Photographers Share the Saddest Thing They’ve Shot

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During my last semester in college, I decided to take an Intro to Photography class. It had always been something I wanted to learn and I figured since I got all the hard classes out of the way, that I could finally take the classes I was actually interested in. It was the best decision I’ve made thus far in life.

Photography is not only an art form, it also has a science behind it. The first types of camera that were invented, pinhole camera, are the inspiration behind the fancy camera that professionals use today. The wonders of going from old school methods and dark rooms to using digital and mirrorless cameras all stem from the original methods back in the day.

For the most part, we see photographers capturing blissful moments. Why would you want to look at a photo that would make you sad? So we gravitate towards the happy – puppies, weddings, smiling face, and so on but there are professionals that have captured the sad and though provoking. Kudos to those that capture the moments that the rest of us flinch at.

These 21 photographers shared the saddest moment they’ve captured:


My Grandfather once asked his photographer friend, What the saddest thing he captured was and the guy’s response was that he was shooting down by the river one day, and there were two young brothers playing on the rocks. He was photographing them when suddenly one of the boys fell into the rapids and was swept away to his death. He captured the exact moment he was mid fall and his brothers panic stricken face. He’s never shown anyone the photo, and probably never will.


I took a family portrait with a freshly delivered full term stillborn child. Then all of the accompanying baby photos. Most haunting and painful experience ever.


It was probably a shoot at a hospice as part of a bigger job i did for a hospital complex. The pictures themselves are not upsetting at all. There was one patient there who never had any visitors. I took some portraits of him while he was telling me about the things he used to do – parachuting, skiing, traveling. He was so happy to share, such a friendly man and so lonely, and I was happy that I could spend some of my time with him. When I left, he politely asked me to send him the photos, as they would be the last pictures of him, ever. That sentence really crushed me. Back in the car, I started to sob and couldn’t stop for quite a while. The man died two weeks later. I was told he liked the pictures I had sent him.


My niece died of a genetic disorder after 9 days. I was tasked with photographing her entire life once we found out what was going on. I spent 3 days at their house and one down at Riley Children’s Hospital. I made a nice album for the family and had to edit out a O2 tube mark on her face (they removed the tube after she died but it left an ugly bruise). It wasn’t tough to shoot at the time, but to look back through it all isn’t something I like to do. It’s probably my best work and it’s sealed away on my back-up hard drive.

Written by Irvi Torremoro

Irvi Torremoro is an Austinite by way of Las Vegas. She's worked in various outlets in food & beverage and is now focused on writing, eating all the things, talking about Beyonce, and petting all the puppies. She runs, a lifestyle blog about people in the service industry.