Every one of the arts comes alongside its fair share of myths and misconceptions. The world of photography is certainly no exception. It’s not just beginners and newbies that are guilty of harboring them either. Sometimes even the most seasoned photography enthusiasts can wind up holding onto an erroneous belief and hobbling the progress of their would-be career as a result.
Here we’ll take a look at some of the photography world’s most commonly held misconceptions, as well as explore how to overcome them. Could any of the following be keeping you from reaching your full potential as a photographer?
- “My photography would be better if I could afford a better camera.”
No one is arguing the value of good quality professional equipment here. Oftentimes, more expensive equipment does mean better quality images than you could probably hope to get with a basic point-and-shoot. However, such equipment isn’t a magic solution to your woes. It will only make your pictures better if you are able to use it skillfully.
The best way to improve the quality of your photography is to upgrade your actual skills. Invest in professional photography classes before you spend thousands on new gear. Definitely practice, practice, and practice some more. Solicit feedback on your work and use it to improve. Remember, there are tons of stunning photographs out there that were shot on iPhones.
- “Professional photographers are inherently better than amateurs.”
Make sure you’re not getting confused as far as the true difference between a professional photographer and an amateur. Professionals are those that are making a little money with what they do – period. However, while being able to earn money from what you shoot is fantastic, it’s by no means proof that you’re a better photographer than someone who doesn’t.
The world is filled with highly talented amateurs generating absolutely stunning photographs. Some of them have even won high profile photography contests, as well as gained lasting recognition for their work. A good photographer is not only known for quality, but consistency as well. A consistent amateur is probably generating better images than an inconsistent professional any day of the week.
- “I need to have a portfolio filled with hundreds of images before I can enter contests or approach potential clients.”
Just like the point above about professionals versus amateurs, this is quite simply not true. While spending a lot of time shooting is certainly a great way to get your photography competition-ready in general, quality is still going to trump quantity every time. As for clients, a carefully curated portfolio filled with just a few images that are phenomenal will have much more appeal than a collection of hundreds of images that are only so-so.
Be discerning about your selections when evaluating pieces you plan on showing to a potential client or entering into a photography contest. Pay special attention to any guidelines or objectives you may be privy to. Attention to detail is key.
Image Credit: Rex Jones
- “The only way out of a creative rut is to visit an exotic location.”
Ruts and creative blocks happen to every artist of every kind from time to time. They even happen to professionals that have been taking photographs for years. However, while you’re certainly welcome and encouraged to shoot at your dream location if that’s an option for you, there are many ways to break out of a rut.
One of the best ways is to visit a familiar place – your own back yard, even – and make a real effort to see it through fresh eyes. Try shooting in a new style or from perspectives you don’t normally explore. Do you normally shoot landscapes? Try exploring people or wildlife for a change of pace. Do you work well with themes and prompts? Pick one you like and schedule a “photography walk” with some fellow photographers. Use your imagination and that rut will be a thing of the past in no time.
- “The best way to wind up with keepers is to shoot thousands and thousands of frames per shoot.”
Also known as the “spray and pray” approach in certain circles, shooting an entire army of images sounds like a pretty good idea on paper. There’s no way 1500 shots could all be bad, right? Well, while there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking this approach if that’s what works for you, it’s important to realize that there still won’t be any guarantees.
Remember – quality over quantity is king. Many photographers find limitation to be a lot more inspiring from a creative standpoint. Focus on shooting with intent. Try your darnedest to make every single one of your frames count and watch what happens to your results. If you want keepers, that is the way to go. You won’t have the headache of sorting and processing 1500 images either.
Image Credit: Mila Semina
- “I’d like to enter a contest/try selling my work, but I’m too old.”
There is no age limit on creativity and the ability to produce, sell, or compete with potentially stunning art. Unless you’re specifically thinking of a photography contest with an actual age or location limit attached to it, there is nothing standing in the way of your giving photography the old college try in whatever way you’d like to. Get out there and get shooting. Today. Now.
- “The light’s bad today, so I can’t shoot.”
While the golden hours are certainly opportunities that you’ll want to take advantage of when and if you can, “bad light” is a myth to be discarded. Any light can bring with it chances to shoot amazing images. You just have to open your eyes and get creative.
Adverse weather conditions got you down? Try making them the focal point of your shoot instead of bemoaning them and deciding you’d rather wait for a sunnier day. Some of the most breathtaking shots in photography history depict rain, lightning, or fog, after all. Never miss out on the opportunity to ride a creative wave. You never known what might happen if you just step out, take a chance, and see what the day brings your way.