist thing. On the other hand I hate having picture taken of me. I just don’t look that good in real life and even worse in photos. I will occasionally be seen dodging cameras by hiding behind other people or inanimate objects.

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:45 am

      Oh boy! I’d love to see some of those pictures of you hiding. I’m rarely happy with a picture of myself, but when I look back on old photos, I’m always much less critical, and happy I have the photo documentation (aside from the year and a half I had braces — those should never see the light of day).

  • Reply Cait May 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

    It’s funny that he is so worried about taking pictures in public, yet he’s willing to write about his life so publicly. (Yea, you hear that Johnny? I’m calling you out! hehe)

    I’m not married but this post made me think about my parents who are the exact opposite of you two. My dad is pretty silly and has no problem getting a picture taken in public of him doing something cool and/or crazy. But my mom hates getting her picture taken. Anywhere. Always.

    Another cute he says/she says, J + J!

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:52 am

      Haha, you tell him, Cait! What I failed to mention is that if we’re not in public, Johnny loves making very weird faces for the camera. I could also do a photo collage of Johnny doing his best creeper faces. But those pictures will remain hidden. For now. 🙂

  • Reply Rachel May 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

    This is hilarious! I think most guys are like this- at least in my experience. My boyfriend hates getting his photo taken (he thinks he is “ugly”), and especially hates solo shots. I’ve yet to find a good solution though. With that being said, we do take couple photos and he seems more ok with those!

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:54 am

      I guess it’s better than having a boyfriend or husband who’s like, “Take pictures of this beautiful piece of art that is my face!” But somehow we’ve got to figure out a way to get our guys to let us document them. Let me know if you find a method that works!

  • Reply Nicole May 1, 2013 at 10:42 am

    One of the few regrets my parents have (after 40+ years of marriage) is that they didn’t take many pictures along they way. There’s no pictures of the places they’ve been & things they’ve seen. There’s so little photographic evidence of their lives, and mine for that matter.

    You’re not setting up shop for 20 minutes to take a picture. I seriously doubt most people would be annoyed, as they’re probably thinking about doing the same thing.

    While I’m not too comfortable having my picture taken, I know I’d rather have the pictures to discard later – then to not have the choice. You can’t go back and get them later.

    I say check the internet for tips on how to pose for pictures and try to get used to it. You never know when you’ll want to recall the memory…

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 2:57 am

      Your point of view is a really compelling one. I do think Johnny wants documentation of our life and of us and what we’ve done. So I just need to remind him more of WHY I’m torturing him with the click-click-clicking of our camera. Thanks for the great insight, Nicole!

  • Reply Jake Erickson May 1, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Haha this is exactly like my wife and I except that I’m the one who is taking the pictures. I’ve really gotten into it over the past year and I love it. The good thing is I like taking mostly pictures of nature, so it’s not normally in the middle of a crowd.

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 3:00 am

      Maybe I should hand the camera over to Johnny more and let him see what it’s like to be the one trying to take the picture. And then maybe our Baby Girl won’t grow up seeing only pictures of her and her dad and thinking they went and did a bunch of activities without me! 😉

  • Reply Chris May 1, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I prefer action shots. You know those shots where the other person doesn’t have time to pose and/or make a stupid duck face. I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem taking a picture in public. Screw everybody else they can wait :).

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 3:04 am

      I agree that candid shots are the best. The chance of getting a real smile is much higher that way, too! I’m the #1 offender when it comes to making the most awkward faces and/or poses if I have too much time to think about it. Yikesy!

  • Reply Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies May 1, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Haha. Disapproving Johnny should definitely be a meme. Mr. PoP and I generally hate posing for pictures period. He’ll stop and wait for me to snap a shot of something, but neither of us will voluntarily get in a shot. The number of pictures of us as a couple is actually incredibly low and just the way we like it! We both like pictures of things, not of people.

    • Reply Joanna May 2, 2013 at 3:07 am

      Well, that works out perfectly if you both feel the same way! All I ask is that you get one couple photo of you a year so one day you can look back and remember the good times!

