12 Myths About Photography And Photographers

12 Myths About Photography And Photographers


Myth #1 “I’m not going out to shoot today because the light is bad.”

There is no such thing as bad light. As long as there is light, there is opportunity to make amazing images. There is also no reason to limit yourself to the golden hours on each end of the day. The most adverse weather conditions are perfect for making the most beautiful pictures. So get out there!

Myth #2 “I need to bring several lenses with me on my photo walk, just in case…”

Well, that’s fine if you don’t mind carrying around heavy equipment all day “just in case.”  Depending on what you shoot, if you limit yourself to just one lens for the day you can improve your skills, especially if you decide on a fixed focal length lens such as a 50mm. This simple decision will slow you down which will help you see better and allow you to compose more carefully. Plus you won’t miss the shot while you’re busy switching lenses.

Myth #3 “I shoot 1,000 frames in a day so that I increase my chances of having a lot of keepers!”

The ‘spray and pray’ approach sounds like a good idea, but it is no guarantee that you’ll have more keepers at the end of the day. Instead, pretend you are shooting film and limit yourself to a 24 or 36 exposure that day. You will quickly discover the creative power of limitation.  Shoot with intent, make every single frame count, and you will have plenty of keepers at the end of the day with the added benefit of not having so many images to process.

There is no bad light. Foggy days are my favorite days to shoot landscapes.

Myth #4 “I can’t shoot, I forgot my tripod.”

The tripod is a useful tool, but can also become a bit of a crutch. Unless you are on a paid job assignment that requires a tripod, liberate yourself and shoot hand held. There are other ways to stabilize your camera if necessary, you can use a wall or a boulder for example. Tripods are definitely useful, but the problem is that photographers tend to set them once and rely on them to shoot everything from the same level.  Be creative and shoot your subject from different perspectives. Unless you are shooting long or multiple exposures or macro, liberate yourself from that tripod once in a while and try new perspectives.

Myth #5 “I‘m in a creative rut, I need to go to an exotic location to get out of it.”

Everyone gets into a rut. One solution is to learn to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, see the new in the familiar. Go out into your own backyard and see it with fresh eyes.  Give yourself an assignment such as a photo-a-day project for a month or a year.  Create a theme for your photo walk and it becomes a treasure hunt. Shoot with fellow photographers. Give a camera to a child and see the world “fresh” through their eyes. Once you get out there and use your imagination, you’ll be free from that rut!

Myth #6 “I would take better pictures if only I had a better camera.”

Okay, I’m not going to give you a lecture here. It’s true that more expensive equipment, when used skillfully, will yield better images than a point and shoot camera. The mistake, however, is upgrading before using your current gear to its full potential. Believe me, gear lust is easy to catch, yet most of us never outgrow our equipment. Invest into education, attend a photo workshop or go on a vacation instead of spending thousands on the latest and greatest gear. If you can do both, that’s terrific, but it’s not always necessary. Also, there is a lot of bad photography made with very expensive gear and some stunning images shot with iPhones… Food for thoughts!

Myth #7 “I’m too old to learn how to use a digital camera.”

If you have the strength to hold a camera and press the shutter, you can learn to use a digital camera.  Photography is a life long passion. It’s never too early or too late to start!

Myth #8 “I’m making money with my photography. I learned everything there was to learn about the craft.”

Nothing could be further from the truth! Once you think you know it all, you will stop growing. The world of photography is so exciting and is changing at the fastest pace ever. All you have to do is to keep current with the latest technology and embrace it.

Myth #9 “I need hundreds of pictures in my portfolio before I can show my work to clients.”

This is just not true. What is true, and important, is to be discerning about your selection, show only your best work. Quality over quantity is your guideline here.

Myth #10 “Being a photographer is a glamorous job.”

Maybe in the movies, but not in real life.  Most photographers don’t realize at first how much nitty gritty work is required once you turn your passion into a profession. For most of us, it’s 80% business and 20% shooting. This is true for just about any artist, so you need to be realistic.

Myth #11 “All you need to be successful as a pro is talent.”

Wouldn’t that be nice? Ever heard of the expression “starving artist?”  Talent is definitely an important ingredient, but solid business skills are also important. Business and marketing are a vital part of being a successful working photographer, but if that’s not your forte, be sure to get help or hire someone for that.

Myth #12 “Pro photographers are better than amateurs.”

Just because some photographers make money with their pictures doesn’t make them better shooters. A successful pro will be able to offer quality and consistency. I see the work of so-called amateur photographers every day that far exceeds the work of many pros. Actually, pro photographers run the risk of losing the passion for their craft if the work becomes a routine and this can adversely affect the quality of their work. It is very important for pro photographers to make time for personal projects in order to keep their passion alive.

