On a Lighter Note: Photography Humor

Easy on the Photoshop, please.

Once upon a time, Frank Zappa asked, “Does humor belong in music?” We could easily ask the same of photography. After all, people take photography seriously. Maybe a little too seriously. But there’s plenty of humor had — albeit sometimes at someone else’s expense. There are thousands of sites out there with funny photos of dogs, cats, kids, and everything else; what the sites listed below have in common is that they’re not only funny, you can also learn a fair amount about what not to do as a photographer. Enjoy them, and if you can think of any to add to the list, comment or drop a line.

Awkward Family Photos is one bad judgment piled on top of another, on another… or maybe it’s like those Russian dolls, with a whole lot of nested awful. Many of the photos were done by professional photographers, and while you can blame some of the results on changing tastes and times, some of these families could clearly have used an intervention before stepping in front of the camera.

There’s still money in stock photography, with some photographers even making a living in the diluted, low-profit world of microstock. Awkward Stock Photos is a case study in what happens when people keep adding more crap to an already oversaturated market

Anyone whose attitude is “Fix it in post!” really should check out Photoshop Disasters. It’s a compendium of misplaced limbs, displaced hips, clones upon clones, and every other sin someone’s committed in photo editing and either didn’t catch, or figured nobody’d notice.

Uncle Bob Photography deserves a little explanation: “Uncle Bob” is a name you’ll see a lot on websites and forums frequented by pro photographers. He’s that uncle who’ll volunteer to capture your engagement/wedding/bat mitzvah because he’s got an expensive camera. Generally gives professional photographers conniptions by getting in the middle of their shots to get his shots, or because his flash has ruined several exposures. I’m not sure who this “Uncle Bob” is, but as Facebook satirists go, he’s good.

Aaron Johnson’s What the Duck is a long-running (five years is practically an eternity on the internet) webcomic following the adventures of an intrepid photographer duck.

A recent discovery, and a favorite not just because of the truly awful photos, but also the site owners’ snarky commentary on each, is You Are Not a Photographer. “Fauxtographers” of all stripes get called on the carpet here, and their work pretty mercilessly cut down to size. It’s not quite mean-spirited, though; the ladies (who go by Ginger and Mary Anne) often solicit feedback on how the images could be made better.

This time next week, we’ll be looking over the work of some photographers who are funny on purpose. In the meantime, have a look over these sites, and in between the laughs, take some notes, ’cause there are some Grade-A examples of what you don’t want to do with your photography, no matter how trendy it may be, or how good an idea it may seem at the time.