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Many people believe in myths about Photography. Whether that’s believing that you need a Degree to do Photography or that you need the latest gear to take decent photos, limiting yourself to these misconceptions can stifle your growth as a photographer. That is why it is important that you challenge these beliefs as soon as possible so that you can grow and develop quickly within your Photography Journey and take your skills to the next level! Believing in a photography myth can limit your potential as a photographer!
- Myth 1: Photography is Easy
- Myth 2: You need a Degree to shoot great pictures
- Myth 3: Photography is too expensive to get into
- Myth 4: DSLR Cameras are only for the Professionals
- Myth 5: The Camera Body is more important than the lens
- Myth 6: Great Photographers are born artists
- Myth 7: It is difficult to master editing software and Lightroom and Photoshop are expensive
- Myth 8: Canon is better than Nikon and Nikon is better than Canon
- Myth 9: You need so much extra gear apart from the Camera and that is expensive
- Myth 10: Never shoot in bad lighting
- And now it’s over to you…
Myth 1: Photography is Easy
You may initially think photography is easy. All you have to do is pick up a camera and push a few buttons, surely? Well, not quite! Before you press the shutter button, you have to think about a lot of things such as:
- Have I got the exposure correct?
- Am I shooting in the right file format? (RAW is the best format to shoot in for Post-Processing your images through Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom)
- Is my horizon line straight?
- Am I using the right lens/focal length?
However, the good news is that you will remember a lot of rules over time and toggling key settings such as the Shutter Speed or Aperture will soon become second nature to you! With practice and consistency, you’ll soon be able to nail the basics whenever you next pick up your camera!
But with most things in life, nothing is easy, and Photography is the same, too! Just keep practicing and you’ll get there! After all, practice makes perfect!
Myth 2: You need a Degree to shoot great pictures
Sure, a degree in Fine Art or Photography may give you a head-start, particularly in being able to research and understand a photographer and their work, but if you’re looking to get started right away, it does not require you to rack up thousands and thousands in tuition fees or course fees. Nor does learning photography require you to commit the next 3 to 4 years of your life studying!
There are tons of Youtube Videos and articles online teaching you the basics and there are numerous courses that cost you far less than a degree which can help you to master a certain skill within photography such as night photography or editing your shots in Lightroom.
Some of the best Photographers and websites to take a look at are:
- Peter McKinnon (He has amassed over 5 MILLION subscribers and has videos on everything from gear, Lightroom editing, camera lenses and tutorials for beginners such as getting of the auto mode and shooting from different angles)
- 7th Era (Liam is another popular Photographer on Youtube based on Australia and he focuses mainly on Night Photography and Urban Photography so if that is right up your street, check him out)
- iPhone Photography School (This handy website is great for taking photos with the one object that is always by your side… yes, your phone. Site Founder Emil Pakarklis teaches you everything you need to know from how to hold your phone the right way to shooting in different angles and even advanced topics like HDR and making the most of the Telephoto and Ultrawide lenses on the newer iPhones! If you’re looking to take your mobile photography to the next level, this website has it all)
All in all, you can get started right now and unlike a degree, you can learn this from the comfort of your own home. But however you decide to learn, you certainly do not need an expensive and time-consuming degree to take shots just like the pros!
Myth 3: Photography is too expensive to get into
Many people have the misconception that you need an expensive camera going into the thousands and you need to couple that with a potentially even more expensive lens. But this is far from the truth. DSLR prices are going down all of the time and now you can pick yourself up a great used DSLR camera from a few years ago or even a new budget DSLR for under £500.
These low prices even include a kit lens so you can get snapping some great shots from right out of the box. A kit lens typically covers a focal length range of 18-55mm and this will allow you to take shots in a variety of conditions and scenes.
You can use this lens to take wide-angle shots, portrait shots of your friends and family or even of your pets, architectural photography of local landmarks such as churches or small shops in your town centre.