The list could go on! Feel free to add a myth or two in the comment section.

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Valerie Jardin I live and breathe in pixels! Photography is more than a passion, it's an obsession, almost an addiction. When I'm not shooting or writing, I spend my time teaching this beautiful craft during photo workshops all over the world! I am also thrilled to be an official X Photographer for Fujifilm USA. Visit my Website Follow me on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram. And listen to my Podcast!

Some Older Comments

  • Aidan Oliver December 28, 2012 11:52 pm

    Well thought out obvious points that provide a general guide to those who may stumble at said imaginary obstacles.

    Always happy to answer any questions that any budding photographers may have in this regard.


  • Max Scott December 25, 2012 02:32 pm

    OK- I'm writing before having read through ALL OF THE RESPONSES. Most point-n-shoot cameras have a built in menu right? Have you checked yours? If you haven't looked through your camera's menu stop reading and go do it. Grab your camera manual and look through that as well. What you will be looking for are the different settings and to see if you have anything other then "Automatic." The first item worth experimenting with is the "White Balance." If you aren't careful with the White Balance you could end with shots that have a different temperature / warmth. Ever try shooting inside with the wrong "White Balance"? The other adjustments might surprise you as well. See if you can manually operate the camera's flash. Day time close up shots are often better if the flash provides a little "fill" light. Most current point and shoot cameras have a lot going for them that is not readily visible at first glance. Get comfortable with your camera and you will find the quality of your photography improving. Best of the season to you all!

  • Robert December 25, 2012 06:31 am

    Hi Patrick,

    I noticed your question about kit lenses:

    I'm happy to try and answer this. It is much more difficult, and thus more expensive, to manufacture good quality lenses with fixed f2.8 or even wider 1.2 apertures.

    Here's a link to a fine explanation of why this is the case: http://www.stsite.com/camera/cam04.php

    Note that not all kit lenses are bad! These definitely differ in quality as the camera becomes more expensive. You can purchase the canon 5d mark iii with an excellent kit lens. That's the canon 24-105L f4. It's a great lens, and many people have purchased it on its own, not as a kit.

    Look at the difference in price between these two lenses:
    24-105L f4 - approx $700 USD - constant f4 maximum aperture
    24-70L f2.8 - more than $2000 USD - constant f2.8 maximum aperture

    Both are "L" lenses, which mean that they are both very well constructed, and will deliver good results. So you can't go wrong with any L lens. However, the 24-70L, while much heavier than the 24-105L is very popular with wedding photographers for many reasons. The f2.8 maximum aperture alone makes this a more practical lens for indoor-low light photography.

    This is off topic from your question, but I did try the 24-105L f4, and it was very nice - and light. However, as I'm interested in night photography, I purchased the 5d mk iii camera body only, and got lenses better suited for that purpose. There are some excellent lenses that won't break the bank - you need to do some research -I've heard very good things about the rokinon 24 f2.8 - it is better than the Canon 24L, for much less money.

  • Michael C December 23, 2012 01:33 pm

    Reading through the article and comments again after letting them simmer in the back of my mind for a day or so, here is my take on some of the issues that have been raised in the comments and why some have strong feelings about the article.

    Most of what Valerie advocates in the first half of the article is good advice that all of us should try as an exercise at various points in our photographic development. I think where some folks take offense is that they are presented, whether intended or not, as the "only" way to take legitimate photos. The title itself emphasizes this: "12 Myths About Photography and Photographers". The counterpart of a "Myth" is "The Truth". There are no qualifiers of "some types of" Photography or "some" Photographers. The title doesn't imply at all that the suggestions in the first half of the article are meant for developmental exercises rather than rules to follow all the time. And the title doesn't leave much room for flexibility based on the light, the subject, and the photographers' vision of how they may want to portray the subject. The article itself does leave a little room for that flexibility, but you have to look to find it.

    Again, while many of the suggestions in the first half of the article are good ways to learn, there are also some advantages to their counterparts: planning to shoot a particular subject when the light best suits it, or using different lenses/multiple focal lengths, or using tripods, or taking many shots of the same subject with different settings and approaches, or photographing a unique location you've never seen before, or using higher grade equipment to get consistent results in more challenging conditions.