  • Reply Miranda May 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    This one had me rollin’ on the floor. I have the exact same problem. Trying to take a decent picture of my husband is like trying to get blood from a stone. *It ain’t gonna happen* I also get an audible sigh and a very obvious eye roll when I pull out my phone to snap a picture for Instagram. My guy acts as if it is the BIGGEST INCONVENIENCE he will ever encounter to have to stand there while I pause to take a picture for three seconds. And DEAR SWEET BABY JESUS, if I didn’t get the shot and have to take a second or third, my 26-year-old, fully bearded, grown man of a husband, who runs a restaurant full of hundreds of customers and 30+ employees on the daily, can handle stress and emergencies like he’s landing a jet on the Hudson, and just last week purchased a pick axe, turns into a teenage girl who didn’t get tickets to a Beiber concert. The words “OMG” and “Are you freaking kidding” get thrown around, as I’m made to feel like the worst person alive for wanting to get the best picture of my soup and salad. No one tells you about these things when you get married…

    • Reply Johnny May 2, 2013 at 3:06 am

      Hahaha. This made me laugh. Hard. And then I cried. I guess the whole thing does seem a bit child-ish, yeah? The next Joanna takes out the camera in a crowded public setting, I’ll just softly mumble “You’re a fully stubbled, grown man. You’re a fully stubbled, grown man” to myself. 🙂

      • Reply Miranda May 2, 2013 at 8:59 am

        HAHA! Yes. Just make sure you mention this comment to Joanna or she’ll think you’ve lost your mind mumbling about your stubble…

  • Reply anna May 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    My bf will allege that he doesn’t like it and will whine about it, but once I count to three he flashes the most brilliant Colgate smile…. faker. He’s always embarrassed about my penchant for taking pictures of food, though. I’m on your side, you’ll never see these people again, who cares?

    • Reply Johnny May 2, 2013 at 3:03 am

      For every terrible, awful photo of Disapproving Johnny like the ones prominently featured above, there’s at least one OK looking smile. Are most of them fake smiles? Absolutely. Do you know anyone that is happy and smily when a camera comes out of a purse?

      Give your bf a fist bump for me and tell him I feel his pain.

  • Reply Rob May 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    “I can actually smell his stress, and surprisingly it smells like cotton candy. ”

    From that should I assume that he’s your sugar daddy, Joanna? 🙂

    And as to pictu00r taking, well it could be much worse. My sister goes absolutely nut-so whenever anyone tries to take her picture, so much so that the woman actually will hide her face with her hands. My brother and I just sadly shake our heads at those times at family get-togethers. The FBI would never be able to get her mug shot on their 10 most wanted list !!!

    My wife tends to be the picture taker in our immediate family. I just try to be patient, grin patiently for pictures (and – in vain – try hopelessly to suck in my gut). 🙂

    • Reply Johnny May 2, 2013 at 2:58 am

      That’s exactly what you should assume, Rob. 🙂

      I sound like a charismatic celebrity on the red carpet compared to your sister. 🙂 In all reality, I think I’ve gotten better through our marriage. I’m learning the patience and biting my tongue game much better. And when in doubt, I try to remember how much we spent on the camera and realize I wouldn’t want that money to go to waste because of my complainy-ness.

  • Reply Grayson @ Debt Roundup May 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I am on both sides of this debate. I act like Johnny on occasion, depending on the photo situation, but I also don’t mind in other occasions.

    • Reply Johnny May 2, 2013 at 2:55 am

      I can be agreeable. It’s a shame I don’t drink, because I think that would take enough of the edge off for Joanna to shoot away with that camera.

  • Reply Daniel May 1, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Wow, I’m just like Johnny and my wife is just like you. Why do you have to constantly embarrass him? Why not consider others first and if nobody is inconvenienced (or looking) then whip out the camera?

    • Reply Johnny May 2, 2013 at 2:54 am

      Preach brother, preach! Now that’s what I’m talking about. 🙂 Joanna is definitely more aware of my not so calm-and-collected self with crowds and cameras, and I’ve been working harder at being cool with having photos taken when there aren’t a lot of people around. So compromise is kinda sorta happening.

  • Reply Diane May 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Sorry Johnny! Photos in public are perfectly acceptable. Everyone does it and no one is really paying attention, unless you’re actually standing in the middle of the road blocking traffic! I take photos of my family, scenery, flowers etc. all the time. And I offer to take photos of strangers if they’re taking pictures, so they can all get in the shot. I also stop strangers to ask them to take photos of us together! I’m totally relaxed about it… So if you don’t like being in photos that’s a personal choice, but there’s no need to be embarrassed over Joanna taking pictures.

