There are no shortages of beginners guides to photography out there. But often many of these cite the common photography tips for beginners. Some of these tips have become like photography myths that are floating around on the internet. As a beginner, it can be difficult to decipher what you should follow and what you should ignore. So here are 6 common photography myths to avoid.
You need a great camera
I’m sure every photographer out there including me has given this advice to people. That “you don’t need a great camera to take great photos”. This is a slightly more complicated talking point. I often get asked, what is a good beginner camera for photography? Or what is the best camera for travel photography? The answer is always “what do you want to photograph and what do you want to achieve?
What I mean by this is that the best camera depends on what you are planning to shoot and subsequently what you want to do with your photos. For example, if you are just wanting to take photos for yourself to share on social media than a smartphone or an entry-level camera will be good enough.
But if are planning on printing your photos in large print sizes to hang on a wall, then smartphone photos will not be of a good enough quality. Or if you are planning on selling your photos, then a smartphone will severely limit places that can use the photo. Because of the small size of the image that smartphones produce they can only really ever be used online or small size prints. So if you are planning on selling your photos you will need an entry-level DSLR, mirrorless cameras or full-frame DSLR. Compact cameras or smartphones just won’t be good enough.
So as you can see it would be irresponsible to just say that any camera is good enough for photography. The best camera for photography beginners will vary depending on the factors mentioned above.
You can just use auto mode
This is another one photography myths that I have seen on the internet. Sure you can just use auto mode instead of manual camera settings. But what is the point of having a camera with manual settings if you don’t use it? The whole reason that manual settings exist is to give the photographer more control and to allow them more creativity. And while auto settings might seem like a safe bet, the camera can make some monumental errors.
For example, your camera might suddenly whack up your ISO to 6400 just so it can take a photo at the correct exposure. Or it might select a shallow depth of field when you are needing something longer. So instead of settling for the seemingly safe auto mode, try to learn the basics of manual settings. It might be difficult at the start, but in the long run, you will end up with far better photos.
Any tripod will do
For most photographers, their tripod is the single most important accessory. Some photos will not be possible without a tripod. So I always find it astonishing when I see people with expensive camera using a cheap and flimsy tripod. Besides the obvious risk of the camera falling because the tripod can’t support the camera, poor quality tripods can actually be detrimental to your photos.
A quality tripod can vibrate which will mean any long exposure shots you take might have some slight blurriness and appear soft. So if you do a lot of tripod photography, invest in the very best one that you can.
You can learn at home
There are so many ways to learn photography that you might feel you can become an expert without even lifting up a camera. From street photography tips to digital photography for beginners, there are thousands of YouTube videos, blogs (like this one), eBooks and online courses. Every single one of these can of course help and are a great way to learn the basics and even get information on things that you might struggle with. But even the best photography eBooks are no substitute for actually getting outside and practising with a camera.
You learn so much more about the exposure triangle (i.e. shutter speed, focal length, ISO) and even how your camera’s light meter works by simply taking lots of photos. It’s that age-old saying of “practice makes perfect”.
So, instead of buying the latest beginners photography course, just go outside with your camera and practice.
Editing is cheating
Some people seem to have a snobbish outlook when it comes to photo editing. It’s almost seen as cheating. I recently saw a comment on an Instagram post of someone’s photo that read “this isn’t photography, you’ve clearly boosted the colours. Would like to see what the RAW file was like”. Why? It doesn’t matter what the RAW file was like. Besides, a RAW file is exactly that, RAW – as in a digital negative.
Every photo will benefit from some level of editing whether it’s just straightening or removing dust. But if you want to edit your photos further don’t be discouraged to do so. That has always been part of photography. Even photographers such as Ansel Adams would tweak their photos when they were being developed. So whether you use Adobe Lightroom or Affinity photo, or any other photo editing software, don’t listen to the people who say you are cheating.
So there you have it, 5 photography myths to avoid when you are starting out on your photography journey.
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Kav Dadfar is a writer and photographer who has written over 500 articles on photography. He is also a judge on the Wanderlust Travel Photography of the Year competition and a speaker at camera clubs and events. He has years of experience shooting assignments with his images having been used by some of the biggest brands in the world.
This photography myths article is subject to copyright. Words and photos by Kav Dadfar (That Wild Idea) or otherwise recognized. Copying or reposting of photos or article elsewhere is strictly forbidden.