    Let's look at focal length. It is certainly beneficial to limit yourself to one lens at times in order to learn both the strengths and limitations of a particular focal length, and how a specific focal length affects perspective and angle of view. But it can be equally beneficial to use a wide ratio zoom to explore what focal lengths each photographer enjoys using and how different focal lengths can affect the way the same subject is presented. This approach can also be of use when trying to decide which focal length higher quality lenses to add to your gear before making an expensive mistake.
    One of the benefits many of us had from learning during the film era was being forced to make each shot count. But one of the benefits of learning during the digital era is the almost limitless possibility of trying radically different ways of taking a photo of a single subject and then using the EXIF data to see how those decisions affect the result. The availability of detailed EXIF data in every image we take can revolutionize the way we learn to shoot if only we will leverage this powerful tool!

    If the article had been titled and presented as something like "12 Assumptions You should Reconsider to Expand Your Photographic Horizons" it might have garnered a different response than one that came across to some of us as "12 Myths (and the corresponding Truth) About (All) Photography and (All) Photographers"

  • Michael C December 23, 2012 11:02 am

    @Robert - Thanks for the compliment! Ideally I would have also preferred a little more foreground in the frame as well. The two biggest reasons why there was not more foreground in the frame: 1) It would have reduced the amount of sky in the lens' field of view and therefore the odds of capturing a meteor as it streaked across a random spot in the sky. 2) My neighbor's five (yes, five!) unshielded sodium vapor security lights that keep the treetops safe for squirrels.

  • nikonjon December 22, 2012 11:07 pm

    Wow! I loved the list and think it made every point well and with a measure of humor that made it particularly enjoyable.

    There were some excellent points.

    #8-I am making money with my camera, so I have learned everything there is to know about the craft. Believe me, I have known some very successful portrait photographers who were NOT very good photographers. They were, however, very good salesmen.

    #3-Shoot a 1,000 frames in a day. Believe me 'spray and pray' was a very apt description of that method. I once worked on the photography staff of a daily paper and it is true that there are occasions when you need to shoot a series of shots. A football player running with the ball, a handcuffed criminal being escorted into or out of a courthouse, and others. You need several shots in a row to perhaps capture expressions, or moves that really tell the story. But what about the guys we would get in from the local college to work the summer, who would burn up several 36x rolls of film and not bring one really good pic, sometimes not even one 'usable' pic. 'Spray and pray' is like a man hunting rabbits with a 410 shotgun and points the gun in the general direction of the rabbit, emptys his gun and never hits the rabbit.

    #2 and #6. Having lots of lenses and needing a better camera. These two are absolutely precious. Reminds me of Henri Cartier-Bresson. As some of we older guys know he was a very well known street photographer a few decades ago. I read once that someone told him, "Yeah, of course you take good pictures. You are using a Leica!" To prove the point that the user is more important than the camera, he went out and shot a days work with a Kodak box camera. Now I am sure the lens quality was not as good as he would have gotten with his Liecas, but the content was every bit as good. Ansel Adams one said "The most important part of a camera is the 12" behind it".

    And for the folks who gave us a little rant about this list, I say, "Get a life and see things as they really are". I am 66 yrs old and been involved in photography since I was 14. You never learn it all. That is the nice thing about photography, it is one of those hobbies or professions that urges you to continue learning and expanding your horizons.

  • alecsimages December 22, 2012 10:05 am

    I realy love the article, I think that photography is a bit like cooking, you have to be adaptive, say you fancy eggs sunnyside up but cracking the first two eggs the yolks break so now you decide to make an omlet, both are very good now you made the best of the situation. Adapt

  • Johann December 22, 2012 08:13 am

    There are several ways to shoot in "bad" light. You could for example use a ND filter in bright daylight (especially here in South Africa), or you could shoot black and white. That way you can create interesting effects, even when the light doesn't look well.

  • Ian Berg December 22, 2012 06:43 am

    I agree with Myth 4. A couple of years ago I was asked what I would like for Christmas for my in-laws' extended family gift exchange. The spending limit was $50. I thought for awhile and concluded that I might as well ask for a tripod since I have a DSLR. Well, since recieving the tripod that Christmas I think I've used it twice. I'm just glad I never shelled out for a really expensive one.

  • Anita December 22, 2012 01:56 am

    It's not just the bad spelling...I have to re-read to understand or make sense from a sentence or two :)

    Great article for me, thanks Valerie.

  • robert December 21, 2012 08:35 pm

    Michael, nice meteor! I'd like to see more of the foreground, too..
    I also had a great time with the recent geminids.

    I'll jump to Valerie's defense here. I'm also surprised at all the negative comments. Her charming list is clearly just food for thought, and a way to encourage exploration, learning, creativity, etc. and not meant to be prescriptive for photography. Come on, folks.

