Whether you’re an amateur shutterbug or a semi-pro photographer, you probably have some strong ideas of what makes a photo (or a photographer) good.
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We break down some of the most common photography myths, from the “right” kind of light to the correct mode to shoot in.
Myth: A great camera makes a great photographer
A camera is just a tool; a photographer is her or her skills. Sure, if the technical limitations of a camera get in the way, that’s an issue. But it is the person who makes the photo a masterpiece, not her or her gear or camera. Masterpieces have been made on all sorts of cameras — cheap, expensive, film, digital, instant film, you name it!
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Myth: Only ‘good light’ creates good photos
You’ve heard of magic light, right? Those fleeting times when the “perfect” light exists. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only good light for shooting great photos. You can use the sharp contrast of the afternoon or dark skies — even the clouds — to shoot something interesting.
The key is to find a subject that looks its best under those lighting conditions. An orange bougainvillea looks amazingly different in bright sunlight versus under a cloudy sky. Both have their own beauty. A monument with carved motifs looks pretty different in the afternoon sun with all those contrasted shadows.
Myth: Pros only shoot in manual mode
Even pros rely on automatic settings when it makes sense. No one should shy away from using the perfectly balanced and thoughtfully crafted settings from their camera manufacturer. After all, they are made in consultation with pro photographers. Flip to manual as needed, but there’s no shame in using automatic settings.
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Myth: Pros only use full frame cameras
Full frame cameras are amazing, but they’re big and bulky. The camera you’ll use and carry around is the best camera. For some of us, our phones get the job done just fine.
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Myth: RAW is always better than JPEG
RAW files are uncompressed images — direct from your camera with no loss of quality or other alterations. Yes, shooting in RAW is ideal in some cases, but not always.
When you really do not want to touch up your photos, JPEG is the way to go. If you shoot RAW all day, you end up processing everything manually and that is time-consuming if you have a lot of photos. For everyday shooting, RAW isn’t the most practical choice.
Myth: A tripod is always needed for clean shots
Most pros use a faster shutter to get crisp shots. A tripod is not always necessary. In some cases, you’re better off using what’s around — rocks, tabletops and just the plain old ground — to rest the camera for some amazing macro or wide-angle shots. Image and lens stabilizing tech has made handheld shooting much easier.
Myth: High ISO is bad
ISO is a camera setting that brights or darkens your photos. The more the ISO number increases, the brighter your photos. But if that number gets too high, that can lead to grainy shots.
Sure, low ISO is clean and desirable. But sometimes, a “noisy” photo is better than no photo at all. Also, new technology has made possible crazy high ISO levels. With modern cameras, 1000 to5000 ISO today does not produce bad photos at all. This can be especially handy if you’re photographing wildlife you don’t want to scare. A high ISO gets a decent photo in dark conditions without disturbing the animal.
What do you think? Are any of these myths rules you shoot by?