7 Photo Myths, Disproved
Good artists learn the rules. Great artists break them.* Well, break them with intention that is. “Do NOT tilt the horizon line” or “Stay away from selective colour” are words from lecturers I’ll never stop hearing. Until however, I’d stumbled upon another artist breaking those rules. In front of God and everybody. And the shot was brilliant. Not because the rules were wrong, but because those artists broke the rules cleverly, with intention.
The real dilemma is, how do we know when to follow the tried and tested rules and when to break them? But whilst looking over some of these rules I discovered a few that aren’t even true to begin with. You might be familiar with some of them already - In case you aren’t, browse the headlines for the 7 myths we’re about to axe:
1. “ If I Had A More Expensive Camera, I Would Take Better Shots. ”
I was taught the basics as a kid by my uncle, who is also a photographer. He told me once that a great photographer can take a great shot on a cellphone. At the time he had an entry-level phone camera so this was really saying something. But the moral of the story is that a photographer has an innate desire to document or create with imagery - And they will do this any way possible. It’s the vision and dedication you need to be equipped with to produce results, and being driven to learn and develop your skills constantly to take better shots. Expensive equipment might give you that extra bit of sharpness and image quality, but the real value of an image goes far beyond megapixels. Having said that, when you’ve reached a stage where clients are paying you well for images they might print on a large scale or for shooting moments in various lighting scenarios, ensuring you have the equipment for the job is essential - Not to make your shots better, but to better serve their intended purpose
2. “ The Sun Must Always Be Behind The Photographer. ”
It’s a common misconception that I’ve heard clients mention. That if the photographer is shooting into the sun they obviously don’t know what they’re doing. As it turns out - They do! When your subject is facing into the sun, you are more likely to get squinting eyes and scrunched faces. But more importantly, having the sun behind the subject creates a gorgeous hair-light and a far softer, diffused light on their faces. All you need to do is push your exposure up a few stops. You can control your lighting even more by using a reflector or flash to add a bit of extra fill-light to their faces and transform average shots into crackers. There are times when I’m shooting a dramatic shot where I do have my subject face into the sun - but I’ll probably have them lift their chin and cast their eyes way down to avoid squinting.
3. " Wedding Photographers Only Work On The Wedding Day. ”
Oh how I wish this were true. For wedding photographers, their week days are generally spent doing any manner of tasks from attending meetings, doing admin work, designing albums, delivering flash drives, managing social media and of course - editing! Just editing alone takes longer than the actual wedding. I know, right? But we’ll talk more on this in a bit. Weekends are spent shooting weddings, and other shoots are scheduled for any gaps during the week #alwaystired - This gives us some insight into their pricing formula - Not only do they need to charge for time on your wedding day, but they also have to take into consideration the overheads from those behind-the-scenes tasks.
4. " If My Work Is Good, I Will Book Up. ”
Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool, but it requires more than just great work to happen for you. You have to make a really strong impression on someone for them to talk to others about your business. So every interaction you have with them matters, and the more the better. Okay, let’s explain ourselves properly here: Your work is the product you’re selling - It’s important that the quality is good. But if people aren’t aware that your product exists or don’t trust your brand, it will be difficult for them to give you their hard-earned money for it, or promote you to others. From experience with our own business, the single-most successful marketing tip I can give you is this - Establish a real connection with the person you’re selling to. In the past, clients have picked us over equally-matched photographers because they said they felt more ‘comfortable’ with us. I even find myself doing this when I hire somebody myself. The main take-away here is this: People value human connection more than product quality. Be genuine, and a dope person. And use this insight to fuel your marketing approach and the way your business engages with people. Create awareness, build trust and ultimately - Generate more bookings. And yeah, keep up that good work too!
#TooLongDidntRead : Be dope. Marketing is important.
5. " Everything Can Be Fixed Later in Photoshop. ”
Yes. Photoshop can fix many things. But if you want the best results - make sure you’re starting with the best RAW images you can get, and then a good edit. There’ve been times on a wedding day when I’ve been too exhausted to move something out of my background and thought - “I’ll just Photoshop that later.” And then later comes... And we’re spending hours and hours of extra editing time on something that could’ve taken me two minutes to avoid. Two! Eliminating unnecessary editing is essential - But more importantly, the idea that everything can be fixed later makes us lazy shooters. Moments that didn’t happen cannot be re-created later.* For me, the photograph is the whole art piece, editing is just the icing on the cake.
6. " The More Megapixels - The Better. ”
A single megapixel is equivalent to 1 million pixels. The more pixels there are in a camera, the more visual information it can record. This makes us think megapixels must be quintessential to image-quality - And they are, up until a certain point. Stay with me here - Light receptors or pixels are housed on the image sensor. The larger the image sensor, the larger those pixels are. Allowing them to capture more light, more information accurately, and ultimately a higher resolution than a smaller sensor with the same number of pixels. So the main point here is this: When you purchase your next camera, pay attention to the size of the image sensor before you worry about the number of megapixels. When you should take megapixels into account is when you’ll be blowing up your images for printing. Other than that, I’d say anything over 16 megapixels can do the job. Especially living in an age where images are viewed mostly on screens, which are optimised for only 72 pixels per inch. That explanation went on forever. I promise I’ll make the next point more interesting. Here we go! - #TooLongDidntRead :
Image Sensor Size = Important. Megapixel-count = Not as important.
7. " Editing is Quick. ”
Editing is decidedly not quick. Especially on weddings where large batches of images have to go through multiple processes. Each photographer will have their own way of doing things. For us, the first process is selecting which images make the cut. We do this using a program called Adobe Bridge. Blinks, mis-focusing and flash mis-fires all get axed. After that, the selected raw files get opened into Camera Raw, 100 shots at a time - We’re shooting with Nikon Z Mirrorless bodies so our files are ±40MB per image and the program can’t handle them all at once. Camera Raw is where basic exposure and colour adjustments happen. From there, the shots get opened into Photoshop where each one undergoes skin-retouching, and are finally exported to Jpegs to be sent to the client. This is the process for one set of 100 images. We deliver (on average) around 600 images per wedding. If you’re shooting ±2 weddings a weekend that editing can really pile up. We’re fortunate to have an excellent editor on our team, Mika, who's been with us for many years and does a consistently excellent job. I would definitely recommend hiring a Mika to help you with your editing when that pile gets too high to smash it on your own. So hopefully that gives you some insight into what’s happening with your stunning photos while you’re eagerly awaiting delivery.
#TooLongDidntRead : Editing takes forevs. We explain our process.
So there you are! The 7 photo myths you might’ve believed up until 5 minutes ago. Did you know a lot of them? You probably did, you’re so smart. And speaking of being smart - Here's some homework: Take a look at the rules you follow in your own art form and decide whether you want to keep ‘em or try something new. Trust your uniqueness, and decide what your success is going to look like. What does ours look like? Thanks for asking. Well... You. Reading all our stuff obviously.
Sources: “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist” Pablo Picasso - goodreads.com “7 photography myths exposed.” - digital_photography_school.com “For outdoor portraits aim your camera at the Sun!” - dgmag.com “14 common misconceptions about wedding photography”- fearlessphotographers.com “You can’t make up a moment that didn’t happen” Mauricio Arias - fearlessphotographers.com “Common photography and equipment misconceptions” - linandjirsa.com “What is a Megapixel?” - Lifewire.com “12 Unreasonable misconceptions even the best photography clients have. “Photoblog.com