    I'm quite sure that she wouldn't suggest that you leave your tripod at home, limit yourself to 25 shots, and use your iPhone to capture meteors. hmmm. I wouldn't suggest it either, but it would be funny. Ok, now I'm considering it.

  • Michael C December 21, 2012 04:21 pm

    Perhaps the article could have been better headlined with something like, "12 Assumptions the Developing Photographer Should Reconsider". There are so many different ways to use a camera to capture so many different types of subjects that any list such as this is going to be a little simplistic and biased towards the type of photography the writer spends most of their time doing. Likewise, the reader will interpret it through the lens of the type of photography they do. For the most part I think the advice in the first half of this article is best suited for those who do the types of photography where subject and camera placement, the amount of time allowed to set up and execute a shot, etc. are under the sole discretion of the photographer: landscapes, still life, etc. Everyone probably needs to do such exercises as a point of personal development early on in their photographic journey.

    But there are also many uses of a camera where the opposite approach may be the most successful one. Here is one example. About a week ago I went out with the goal of capturing some memorable shots of the Geminid meteor shower. I set up a fairly advanced camera (since I needed long exposures with low noise performance at ISO 800) on a tripod (since I was taking 30 second exposures) and mounted a fast wide angle lens (to cover as much sky as possible) before attaching an interval timer to the camera's remote shutter release port. Since the ideal photo of a meteor is one in which the camera is already pointed in the right direction and the shutter is already open when the the meteor begins to heat up and glow in the sky, I picked a direction to point my camera that included suitable framing and a part of the sky that was likely to see some activity. Once I had everything set up and my exposure settings dialed in, I set the timer to take consecutive 30 second exposures and let it run. I had to pause the shooting occasionally to wipe frost off the filter protecting the front element of the lens. I changed the part of the sky I was covering just for variety's sake a couple of times. I saw spectacular meteors in parts of the sky not included in my camera's field of view. I got a few shots here and there that included more mundane meteors, but not the kind I was hoping to capture. Finally, on the 243rd exposure, I saw an unbelievable meteor streak through the sky in front of my camera's open shutter! Here is a low resolution version of the result.


    By the very nature of the subject, "pray and spray" is the most likely strategy to capture a meteor in flight.
    By the nature of the subject most sports photography is done in less than ideal light and the subjects are not under the direction of the photographer at all. Learning to anticipate the action and visualize where the shot will be before it occurs is a key skill needed for such work, but so are high performance tools such as fast telephoto lenses and cameras with unbelievable high ISO/low noise performance and sophisticated auto focus systems that can track moving subjects if you want to get consistent results. We could cite many other examples of types of photography that do or do not benefit from the suggestions in this article.

    Perhaps the biggest myth of all in the photographic world is that there is one "best" way to do anything regardless of the subject you are shooting. There is no "best' camera. There is no "best" lens. There is no "best" technique that works equally well regardless of your subject. Instead, the questions of equipment, technique, and methodology should be answered by the nature of the subject and how the photographer's vision wishes to portray that subject.

  • Patrick December 21, 2012 12:38 pm

    Darren Rowse; Excuse me goggle traslator is no good, so I will write on my own excuse any grammar mistake.

    Why all cameras no matter the price and category all comes with the same kit lense with range betwen F/3.5 -5.6, my question is why they doesnot make the same kit lenses with fixed apertures betwen F/2.8 or F/1.2. Which is the mistery I dont believe that manufacture made a camera that could not bring excelent result with its kit lenses.
    Could you explain it to me?
    My anticpate thank you and have a Merry Chrismas and Happy New year.

  • Patrick December 21, 2012 12:30 pm

    Darren Rowse; I really enjoy your comments and clases.However I have a question nobody want to answer, I will summit you perhaps you can>
    I do not consider myself a good amateur in photography, but I wonder what is the mystery that the camera manufacturers make kits F/3.5-5.6 lenses with apertures, and also do the same kits F/2.8 lenses with apertures fixed or F/1.4 And not matter the camera it could be in the range of $500.00 or $ 5000.00 all comes with the same kit lenses. So why?
    My anticipate thanks you for your attention and have a Marry Chrismas and Happy New Year.

  • valerie Jardin December 21, 2012 12:15 pm

    Wow, this was really meant to be a light-hearted piece to bring a smile to your face. Never intended it to be a guide on 'how to become a successful pro'. What we write is not always meant to be thought provoking. Most of us have heard those common misconceptions about our craft hundreds of times and I thought it would be fun to compile a short list. I am glad that most of you enjoyed it for what it was, sorry that others took offense for some reason.Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

  • Adi December 21, 2012 11:53 am

    Sammy, your the only one making sense here (with the exception of Darren's reply, who acted perfectly as a moderator).

