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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.

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

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
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
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