    • Reply Johnny May 2, 2013 at 2:52 am

      I have my more relaxed days. I think it usually is a manifestation of other stresses going on. I get anxious in crowds anyway, and I think the camera just exacerbates the whole deal. I’m actually pretty tame when it comes to taking photos of stuff. Just leave my mug out of it. 🙂

  • Reply Meghan May 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    You put some pretty great pics up on your blog, so you have to keep taking them!

    • Reply Johnny May 2, 2013 at 2:49 am

      Joanna really is a fantastic photographer. I’m just a terrible subject. So yes to more* photos!!!

      *That don’t include Johnny. No purchase necessary. Not valid in Michigan or Papa New Guinea.

  • Reply Linda May 1, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    LOL Joanna! My husband hates having his photo taken – he says it steals his soul (Or rather, I think he just doesn’t like how he looks in photos). I also mostly hate how I look in photos (I’m always dorky/nerdy looking and I have a funny profile), but I have them taken anyway in the hopes that I’ll finally look like a superstar 😉

    I never saw it as an anxiety thing, but it could well be. Anyway, it would cause too much strife to try take photos of him, so in general I leave him out the picture,or get him to take one of me. He doesn’t mind me taking photos, but he does sigh in amusement when he thinks I’m taking daft photos, like of old buildings, or cool coffee art. XD It also grates on him when we inconvenience people with my photo taking.

    He really hates photos of himself on the Internet, which means for a long time I didn’t even have wedding photos of both of us up on my Facebook page!

    • Reply Johnny May 2, 2013 at 2:47 am

      I feel that man’s pain. And I’m glad to know there are others. I should start a self-help group. Or at the very least a group where we can openly air out our whiny complaints. 🙂

      I’m alright with Joanna taking photos of stuff other than me in public for the most part. But if I see some people waiting to walk somewhere because they’re in Joanna’s line of camera-sight, I panic. And I’ll be the first to admit, that’s probably unnecessary. See? People can change. 🙂

  • Reply Becky @ RunFunDone May 1, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Oh my goodness. He is a saint for tolerating you posting those photos!

    I used to be shameless with my camera…and I used to take amazing photos. Then, somewhere along the way, I started feeling badly about it, and started to feel self conscious taking out my camera.

    I don’t take amazing photos anymore.

    I wish that I could take back my lack of shame and get my amazing photog abilities back. But they seem to have disappeared forever….

    • Reply Johnny May 2, 2013 at 2:45 am

      The fact that this post went live is a testament to the fact that I don’t take myself TOO too seriously. I mostly just worry about inconveniencing people in public, but I swear I’m getting better about just carpe dieming the moment and taking the darn picture.

      I also feel guilty that we don’t have more good shots of us as a couple because of my lameness. So maybe we stop feeling guilty and try to break out of our box a little each week. Set a small, attainable goal (like say, 1 photo in a restaurant) and work from there. The worst thing that could happen is Joanna gets more photos of Disapproving Johnny. 🙂

  • Reply Vanessa@cashcowcouple.com May 2, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I would say keep it up! Even though it might be slightly uncomfortable in the moment, you will want the photos later! Jacob doesn’t like public pictures very much either, but a cute picture of us last fourth of July that he REALLY didn’t want to take keeps reminding me that it is worth it!

    • Reply Johnny May 3, 2013 at 12:48 am

      I probably need to get my act together since we only have one or two photos together with our new baby. And I do want to have those later on, like you said. And then when the baby-photo-craze wears off, I can hide in my shell again. 🙂

  • Reply Mindy C May 3, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Wow, there’s definitely a little of Disapproving Johnny in my husband as well. As a result I have become very quick with my camera – less stress for him and better pictures for me.

    • Reply Mindy C May 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Oh, Joanna, you should also try out the Sports mode. It snaps multiple shots, in quick succession. The first time I used it on my husband he was so amused he relaxed. I still employ it every now and then.

      • Reply Joanna May 6, 2013 at 12:47 am

        Oh, that’s a great idea, Mindy! I’ve never tried doing that, and I definitely need to change things up to get that scowl off his face. I can’t wait to see his reaction the first time I try it :D. Thanks for the tip!

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