    I have been a amateur for many years asking myself how to improve and get into this business where so many so called "pros" are complaining about starving. I have no friends that makes more than 200k per year from photography and that in only 4 years! I have listen to advises like in this article before and most of the times it did not helped! On the contrary, I would have gain more experience and knowledge if I would have ignored such "wisdom" and go make mistakes and get angry and disappointing and frustrated. That is at least how I learn and when I do get to know something this way it is going to be valid, real and true (maybe not complete but definitely true).

    I don't like Tara's attitude either but the article has no real value to be honest.... Things are so relative that one can't just make such rules.

    I do appreciate however the intent of the article and it's writer.


  • Sammy December 21, 2012 12:50 am

    I don't agree with Tara's attitude (but I simply do not care about her spelling). I will point out that the article itself perpetuates derogatory stereotypes. Terms like "Spray and pray" and the idea that if you don't get fantastic results limiting yourself to a fixed normal focal length lens that you are no good.

    The point Tara has made is that a lot of the blanket statements passed on as "wisdom" here is actually damaging to the developing photographer if they believe it. Actually a lot of the points in these article remind me of a certain blogger's attitude (initials KR). "These ideas work for me and what I'm shooting therefore I'll make sweeping statements that are easily countered and complete rubbish and insist that this is the way to making better pictures". At best it is narrow minded.

    At worst it discourages a photographer from exploring. Only by taking too many and too few lenses into the field can you get a feel for how much you should be trying to carry and which lenses are best for which occasion. Only by coming home with 300 shots and being disappointed with all of them do you realise your technique needs to improve rather than the quantity of your shots. Don't discourage people from learning.

    Spray and pray in particular is on that will always grate with me. To that I say go out and take photos instead of criticising a technique you clearly don't understand.

    The camera/lens/gear doesn't matter is another one that drives me insane. NO WAY on earth would experienced professionals drop thousands of dollars on a single lens if it wasn't necessary. I own consumer gear and work within it's limits because there is no way I can justify spending enough to buy another second hand car on a camera lens or body. But I do know exactly what I'm missing, and while i have no experience with some of the pro lenses I do know what settings I'd be using if I had say a 70-200 f/2.8 rather than my 70-300 f/4.5-5.6.. The truth is a rubbish photo is rubbish due to the weakest link. IT ALL MATTERS. The gear. The photographer's knowledge. The circumstances. Pure dumb luck all come into play to make a stunning image. One thing wrong, and that stunning image isn't a keeper.

    Before I go another one I hate is "zoom with your feet". If you don't understand the difference between angle of view and getting closer to something you really shouldn't give advice on how to zoom.

  • Jay December 20, 2012 01:22 pm

    Darren, hats off to you for your mature response.

  • JL December 20, 2012 12:58 pm

    Tara: think the idea of a 50mm was aimed at people wanting to improve their skills... It's easy to stand still and zoom but giving yourself no option but to move is a valuable lesson plus it gives you a better understanding of background and perspective. There was a time when all street photography was 50mm or 35mm lense orientated. Best stuff ever.

    Darren: you should be a diplomat. How you refrained from saying shut up you stupid cow... True gent you are.

    Back to Django I go :) Merry Christmas!

  • Darren Rowse December 20, 2012 12:44 pm

    Hi Tara - I appreciate your feedback, we're totally up for discussion of posts and for people to state their opinion, all we really ask is that you consider that others opinions and experiences are just as valid as your own and that you respect them and keep things constructive. And... as we always say - if you'd like to take a stab at writing your own post that you think will be more helpful we're always open to being pitched article ideas. You take a nice shot so I'm sure our readers would love to learn from you!

  • Bryan December 20, 2012 10:13 am

    sadest = saddest
    amatures = amateurs
    recived = received
    bennificial = beneficial
    more then = more than
    "paying attention to have you are shooting" = what
    family’s = families (plural)
    "your looking" = you're
    soley = solely
    nieve = naíve

    You could have made the same point without being rude. Or being a horrid speller.

  • Tara December 20, 2012 09:38 am

    I wasn't speaking about soley weddings. Even on a photo walk you never know what you are going to encounter and to assume that a 50mm lens will cover everything is nieve and to give that as advice is terrible. The only time you should ever go out with one lens, is if you only have one lens. If you have invested that much money in camera gear it would be ridiculous to leave it at home. "Walk abouts" especially, you encounter a lot of wildlife and for that a 50mm isn't going to capture anything that's even slightly far from you.

