Words That Make Me Wince

A couple of words keep on popping up in books, web sites and training classes about Lightroom other tools. I must be over-sensitive to language as they both make me wince a little.

The first is “workflow”. It feels like a word invented by photographers (digital imaging professionals) to make the stuff they do on a computer sound complicated. “In my workflow …”. “This new product enhances your workflow” and so on. Sometimes I catch myself using it. Most of the time I can find a word that sounds less pretentious.

The other word is image where picture or photograph would do just as well. Again, I guess image sounds more technical.

All professions and vocations have invented their own jargon. Medicine and the law are far, far worse than photography and sometimes there are good reasons for using a precise word when common words won’t do. But much of the time I bet the reason is to make the user feel clever and to intimidate the uninitiated.

Vendors often use the jargon words in advertising in an attempt to show how they are close to their customers. “We both know what we are talking about but those outsiders don’t. Ha ha!”.

When I lived in California I sometimes ate lunch at Erik’s Deli Cafe on Kiely Boulevard, Santa Clara. The owner would leave out copies of a magazine he received that was directed to the restaurant trade. The common jargon word in those magazines that made me wince was daypart. An article would describe how a restaurant was serving bacon and eggs in the breakfast daypart. That must have sounded more professional than serving bacon and eggs for breakfast.

I’m glad I got that off my chest. Lightroom is processing some of my images in the background thereby enhancing the productivity of my workflow and I felt like having a little rant.

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