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ONE day a woman called our photo studio and asked if we could remove the hat her husband was wearing in a particular portrait. We explained it was possible, but very expensive, and suggested having a new photograph taken rather than retouching. She was determined, however, to have the portrait altered. Before proceeding, we had to know how her husband had styled his hair, and asked if she could send us a photo to give us something to copy. "That won't be necessary," she replied. "You'll be able to see his hair when you take his hat off''

As a portrait photographer I encountered many children who were less than enthusiastic about getting their pictures taken. This prompted me to figure out some tricks that would make the job easier. One of these was "Molly the Mouse," a small, stuffed toy that I would hold up to the side of the camera. The child was told that Molly would take the picture, and I would jiggle the mouse with one hand as I pressed the shutter-release button with the other. This trick would enthrall most children long enough for me to get a good set of pictures. One little girl, whose pre-Molly portraits were unsatisfactory, made a return visit. With the help of Molly the Mouse, the sitting proved most successful. When the prints were ready, the mother, accompanied by her daughter, came to pick them up. "Aren't they nice?" She cooed to the child. "Oh, yes," came the reply. "The mouse is a much better photographer than that man."

MY FATHER had a roll of black and white film that needed developing and he asked me to find a laboratory that would do it without delay. I started to telephone around and on my third call had the following conversation: "Hello?" said the voice on the other end of the line.   "Yes, hello there," I said. "Do you have a black and white lab on the premises?"  There was a brief pause. "Well, no, but we do have a springer spaniel.  Is that good enough?"

WHEN I took up photography, I bought the best camera I could find. The first time I used it in a mountain park, I accidentally snapped a couple of pictures while fumbling with the pamphlets, the buttons, and all the adjustments. Irritated by this, I conscientiously read through all the instructions and finished the roll with great confidence. When I took it in to be developed I also asked the clerk to comment on the pictures.  Several days later I picked up the film and found a note attached to the package: "Keep doing whatever you did for the first couple of pictures. They were great."

THERE were so many people lining the sidewalks to view a passing parade that I despaired of ever getting a clear photograph. After making several unsuccessful tries, I noticed a woman focusing her lens directly at the heads in front of her. I was about to warn her that the shot was impossible when she screamed, "Everybody duck! "  Spectators around and in front of her complied, giving her a clear view of the parade. She then thanked the bewildered crowd and walked away with possibly the best photo of the day.

IT WAS a large wedding party, and afterwards the photographer took a long time getting family groups together for pictures. The groom sat by me, waiting with barely concealed impatience. "Now I'd like to get the bride alone," the photographer finally announced.  Leaning towards me, the groom whispered, "So would I!"

ONE day a woman came to my photography studio with her ten-year-old son and asked me to take passport-size photos of him. When I had finished, she had the boy change his jacket and asked me to take a second set of photos. Intrigued, I asked her why she had had him change clothes. "I have identical twin boys," she replied, "and the other one hates having his picture taken. When they need identification photos, I bring in this son and a second jacket, so anyone looking at the photos can tell them apart."

MY FATHER is a practical joker, so when a photographer specializing in family portraits phoned him, he said, "I'm sorry, but my son is in jail and my daughter is living with some man in El Monte."  "What about you and the wife, then?" the photo salesman persisted. "I would if I could ever get her sober," replied Dad. "Well," asked the salesman, "don't you have any pets?"

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Last updated May 19, 2008 by Becquet's Custom Programming