  • Valerie Jardin December 20, 2012 08:55 am

    @Tara, with all due respect, I think you may have missed an important line or two... The part about one body, one lens is for photo walks... Not weddings! Same goes with the spray and pray approach, valid for personal projects, not client work of course! :)

  • Tara December 20, 2012 02:53 am

    Terrible list. You did nothing here but prove you know absolutely NO real professional photographers. The sadest is part is seeing all these amatures who think they just recived good advice when you actually point them in a direction that isn't bennificial.
    GUYS, if you have more then one lens, bring them with you everywhere. One lens does not work for everything. There is no such thing as a "spray ad pray" unless you are truly not paying attention to have you are shooting. I shoot events professionally, family's, weddings, engagements, corporate, creative! You name it. I have HUNDREDS of good pictures from one shoot and that's because your looking for perfection and variety or your clients.
    YOUR CAMERA MATTERS IF YOU ARE SHOOTING WITH A POINT IN SHOOT. Yes a lot of photographers complain that their camera isn't good enough but they ALREADY have a DSLR. If you want to be a photog go buy a basic entry camera and shoot as much as possible, stop reading BS like this.

  • Tom December 18, 2012 10:24 pm

    Nice List. I'm also weary of putting together a portfolio because of my limited amount of proper photos, but I agree on quality before quantity...


  • Mandaar December 18, 2012 09:02 pm

    Hi. It's really very useful & great tips... Previously I was using Point & Shoot Camera.. every "wow" encouraged me to do better photography... and at last I turned myself to a DSLR.. it was not so expensive... but it's DSLR.. and that happiness was enough for me.. I'm still not earning MONEY from my pictures but the happiness and the "wows" :)
    really nice article...!
    thanks for it !

  • Lynneea December 18, 2012 12:47 pm

    I agree with this list 110%. The second a photographer thinks they are the best I think its the second they start to slack at their job. I am constantly wanting to learn more and more about photography and how to better myself.

  • William December 18, 2012 11:24 am

    Very true myth busters, great article. I too live and breath pixels, I think that was the best quote. My philosophy about photos is; "The worst photo ever is the one not taken." I think I work on keeping myth 2-3 to a minimum. Some events that I photograph require a few lenses and I know which ones I will bring. Other times I'm not so sure what I'll bring so I just figure I'll use one lens and see how that works out. The thing is that we need to sometimes challenge ourselves to be better by forcing ourselves out of our safety box.
    If I find myself doing myth 3 then I break out my 5x4 studio camera and take some photos. At around $8 USD per photo that eliminates that spray and pray thing really quickly. The half hour that it takes to set up the equipment also makes me think 'do I really want this photo?' Plus lugging around that camera and all the accessories in a very large bag makes you think before you even pull it out of the car.
    Myth 6 I think I'm fortunate in that I have several good cameras when I go out I have my 5dmkii and my trusty Power Shot SD 690IS Elph. I've upgraded my 'main' camera several times since I got that little camera. Can't beat that little camera's macro capabilities nor the video for sound bites when I travel. But it all boils down to knowing what you can do with a camera.

  • Robert Henshaw-Suder December 17, 2012 09:49 pm

    Keep it simple![eimg url='IMAG 1142-1' title='IMAG 1142-1']

  • Ed Chambers December 17, 2012 07:40 pm

    This could be the BEST article in both its simplicity; and rich in contect than any other I have ever read. Frankly I do not recall ever reading one that is better! Thank You for the foCus! :-)

    The only addition I would respectfully submitt would be:
    Make # 8 relegated to #13 and add this for number #12

    Myth #12 I have taken enough classes and do not want to show others my style.

    "Live and Teach your craft to others with passion."
    The best teachers are the best students. Amazing the perspectives realized when asked questions by newbies that have little if any subjective inhibitions when questioning reality and process versus proffering a fact within experience. Break the rules and become yourself with passion, and share what you have been taught and discovered with others so they too may live your dreams and theirs concurrently well past the time you may have passed this earth. Do this and we all represent the responsibility of our craft by paying it forwards and backwards.

    MAKE THIS # 13

    Myth #8 “I’m making money with my photography. I learned everything there was to learn about the craft.”

    Nothing could be further from the truth! Once you think you know it all, you will stop growing. The world of photography is so exciting and is changing at the fastest pace ever. All you have to do is to keep current with the latest technology and embrace it.

  • joe bodego December 17, 2012 07:14 pm

    You forgot one thing
    "Most photographers know what they are doing"

  • marius2die4 December 17, 2012 04:54 pm

    Great article, but with 2 an4 I'm not 100% ok. Usually, I shoot birds.

