Photography like anything else has its own myths. Things that you supposedly should and shouldn’t do. But are they actually true? Here are 7 photography myths that you should avoid.
You need better gear
This is always one of the first things that amateur photographers think. It simply isn’t true. A poorly composed photo that is lacking an interesting subject will be a poor photo regardless of what camera it is taken with. A better camera and lens does improve the overall quality of your image. It will also allow you to take photos at a larger size which in turn means it can be printed at a bigger size.
A better camera will also often give you a bit more control in the photo taking process. For example, a higher end camera might allow for more bursts in a second which will allow you to capture fast-moving subjects better. But what the camera cannot influence is the subject, the lighting and the composition. That’s down to you! So, don’t believe that you need more expensive equipment to make your photos better.
I never need to use a flash
Whilst it is always preferable to use natural light as it gives a pleasing result, there are times that using a flash is necessary and will improve your photos. The key to using the flash effectively is knowing how to use it and when. For example, one of the biggest mistakes that people make is that they use a direct flash when there is a dark scene in front of them.
Using a flash directly onto your scene will give a very harsh light that will often wash away the ambience and contrast of a scene. If you have ever taken a photo with a flash of a meal in a restaurant, for example, you’ll know what I mean. Instead, you need to look to bounce your flash off a surface like ceiling or wall.
To say that you will never need a flash in photography is like saying you will never need a tripod. The key is knowing how to use it and when.
A cheap tripod will do
I always find it astonishing when I see people with very expensive cameras using a flimsy tripod. In the same way that not all cameras are the same, not all tripods are the same either. The big difference is that a poor tripod can have a bigger negative effect on your photos than a lower end camera. Besides the fact that a flimsy tripod may not be able to support the weight of your camera, it is also more likely to be blown over by a gust of wind.
The other big issue is that cheap and poor-quality tripods will also suffer from small vibrations which can make long exposure photos look blurred. Instead, look for a sturdy carbon fibre tripod. They are expensive, but they will last you for a long time. So don’t forego the quality of your tripod as in some instances it’s more important than the camera itself.
Post-processing is cheating
One of the greatest benefits of digital photography is the ability to manipulate photos in post-processing. But this is nothing new. Even in the days of films and darkrooms photographers used burn and dodge techniques to tweak the brightness and contrast of photos. Off course it is always best to try and capture the photo as best as you can at the time of taking the photo. But if that fails you shouldn’t be afraid to make adjustments in post-production.
You can’t take photos at midday
All photographers will tell you that the best light is early morning or late afternoon when the sun is low in the sky. This provides a wonderful soft light and long shadows that will enhance a scene. Midday light is typically the contrast of this and very harsh. It often washes out shadows in scenarios like landscape photography and creates harsh shadows in things like portraits.
Whilst not ideal or easy, to say that you can’t take photos at midday is a myth. You just have to think about what you are photographing and be able to control the light in the scene.
More exotic destinations mean better photos
This is something that I’ve encountered a lot in my time speaking and helping amateur photographers. They feel that if they were to travel to faraway places it will automatically improve their photos. The reality is that you can capture great photos anywhere. That includes your local village, town or city.
The big difference between these and more exotic destinations is that you become immune to it as you see those scenes all the time. But if someone from another country visited, they would likely be able to see things that you miss every day. So don’t let this myth stop you photographing things that are local to you because often there are interesting things that you are just not seeing.
Auto mode is a good choice for beginners
I think this is one of the biggest mistakes that beginners should avoid when wanting to learn and improve their photography. The reason is that by using auto mode you are not actually learning how to take a photo. You are not understanding how each element of the exposure triangle effects the other and you are relying on the camera to make the decisions.
Whilst auto modes in cameras have come a long way, they are still no match for human intuition and problem-solving. For example, a camera might increase your ISO to 12800 just to be able to take the photo at the exposure you want. But if you were manually selecting the settings you could underexpose the image slightly and get away with a lower ISO. If you want to use auto made, first learn how to take photos manually.
These are some of the most commons myths that are often used by amateur photographers. Don’t let these have an impact on your photography or learning. If you can avoid these myths all together, you might be surprised how much faster your photography improves.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.