Sunday, March 15, 2009

Top Ten Photography Myths

happy New Year!

1. The best times to photography is early morning and late evening.

False. Yes, these are exceptional times for photographing, but all daylight hours are good. It is a matter of planning of your shooting. Evenings and early mornings are great for landscape shots, but great shots can be made during other hours of the day. I usually take walks through the woods in mid day when the lighting is usually better because of the over head canopy blocks so much of the light. Later in the day and earlier lighting may be inadequate.

2. You should always shoot with the sun on the the side of your shot or behind you.

False. Sometimes shooting directly with the sun in front of you can make for some great shots. Silhouettes are best made this way. And sometimes you can catch the shimmering of light that causes a photograph to reach an ethereal quality.

3. Its best to shoot on cloudy or overcast days.

False. Any day is great for photography. It is always the ability of you to manage your shots with the light at hand. Cloudless blue skies with green landscape can make for very striking photographs. Wildlife photos with excellent detail can also be achieved on bright days. Light and shadows under trees can make for interesting compositions.

4. Its rainy or miserable outside and you think it is a bad day for photography.

False. Some of the best atmospheric shots can be made on days like this. Get your camera and go. And, just a thought; sometimes you might end up with very grainy photos and you might think of deleting them. Take a second look on your computer, some of these may turn out to be great shots after processing. The shot above was one someone would might delete because it was so grainy before processing.

5. I can't take great shots because I have a cheap camera.

False. Any camera can produce great shots. All cameras do have their particular limitations, but even with the cheapest point and cameras can produce some excellent photographs. Learn the limitations of your camera, or better yet learn the wonderful capabilities that each camera possesses. Some of my most published photos were taken with a cheap point and shoot. Even one that ended up in National Geographic.

6. Its important to have a collection of filters and polarizing lenses.

False. Many great photographs are taken without any filters at all. While polarizing filters and other filters may have their place, the first filter you should have is a UV filter to protect the lens itself. I personally like taking photographs through clear glass as much as possible.

7. My photograph is not good because a good photographer told me how bad it was.

False. While it is helpful to have have a critical appraisal of your photographs, always take criticism with a grain of salt. You decide if you like your photograph. Take criticism as a means of improvement. And, just a little secret when sometimes you do get some negativity, it can be a sign that your photograph may be really good. Some photos that I have negative comments on proved to be my most viewed photos. And without earnest criticism you will never improve.

8. I have a photographer that I admire I will never be able to take shots like him/her.

False. Be persistent and take lots of shots. Work hard on your composition, and post processing skills. Try to figure out how the photographer achieved his shots. Emulate his style and look carefully at the post processing. Sometimes the learning curve may be long, but you can reach the goal. And most importantly, it is up to you to develop your own style. Style is your fingerprint on the craft. By understanding others your own style will evolve.

9. My photographs look flat and uninteresting, I can't take a good photograph.

False. Sometimes simple adjustments to light and contrast can improve a photograph dramatically. As you develop more post processing skills, you will be able to tell what each photos needs. Sometimes the processing comes quick. Sometimes you may spend hours working on a single photograph. And remember, I make take a hundred pictures before I select one for processing. The biggest mistake I see other photographers making is that they will take one or a couple of photographs of one scene then leave. I tend to spend hours at one location finding the right nuance of light to make a photograph special.

10. I have already photographed that scene, I don't need to go back.

False. I find myself always returning to the scene of the crime. Above is one of my favorite places to photograph. I have photographed it in all seasons and in all manners of weather. I am always amazed that I can bring back something different. The photo above was taken in the middle of a rain storm. Just goes to show any time is great photography.

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