Photography Lies You Need To Stop Believing

In this time where most people listen and view numerous YouTube “Photographers” (I use the term lightly, as many of them claim to be, but are really not!) there is a lot of misinformation floating around about the basics of photography. I’ve gathered together a selection of the most common! Of course, many people who do photography like to put limits on their work by listening to these YouTubers, or pixel-peep themselves, without ever having printed hundreds of photos, or experienced many different cameras. The “YouTube” generation is killing photography with their nonsense, so today we correct the idiots!

Things that are said, but are very wrong in modern photography.

1. You can’t/shouldn’t crop a photograph – modern day sensors are 16mp+ now and the majority of people only post to Facebook or social media, you can crop as much as you want, I even just wrote an article about it! Even when you’re printing your work you can crop down from landscape orientation to portrait orientation with little to no harm done on quality with prints that are not huge, certainly not enough to notice. People forget that printing is usually very low resolution compared to the pixels on your screen, very low dynamic range compared to a modern monitor, and of course you view the image from a much further distance! Crop to your heart’s content, especially if you are not serious about printing your work.

2. You must stick to base ISO – again, no! Many events photographers, wedding photographers and more shoot at ISO6400, ISO12800 and beyond. When needed I will shoot at ISO6400/12800 all day with clean images and using the correct exposure. If you’re printing, again, you won’t see the noise unless you deliberately look for it. Of course you’ll find noise on some camera images if you look for it, but if you notice the noise, your image isn’t good enough! Noise is not the issue, a bad subject or composition is the issue!

3. Take less images – Of course not, you’ll never learn by taking less images, take photographs, many many photographs and study them, compare them to other peoples images and your old images, and get people to give some creative criticism to them! See where you’ve gone wrong and take more photographs! This point can’t be emphasised enough!

4. Sensor size matters – It really doesn’t matter what you shoot with, from mobile phone to medium and large format, without the skill for a composition and knowing how to get the right exposure you can use anything these days! Professionals use a variety of different tools from mobiles right up! The camera you use will not improve your output unless it’s something very specific you are after. If sensor size was the most important thing, all professional and working photographers would be using Fujifilm GFX100s!

5. Always shoot in raw – No, always shoot with whatever gets you the results you want! Enough said on this as I have written articles on The Advantages Of Shooting Raw as well as The Benefits Of Shooting In Jpeg.

6. Always shoot in Manual – Really? This is the most over-quoted bits of rubbish ever. If you’re always shooting in FULL manual (manual shutter speed, aperture, ISO and WB) there’s a good chance you’ll miss a shot or two unless you’re specifically in an environment that needs manual. Shoot in the mode that get’s you the best results, even if it’s in fully automatic! It’s always best to understand how full manual works, but take a note off the professional photographers and try using Aperture Priority or another priority mode, as there are genuine benefits!

7. You shouldn’t edit your photos – It’s art! If you want you can edit it so it looks nothing like the original! It doesn’t matter! What’s more important is that you find your own style, or if you’re not serious about photography, just experiment and have fun!

8. You should edit your photos – It’s photography, it’s the way you want it to look and your happy with it out of camera, it’s fine! It doesn’t matter at long as you’re happy. A lot of people like to get it right in camera, by taking time to edit their jpeg settings before hand (with certain modern mirrorless cameras, the possibilities are endless), getting their exposure right and capturing the moment.

9. You should follow the rule of thirds – Surprisingly, no, you don’t have to! In fact, don’t follow the rule of thirds and be like everyone else! Centre your subjects, put your subjects on the corners, just be different! There are no rules to photography, just guidelines to get you started!

10. You shouldn’t… – You get the idea… Photography isn’t an exact science, every camera is different, every photographer is different… Just enjoy, and do things your way. Experiment a lot, with composition, cameras, techniques, software and genres of photography. Be better by learning from your own mistakes. Be better by imitating your heros, and adding your own twist. Take a photo of something or somewhere over and over again to perfect your craft. Most importantly, listen to others, see what people like when you show them the images, and see what they don’t like. Because the 10th lie you should totally ignore is “as long as you’re happy with what you do”. If no one else likes your work, then you are doing something very wrong.

Published by mgadams1970

Fujifilm Documentary Photographer & Blogger.

4 thoughts on “Photography Lies You Need To Stop Believing

  1. Here, here! When I was starting out in “serious” (ha!) photography, I would seek out all these how-to articles and try to apply their “wisdom,” only to eventually do my own thing once I had become more comfortable with my vision, my tools (camera, lenses & editing software), and craft.

    All these absolutes (don’t edit, use lowest ISO, whatever) have a place – in very specific genres of photography. Commercial photographers taking moody shots of $1 million cars to be put on billboards or printed HUGE in exhibitions must minimize noise, to be certain. Photojournalists who are recording “the truth” are compelled to present their work as-is, with no manipulation whatsoever (yet somehow cropping – which can radically change the editorial message of a photo – is usually permissible).

    RAW vs JPG? Please! Full-frame vs APS-C? Gimme a break. Debate those for more than 30 seconds and you’ll get a block from me 😉.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I just hate the way people try and push beginners into doing things that could really hinder their fun and love of photography! Keep shooting and most importantly, keep enjoying the ride!

      Liked by 1 person

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