Five Photography Myths

by Mark Bailey

I’ve been browsing the internet for “Myths About Photography” and it seems everyone is pretty much saying the same thing, over and over. It appears in many cases people make up myths in order to throw out a blog post and try to get some hits for their web site.

That’s not to say there aren’t any myths, or at least misconceptions, however. So, here’s…

“Myth” #1: Photoshop is difficult to learn

Photoshop is really not that hard if you break it down into basic functions. It’s virtually impossible for anyone to know everything you can do with Photoshop but instead of being intimidated by it, all you have to do is start at the beginning. When first using Photoshop, all you have to do is use the brightness and contrast, colour saturation, and tools for removing dust and specks. In other words, just go with the basics.

Expert Photoshop users do not know everything there is to know so it really is a lifelong journey in moving to the next plateau of learning the software. If you start with the simple functions, you will begin to become familiar with the Photoshop environment and build up your confidence. There are plenty of free tutorials on the internet to help you along.

Myth #2: The light is bad

You could probably make the cynical point that the light is always bad for a particular type of photography. And therefore, that means the light is always good for a different photography scenario. The point everyone is trying to make that there is no such thing as bad light, just bad excuses for not shooting.

But if you’re in Cairo and you’re there for just one day and it was your lifelong dream to photograph the sphynx and yet there is a raging dust storm, it’s going to be tough trying to make lemonade out of that lemon. Still, taking pictures of the sphynx in a dust storm is better than no pictures at all. So yeah, a bad day of shooting is better than a good day of sitting at home or your hotel room because the day didn’t bring what you wanted.

Myth #3: The Creative Rut

We’ve all been there. Just not inspired or don’t feel like shooting. Again, everyone out there says this as an excuse to not go shooting. But you know what? Sometimes taking a step back is the best thing to do. You can’t be going 110% all the time. Creativity and productivity are things that run-in cycles. Don’t let the downturns put you into a funk. Know it will turn around and keep your camera ready for when you’re ready to go shooting again.

Myth #4: I’d take better pictures if I had a better camera

We’ve all heard that argument before. Give an amateur a high-end camera and he’s still going to take bad pictures. But better tools mean better results. So, forget the myth here and the point being made that has become a cliché. If you want to be a better photographer, it helps to have a good camera, but you need to learn how to use it. You can still take good pictures with low-end cameras and cell phones. It still boils down to knowing how to use the tools currently in your hands.

Myth #5: You can make a living at photography

Well, yes, you CAN make a living as a photographer but what do you call “living?” There are many good jobs out there in photography and congratulations if you have one but dreaming to be a full-time photographer is not always living the dream.

I know people who are full-time photographers but are barely getting by with minimum wages. They are struggling to make ends meet and are unable to afford basic things, yet they stubbornly hold on to the notion that “I am a photographer!” Life is not always fair and perhaps the real myth is thinking you are a full-time photographer when you might have a happier life doing something else and letting photography be more of a hobby. The term “starving artist” comes to mind and I’m sure many of you know people like that. Their lives are ruled by their art, but the art world can be a cruel place to be at the same time.

You may be a very good photographer and artist and still not make it, at least not full time. Find your niche and if it leads to full-time employment, great, but calling yourself a “photographer” is not the end to a means, either. You can still cater to the creative part of you and keep it real while still making a few extra bucks on the side with something like selling stock images. Don’t let “not making a living” at photography ruin your dream of simply being a great photographer.

So that’s it, five simple “myths” of photography but with a little twist compared to general blogs you see out there. photography is a craft and no matter how good you are, you can always do better. So, don’t let excuses and so-called myths affect your photography, just stay on the journey and see where it takes you.

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