Just like any other profession, photography as a profession is also surrounded by the clouds of myths. Maybe you also believe in one which is limiting your growth as a photographer. So, without any further ado, check out 7 common photography myths.
Myth: It is commonly seen that the so-called professional photographers or experts give advice like shoot at least a thousand and you will become an expert. In order to achieve ‘expertise’, many budding photographers will then go out with a camera with their batteries fully charged and shoot photos like a maniac. The reality is, photography doesn’t work that way.
The chances of you becoming a pro after shooting thousands of pictures in a day are pretty slim when compared to someone who has a better approach towards the goal. Even though it is true in some cases like when you are learning a certain style of photography but when it comes to reaching the top, numbers won’t do you any good.
Fact: The fact is that clicking thousands of photos won’t get you very far unless you have a strategy or goal for the day. If you click thousands of photos in a day then you will be left with multiple bad images making it hard for you to choose.
But if you have a certain goal for example, if you decide to only do landscape photography today or just portraits then you will get a better idea of how to capture the subject the right way.
2. Bad light? No shooting happening today sir!
Myth: Another common myth among budding photographers is that if the lighting is bad, you can’t do the photoshoot. Now, there’s a reason why someone would say that. Photography as a profession is something that relies largely on the lighting. If the lighting is favourable, a photographer can have the photoshoot with ease.
But if the lighting is not good, people tend to think that the photo shoot can’t be done. In such cases, they find it easier to postpone the shoot. Now, this myth has made its place so deep inside the minds of photographers that a bad weather day can stop a planned-for-months photoshoot.
Fact: In reality, bad lighting is not a problem for big photographers. There’s a word that exists in the dictionaries, it is popularly known as compromise. For years, humans have sorted to compromise whenever there’s a crisis situation. The same goes for photography.
Photography isn’t about expensive equipment, flashy lights, and a studio. Photography is about making the most out of what you already have. So, if the weather is bad, you can choose to click landscapes so something like that. And if the sky is too bright, it is the right time to play with the shadows.
3. No Tripod, No Photography
Myth: This myth is pretty common among photography peeps and a lot of photographers will tell you to take your tripod with you while going for photo walks. The reason they give seem genuine and they are, for example, a tripod helps you in taking a stable shot, a tripod makes it easy for you to wait for sunset with your camera on, or a tripod is good for capturing long exposure shots of the night sky. Also, some say that tripods help you expand the horizon of your creativity. These are a few misconceptions about tripods that people have.
Fact: The fact is that the tripods are just a piece of accessory that you may or may not need to capture the perfect photograph. Now, when it comes to using tripods, those professionals tend to use it more who are doing paid assignments. They usually have a designated list of shots and a client to convince. So, a tripod comes in handy in such cases.
But when it comes to changing perspectives and actually expanding the horizon of your creativity, a tripod can also work like a barrier as it limits your effort. Let us explain how. Most of the time when a photographer sets up a tripod, he/she doesn’t put the time and effort into changing it every now and then. But when you have a camera in hand, you are more independent and so is your creativity.
4. A photo-walk requires you to carry multiple lenses
Myth: 'Carry all your lenses, Jessica, we might need them’ is among the commonly heard sentences while going for a photo walk. What if the situation comes up and you have to shoot in wide-angle or what if there’s a need for a telephoto lens to capture a subject that is far.
There’s a common photography myth that more lenses mean better preparation for a photo walk. Photographers will carry heavy backpacks with a number of different kinds of lenses, a camera, extra lights and a tripod for a photo walk thinking that they will click the unseen.
Fact: The decision to carry a lens is something that entirely depends on the purpose. Every photo walk has a purpose. A good photographer doesn’t just wake up one day and decides that he will shoot the best picture of his life. IT’s actually a very bad thing to do because one day you might get bored or start to lack motivation.
Whereas having a plan keeps you motivated, you know what you want to shoot. So, that’s when you decide which lens to take with you. A prime lens is pretty common for photographers going for photo-walks. At the end of the day, it is up to you but doesn’t fall into the belief that you need all your lenses for every photo-walks you go to.
5. Subject placement according to fixed guidelines
Myth: There are certain photography guidelines like balancing the frame, symmetry, rule of thirds, etc. that are commonly taught in colleges or photography schools. According to one of them, a photographer should not keep his subject in the middle of the frame. One should do subject placement according to the rule of thirds by keeping the subject on the points of intersection inside the frame. Breaking the rules means that you have failed at being a photographer. Photography is like life. If you don’t follow the rules made by ‘creator’, you have to face severe consequences.
Fact: There’s a famous saying that those who break the rules can turn into winners. And the fact that it’s not a myth is basically a sigh of relief. While some rules of photography are made to guide, some rules can limit a photographer’s approach. It can also put a limit to the creativity of the photographer. But in order to break those rules, you have to know them first. So, learn about different rules of photography, composition styles etc. This way you will know exactly what you are doing when breaking a rule.
6. Shooting at Manual Focus makes you a pro
Myth: An exert photographer is someone who never touches the autofocus and shoots at manual because he must. Shooting at manual makes you a better photographer than those who shoot at Auto-focus. Or things like Auto-focus is for the beginners.
A photographer should wear the badge of Manual Focus with pride as it gives him full control over the shot and sets him apart from amateur photographers. Once you master manual focus, there are chances that Nat Geo will hire you (it might sound absurd but some people actually say that). Basically, the hype of manual focus is so big that there’s some sort of bias in the industry.
Fact: When it comes to professionalism, there’s no such comparison that exists or should exist between manual focus and autofocus. Both of these focuses have their own usage and importance when it comes to professional photography. Saying that manual focus is better than auto-focus is wrong on so many levels. Shooting at manual focus is not just unnecessary but inconvenient too.
There are times when a photographer has to capture a moment that might not come again. During that time, if he tries to change the manual settings in order to take the photo then there are possibilities that the moment will pass. But that’s not the case with Autofocus. In such scenarios, auto-focus comes in handy. Auto-focus makes it easy to be spontaneous.
7. Photography is easy and anybody can make money off it
Myth: The biggest myths of all about photography is that it is an easy job to do. Anyone with an expensive camera can shoot a decent picture. Photography doesn’t require studies and those who are poor at studies, choose the profession. Also, photographers earn thousands of dollars a year by charging too much for just taking photographers.
Photography is not a profession, it’s a hobby and the people who don’t have any aim in life get involved in it. These are some of the common myths about photography. Even though this myth should have been on top but since it’s a major mood killer, we kept it at the bottom.
Fact: The reality is that photography requires skills that one learns over the ears of time. Photography is not as easy as one might think it is. There are so much competition and every day a new photographer makes headlines for clicking an iconic image that the world has never seen. And that’s how things are in the photography world.
It is stupid to say that photography is easy and anybody can earn from it. The fact is that a photographer has to build credibility, skills and bring something unique to the table. Nobody pays for an average photograph or a photographer whose work is similar to 10 others.
At the end of the day, if you are a photographer, you should focus more on furnishing your skills and making yourself better than you were yesterday. If you have a doubt regarding any topic, there’s tons of information available on the Internet. You can refer to books like ‘Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson’ or ‘Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carroll’. There’s so much to discover and learn in photography. So, don’t limit yourself by falling for myths and aim towards educating others.