  • Jay December 17, 2012 03:53 pm

    Sometimes I pull out a much older, simpler P&S and shoot in the same environment (my regular hiking route), to see if the pictures are worse than my what my DSLR produces. If they aren't, I know I am not fully utilizing my more elaborate camera's capabilities.

  • Andy Mills December 17, 2012 10:28 am

    As the old saying goes, "the best camera is the one you have with you". But not all phone cameras are made equal, some like the iPhone can do a pretty decent job, but some like the one in my old Samsung just really, really suck.

    Even if a P&S doesn't match a DSLR, they are better than most phone cameras and considering most are small and light enough, would prefer to take one with me where I couldn't, or wouldn't, take a DSLR.

  • Monica Justesen Photography December 17, 2012 10:02 am

    Excellent article! All very good points, and some really lovely reminders in here as well.

  • Michal France December 17, 2012 08:46 am

    Thank you for a great article! I agree with all and especially that a great photos are made first your in head and after in your camera. And any hope that making thousands of pictures on your brand new camera will produce better pictures is an illusion. And one more thing that will make your pictures better - be self-confident and trust your intuition as a photographer!

  • Thinkeye December 17, 2012 08:34 am

    ... pretend you are shooting film ... that's why I actually bought an used Nikon FE with 50mm lens. ;-)

  • David December 17, 2012 07:44 am

    Valerie, I really like this post and especially Myth #10 and Myth #12. Some advice that many (myself included) need to read and re-read a few times.

  • Scott King December 17, 2012 07:19 am

    What about: Myth #6.5 "I would take better pictures if only I had an L glass lens." ?

  • Sammy December 17, 2012 07:02 am

    The first half is full of terrible advice. A tired set of contrdictory cliches. People who limit themselves to a handful of exposures because that is the way it was done in the film days, or to a single 50mm lens are going to miss out on a lot of opportunities. "Spray and pray" is a derogatory term used by luddites to insult what they don't understand. Taking a thousand pictures with bad settings and composition will give you a thousand bad pictures. Taking a thousand pictures at an event where light or subject is constantly changing can give you 500 good pictures if you know what you're doing. The fact is the light does matter. There is a reason certain publications won't accept pictures taken any time but dawn and sunset. And the camera does matter! If it's not suited to your subject your photos will be lousy. If the camera doesn't matter, then go on, take an old 2mp 3x zoom to an airshow and try and capture the fast flybys then sell your pictures. Actually why do you need a digital camera at all? Why not use a box brownie? I get out to airshows maybe once a year if I'm lucky. I'm not going to go out there with a 50mm lens and take 24 exposures to prove I don't "spray and pray'. I'm going to try to capture at least one good image on every flyby by every aircraft. I carry 2 bodies - one with a short lens and one with a long lens. My record number of shots in a day is around 6300 and you can call me a spray and pray shooter if you like, but my results push the limits of my equipment and can be printed nicely to poster size.

  • Valerie Jardin December 17, 2012 03:35 am

    The first myth about light wasn't to imply that you can take awesome picture of anything under any light. It's all about seeing the light and shooting what is most fitting for specific light. Textures are better rendered in sunlight for example. Harsh shadows can be fitting for some architectural shots, etc. Of course, if you are shooing something specific, it's your responsibility to choose the best light for it. Scheduling an outdoor portrait session at midday is not the best. But again, you can find some open shade and save the shoot. Also, when you are traveling you can't always plan your photography according to the weather. Rainy days are a wonderful time to shoot! If the sky is boring, then frame tighter and avoid showing the sky, etc.

  • Deborah December 17, 2012 02:17 am

    I've never taken a photo I loved in the middle of a cloudless day, with the sun overhead. I try, but they never speak to me in the way photos taken at other times of day do, or photos taken on cloudy, rainy, or foggy days. Sure I can work around that harsh, midday light by taking photos indoors or in the shade, but if I have an outdoor photo in mind, I don't bother taking it at midday. What's the point? I can come back at another time. In fact, I have changed my life to fit the beautiful light. I go for walks early and late and spend the middle of the day working.
    Obviously I take photos of my family doing things outdoors in the middle of the day that I will want to remember, and I make the most of that light then, but those are not the photos I share with the rest of the world.

  • Sian Lewis December 17, 2012 01:46 am

    I agree with most of the points here however I can't entirely agree with the first one; try photographing horses in a dingy, dimly lit indoor arena and then tell me there's no such thing as bad light! A lot of the time, it comes down to what you're shooting - yes I could shoot at 1/100 at 2.8 but that's no good for shooting horses, you'd end up with too much motion blur and people don't buy blurry images.