2 Budget Cameras that are great to get started with
The 2 main companies that sell DSLR cameras within this price range are Canon and Nikon. Both are great companies overall regardless of what photography you intend to shoot and both offer budget camera options for brand new such as:
- Canon 4000D (This is the cheapest new Camera and as such, it contains the bare bones and omits many features you may have become accustomed to with a phone such as a touchscreen or a connectivity options such as Wifi/GPS or NFC. But if you are looking for a great beginner camera to kickstart your DSLR photography journey, then this may be a camera for you to consider)
- Nikon D3500 (This model is arguably much better than Canon’s counterpart, featuring a more detailed 24MP sensor, an 11-Point autofocus system for much faster autofocus and the ability to take around 1,550 shots on a single battery charge. You may want to consider this camera if you want to print your photos in the future or you want to take more detailed shots as this model features a larger 24MP sensor compared to the 18MP sensor on the Canon 4000D)
But whatever camera you choose, you will be impressed with the pictures you take as they are substantially higher quality than the pictures a smartphone could take, particularly if you want to shoot pictures at night or in low-light conditions. If you have a few hundred quid to spare, you can definitely pick up up a great camera today and get started now.
Myth 4: DSLR Cameras are only for the Professionals
So picture this! You’ve just received your fancy new camera in the post and you are eager to pick it up. But when you turn the Camera on, you have no idea where to start:
- What is the Shutter Speed?
- What is RAW?
- How do I zoom in?
This is basically a worst-case scenario and this could be putting you off from taking the plunge and buying yourself a new camera. Well, fear not! Most budget and mid-range come with a host of features to help you both ease in to your new camera and how to use all of the toggles and also learn a few photography fundamentals that will serve you well in the future regardless of what camera you use!
One example of this is the shooting modes that can be controlled by a little circle dial by the top left or right of your camera. Some of these modes include:
- Full auto mode: This mode is fully automatic and, like the name says, all of the settings are selected for you based on what the sensor sees and what the camera believes will get you the best result. This is an excellent mode to get started with. It will allow you to play around with your new camera without initially worrying about settings. But after a while, the mode can be limiting and the lack of control can lead to issues such as grainy photos if the ISO selected is high or a lack of depth of field if the Aperture is too narrow
- Portrait Mode: This mode is ideal for taking pictures of humans. This mode tells the camera to assume there is a human subject in the image and as such it will select a variety of options that lead to a shallow depth of field. Flash will be triggered to fill in the shadows if the camera reads the scene as being too dark
- Landscape Mode: This mode will use a small aperture setting to give you a deep depth of field and to keep everything in focus. The flash will be triggered if the camera sensor and processing deems it necessary
- Sports Mode: This mode is ideal for shooting images where the action needs to be captured very quickly. Typically a shutter speed in the range of 1/500 – 1/1000 second will be used in order to successfully freeze the motion
- Manual Mode: This is the mode you will NEED to master to truly take awesome photos. This is the mode where everything is up to you. You have complete control over your ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture, among some extra settings depending on your exact camera model. You can also choose to leave some settings at full auto within this mode if you wish. For example, if you wish to shoot street photography, you could set the ISO to 100 to ensure your photos have the least noise and grain and leave the aperture and shutter speed to decide for themselves.
Once you take some time to master these key settings, everything else will naturally fall in place for you and you’ll soon be learning how to bracket exposures, how to use these settings to create certain artistic effects and even more.
Myth 5: The Camera Body is more important than the lens
Yes, believe it or not, the glass on your camera matters more than the actual camera model itself.
Camera bodies will come and go and large companies like Sony, Canon and Nikon will release fancy new camera bodies every new year. But lenses are here to stay.
A high-quality, expensive lens that is well-constructed will be here for years to come and will last you through many different cameras.
As long as you look after the glass on your lens and do your best to prevent scratches from occurring, you should have no problem getting beautiful, detailed shots filled with Bokeh and sharpness for years and decades to come.
So do yourself a favour and if you are considering upgrading your body, try buying a few lenses instead! It will save you a lot of hassle and may even be cheaper in the long and short term.
After all, an average lens and great body will produce far worse pictures than a budget camera body and an excellent lens. So if you are currently a little disappointed by the images your cheap kit lens is giving you, try buying a better lens instead of throwing out your camera body first.
A good start could be a 50mm lens which is great for bokeh shots and can be found new or used online for less than £100.
Myth 6: Great Photographers are born artists
Anybody can develop an eye and talent for spotting good photo opportunities and shooting awesome pictures! Nobody is ‘born’ with the ability to instantly start taking professional-looking shots with their camera.
This is one photography myth that is stopping many great photographers from reaching their potential. Once you successfully challenge this belief, you can very quickly focus on developing the skills required to develop and eye for great photography.
You can start developing an ‘eye’ for good photos by paying attention to detail and your surroundings. Doing small actions on a regular basis when shooting such as taking pictures from different angles, different lighting conditions and at different focal lengths can all add up to make a difference and in no time you’ll be able to consistently shoot great photos packed with depth and detail.
