Myths. Every industry and hobby has them–the photography world is no exception. The problem is, we don’t know what we don’t know, which makes it easy to put faith in something that may not be all that accurate. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of five common myths beginner photographers frequently come to me with seeking advice on.
Take a look:
Myth #1: The More Photos You Take, The Better Photographer You Will Become
Alright, so there is some truth to this myth, but it’s not as simple as going out and shooting X amount of photos in order to level up your skills. If that were the case, we could all grab our cameras and take the same photo of our dog 2000 times then call ourselves a pro. The reality is, shooting more photos can help you improve your photography, if you are shooting each frame with the intention of learning something new.
Remember, quantity does not equal quality. Shoot as often as you can, but make sure you’re putting some thought and effort into each frame if you want to get anything useful out of your practice sessions.
Myth #2: If I Upgrade My Gear, My Skill Level Will Improve
You’ve probably heard this one a thousand times already, but having better equipment will not make you a better photographer. Sure, you may get photos with higher megapixel counts and the dynamic range may improve, but no amount of megapixels is going to make a poorly composed photo turn into a good one. There are some things a camera just is not capable of doing–composition is one of them.
Photography is a delicate blend of artistic and technical skills. You can make up for a lack of technical skills with an abundance of artistic skills, but without any artistic skills, it’s pretty hard to create an interesting photo. If you’re not happy with the photos you have been taking, you will almost always be better served by spending time and resources on learning creative and artistic techniques like proper composition than you will by dropping a ton of cash on the newest model camera.
Myth #3: There’s No Point In Shooting When The Light Is Bad
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the lighting is going to be bad more often than it’s good (and stumbling across perfect lighting is even more of a rare occurrence. Unfortunately, learning how to shoot in bad lighting is part of the deal. But, try not to think of it as a bad thing–shooting in bad lighting is actually an opportunity to teach yourself how to adapt to different lighting situations.
The more you practice in varying degrees of “bad light” the more you’ll actually learn about light. Considering photography is impossible without light, whether it be good or bad, you should really take advantage of every opportunity to master it.
Myth #4: Professional Photographers Never Take Bad Photos
Oh, yes they do! And more often than you think. No one shoots perfect photos all of the time. Even photographers with 50 or more years of experience under their belt take bad photos. Just because the pros choose not to show anyone their outtakes, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The pros just spend more time curating their own portfolios to weed out any of their work that doesn’t earn an A+.
They do this to give potential clients the impression that every thing they work on is golden. From a marketing standpoint, this is a brilliant plan. In fact, we should all be auditing our portfolios from time to time to take out lesser quality photos and replace them with higher quality images as our skills improve over time.
Myth #5: I Need To Shoot Exclusively In Manual Mode If I Want To Be Considered A Real Photographer
While it’s true that professional photographers shoot in manual mode more often than not, that doesn’t mean they always shoot in manual. There are times when shooting in one of the priority modes are perfectly adequate. There’s even a time and place to shoot in Auto mode–like when you just need to take a quick snapshot of something, or if you need to take a photo like right now or miss out on capturing the scene all together. Sometimes, it’s better to have the photo taken in Auto mode than it is to have no photo at all!
Lastly, I think it’s important to point out that “real photographer” doesn’t equal “professional photographer”. A “real photographer” is any person who takes photos, regardless of their skill level! A beginner photographer is just as real as a seasoned pro–don’t let labels discourage you!