  • Ian Jones December 17, 2012 01:41 am

    Yikes! I'm guilty of some of these. A fantastic article. I'm printing it and putting it up as a constant reminder. Thank you,Valerie.

  • JWSUK December 17, 2012 01:23 am

    As someone who just sold a photograph that I took with a 3.1mp mobile phone, oooh about 4 phones ago, the other myth I would like to dispel is that of "You cannot take a decent photograph with a mobile phone". Some photos with THAT phone are better than a couple with a "real" camera of the same subject. That said there are some awful camera phones out there, my current one is no exception. It's great for "emergencies" as long as I don't have to zoom in... but ok, anyway... it's good enough for someone to want to buy, it's good enough for me :-P

    The other thing is that "all photos need to be processed to the max, changed, in many cases appear to not even BE a photograph. While some people are true masters at editing and can really make it a real art, it's not essential.

    Please let it be noted that I am not saying anything against any person, form of art or equipment, simply dispelling the myth that works HAVE to be from an expensive camera with hours worth of edits :-P

  • Laurel Rogers December 17, 2012 01:15 am

    Thank you so much for this list! As a beginner I feel a little intimidated because I don't have a DLSR camera yet, but I have taken what I feel are some pretty good pictures with my point and shoot. This list helped give me confidence and patience to enjoy learning more about photography!

  • Valerie Jardin December 17, 2012 01:13 am

    @debalina, I don't think that it is going to be a big problem for much longer. There really isn't a bad camera out there. I lead workshops and I ask student to have a 'decent camera', some come with a G12, others with a 5dMrkIII, they all learn just as much and make the most amazing images. It's all about learning to see.

  • Debalina December 17, 2012 01:09 am

    I have been guilty of Myth #6 “I would take better pictures if only I had a better camera.”
    While taking pictures with my point n shoot camera, I totally enjoy it but when I transfer to my laptop, I realize that the pictures are too grainy and I get demotivated.
    Also, in many workshops and forums, you are allowed only if you have good camera and gear, which is pretty disheartening :(

  • Kate December 17, 2012 12:51 am

    Great list, Valerie. I rarely use a tripod as I shoot quite often while I'm out for a walk. There are times it would have come in handy though! I will use other objects though to brace myself or the camera--a wall, a ledge, a window sill, the roof of a car, etc.

  • Laura Kaczmarek December 17, 2012 12:40 am

    Great list, Valerie! I'm sure you could've written for days on end. I am sometimes guilty of not going out in "crappy light", mostly because I don't like to lug around my tripod.

  • Satesh R December 17, 2012 12:15 am

    Great article! I'm guilty of 1, 2 and 5...

  • Scottc December 16, 2012 11:12 pm

    Great list! I've been guilty of a few of these, got out of the "spray and pray" habit when I realized that focusing myself (as well as the camrea) would get the keeper the first time.

    #5 sounds more like "leverage" for a vacation than a myth!


  • Devang Gargieya December 16, 2012 08:28 pm

    Very nice list !!! Very well described....really good !!!

  • Mridula December 16, 2012 07:26 pm

    I have often been guilty of #1 not that I won't shoot but I will sulk! And I don't have the luxury to indulge with #6 A lovely read!


  • bobbyv December 16, 2012 04:08 pm

    myth#6 - your best equipment is your mind and its eye for finding something interesting and beautiful in the world around you, and this is surely something that no one has used to its full potential.

  • Jason Weddington December 16, 2012 02:36 pm

    Nice! I especially like #6. I often tell people not to upgrade until they can state specifically why their current kit is holding them back.

  • JL December 16, 2012 01:53 pm

    Good article. I'm a starving artist but make money doing what I call 'routine' work. One day, my art photography will bring in more dollar than products and portfolio's. I love #8, and am occasionally guilty... tut tut! Must revamp the personal project plans! (Although did capture a droplet of dew hanging from barbed wire refracting a sunset the other day... Dog walking has its perks :)

  • Donald Kemp December 16, 2012 01:24 pm

    My store is closing, so I'm taking the severence package so I can spend the time to do the leg work needed. This was a cool list that I will print out and save.


  • Bryan December 16, 2012 12:33 pm

    "pretend you are shooting film and limit yourself to a 24 or 36 exposure that day"

    This would be an interesting app for smartphone photography, limiting you to 36 exposures over a certain time period (4 hours, 8 hours, 24 hours). Perhaps there is already something like this out there, but I haven't heard of it.

  • Jim Dicecco December 16, 2012 11:43 am

    Great list. I'd love to use this some of my classes and add some sample pictures in some cases. Always love the DPS posts.