It is through practice, reading and enjoying capturing photos that you develop these skills. Nobody can tell you how to do this, though they can certainly advise you. This is one of those things that you will have to learn for yourself and develop over time through practice, trial and error and hard work.
Myth 7: It is difficult to master editing software and Lightroom and Photoshop are expensive
Editing your photos is one key piece of the Photography Puzzle!
This is where you will have the most creative freedom and now you have nailed the basics and the technical stuff like leading lines and exposure, you can now really fine-tune the image to convey a certain message or to fit in with a certain aesthetic.
For example, you can tune the reds in a sunset image or add contrast to an urban shot.
But many people have the belief that it is hard to grasp an understanding of how to use this software and that it is expensive and unwieldy. Well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
How much do Lightroom and Photoshop cost then?
A basic Photoshop and Lightroom combined plan will typically cost you under £20 a month depending on where in the world you live. This will include some online storage to back up your photos and any RAW copies of your photos if necessary.
And as for learning, there are endless tutorials online and loads of Youtube videos from top photographers like Peter McKinnon which will get you editing your photos in no time.
You can even buy ‘Presents’ from some photographers if you are after a certain look and don’t want to edit your photos for yourself.
Just like taking the photos themselves all it takes is time, patience and practice to understand how to edit your photos and gain the look you are after.
Myth 8: Canon is better than Nikon and Nikon is better than Canon
If you have been keeping up to date with the news in the Photography world, you will be aware of this long rivalry. People are always talking about which one is the king of cameras and which company is best to buy from. The brutally honest answer? Neither of them.
You see, when starting out in photography and even as an intermediate or professional photographer, what matters most are the specs and the performance.
In all honesty both companies are great to buy from as a beginner and when looking for a camera, you will get an excellent experience from both companies.
Both supply great kit lenses, though Canon has a wider lineup of APS-C cameras which tend to be cheaper than their full-frame counterparts, so Canon could have a wider variety of cameras to choose from for you.
But overall, regardless of which company you go with you will get a great shooting experience and an awesome camera to get you started with taking some excellent photography of your own.
Myth 9: You need so much extra gear apart from the Camera and that is expensive
But now you have your camera, what about all of the other gear? You may be thinking about:
- Camera Bags: These are not essential but may be worth it after a little while and some are as cheap as around £30
- Extra Lenses: These are not required but after using a kit lens you should get a 50mm as soon as possible as you get better low-light performance and more bokeh
- Tripods: Again, not vital but could be useful for night photography or long-exposure shots. Decent tripods go upwards from about £30
All of this gear may even overwhelm you and distract you from your camera and your main aim which is to take photos. It is best to first master the basics with just the camera and the lens and then buy some of the above examples of gear once you think it is necessary.
Whatever you do though, do not fall into the trap of believing that you need fancy, expensive gear in order to take great shots! You do not, and all of the gear will come in handy once you specialise in certain photography or you wish to take your skills to the next level.
For example you may wish to buy a camera bag if you take multiple lenses with you on a shootout or a tripod if you are into landscape photography, but none of these are a must-have.
You can start taking great shots now with just the camera and the lens that it attached onto it.
Myth 10: Never shoot in bad lighting
Numerous times you will be told about good lighting and bad lighting. About how vital it is to master the light within your photos. And yes, while this is true to a certain extent, any lighting scenario can be used to an artistic advantage.
This is another photography myth that stops people from trying out new photo scenarios as they believe they are already DOOMED TO FAIL if they do not shoot in perfect lighting conditions such as the evening or sunrise.
If you are in a moody place at night with very few streetlights and no natural lighting, use that scenario as an opportunity to create a moody street photo or a monochrome portrait of somebody, as long as you can get enough contrast within the shot, either naturally or by adjusting your exposure.
Sometimes you may have small cube lights or a diffuser which can be used to add an additional source of light. You could use this to create a dramatic or a colourful image if the light is RGB, for example.
The point is, if you are in a ‘bad’ lighting scenario, try and use this as a positive and think of the shots that can be taken even with a lack of light within your scene.
As long as there is at least ONE SOURCE OF LIGHT within your shot, you can create a wide variety of amazing shots in almost any condition or scenario.
And now it’s over to you…
Is there a particular photography myth we missed out? Is there anything else you would like to ask us? Please feel free to join the discussion and add you thoughts in the comments below…
And if you wish, take a look at some of our other articles, too!