Photographer's Medical Dictionary


I can't explain the reason why, but us photographers seem to contract more than our fair share of ailments, diseases, conditions, syndromes, maladies, obsessions and disorders. Is it something about the people who are attracted to photography in the first place? Or does it have something to do with the profession/hobby?

Following is a compilation of the most commonly contracted photography-related medical issues.

HLDS (Horizon Level Deficiency Disorder)

Simply put, those of us with HLDS (raising my hand high on this one) find it very difficult to hold a camera level. Slanting horizons are the certain result of this condition. I am not aware of a cure for , though the built-in electronic level found in the latest Canon EOS DSLR cameras has been a I don't hear many others talking about this issue, but ... I suspect that others are not comfortable with going public on this one. They just fix the issue in post.

Lens Disease / L Disease subdisorder

You cannot stop buying and testing lenses until you are certain that you have exhausted all contenders in the category you are working with. You don't have enough lenses, or your lenses are not sharp enough. Canon's L lenses are most frequently used to resolve this mental ailment. This addiction has no cure. Highly contagious.

IISI-IMSIO (If I See It, I Must Shoot It Obsession)

Pronounce this long hyphenated acronym as if it was a word – Isimsio. You may have this condition if you find it very hard to relax if there is a camera in your hand, and find it much harder to relax if you don't. There is a deep-seated fear that a great shot might be near-coming and that you MUST capture it. This condition most frequently affects young, highly passionate photographers most accutely. Maturing photographers learn to manage the problem (or they become too fatigued to generate the symptoms any longer).

something about multiple copies

AEBB (Above Eyebrow Bruise)

A camera viewfinder eyecup firmly planted into one's eyebrow has multiple benefits including camera stabilization and viewfinder light leak avoidance. However, even moderately long term use of a DSLR camera in such a way leaves an imprint just above the eyebrow that lasts for a significant length of time. No, my wife did not hit me. This problem goes away with time away from the camera.

SOD (Sunrise/Sunset Obsession Disorder)

Landscape photographers all know that only beautiful sunrises and sunsets can make great images and will do anything to be at the right location at the right time. The primary symptom of this disorder is great stress accompanied by watching the sun rise/set without photographing it in all its glory. Sleep depravity Distancing of family cause me great anxiety. If I have a camera in hand, I am furiously working on the best capture of it. And if I don't have a camera in hand, I'm stressing over the missed opportunity. This malady is sometimes referred to as sunrisitis and sunsetitis.

GAS: Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I see no problem with this disease. I view GAS as highly desirable. This one is common and, in my opinion, is a disease I enjoy being characterized as having.

PDD (Pixel Deficiency Disorder)

Condition where current camera’s megapixel count is never high enough.

Camera-Vision Condition. Aspect Ratio Tunnel Vision (ARV) – Condition where a person sees the world within the confines of a specific aspect ratio. I.E. – 2x3, 4x3, 4x5, 16x9, etc. All things outside of the aspect ratio framing go unnoticed. Become blind background go blurred with close subjects. Symptoms: You are out on a date and your mind keeps saying 135mm as you look at them across the table. Focal Length Subdisorder

Polarized Neck Strain (PNS) – Condition where the muscles in the neck become aggravated from the head tilt associated with wearing polarized sunglasses and checking for CPL effectiveness at any given time.

Photographer Finger/ Shutter Finger/ Index Finger Shutter Cramp (IFSC) – Condition where the index finger muscles lock up in the “shutter activation” bend.

Photoshop Induced Sleep Deprivation (PISD) – Condition of sleeplessness caused by long hours of post processing.

Vertical Image Shoulder Fatigue (VISF) – Condition where the muscles in the right shoulder become fatigued from neglecting to use a battery grip or 1-series body and shooting many vertical images.

Tongue lacerations: brought on by behavior of wedding guests, particularly those who block your shot repeatedly, thereby causing the photographer to bite his/her tongue

EBS (Enlarged Bladder Syndrome)

EBS is most commonly contracted by wedding photographers who are expected to miss zero happenings at the big event. This ailment typically accompanies SSS (Shrunken Stomach Syndrome).

OCF-OCD (Off-Camera Flash Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

Those contracting OCF-OCD live in a virtual world lit by imaginary lighting sources.

Megapixel Madness


SYMPTOM PROGNOSIS Which photography-related do you have or have you encountered? Help us maintain the complete list. Send us your photography diseases along with the associated symptons and recovery rates for inclusion in the photographer's medical dictionary. Or add information to one of the conditions already discussed. Send your info to

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