If you pick up a camera, you need to know some things about photography. You need to know how the camera works, and how to acquire the results you have in mind. Are you willing to take the effort to get it right the first time, or do you rely on repairing the errors?
Everyone can pick up a camera and make a snapshot. We all have done this during holidays or in our spare time. You don’t need to know a lot about photography to make nice digital memories that can be shared with friends, family, and on social media. When photography becomes more serious, it is best to take more effort in your work.
Perhaps you need to spend some money on a new lens, a flashgun, or you need a gimbal for steady film footage. Or do you prefer to work with the equipment you have, even if it isn’t the best choice? After all, if it doesn’t produce the best result, you can always correct the things that aren’t perfect in post-processing.
Or perhaps you don’t take enough time on location, to check if the photos you have are exactly the way you want. Is the image sharp at the right spot? Do you have enough depth of field? Is the exposure correct? Have you eliminated ugly shadows when using flash light? Did the flash go off? Or are you sure the errors can be corrected in post-processing? After all, we have Lightroom, Photoshop, and even Luminar to fix our mistakes.
Based on a True Story
I know a guy – I won’t say his name – who was asking the community if his real estate images were sharp enough. He posted a before and after image, after using software to enhance the sharpness. It turned out he was using a lens that was very soft when stopping down to f/11. On top of that, he had difficulties with the auto focus, resulting in images that weren’t acceptable. But he kept on using the lens because he didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a better lens.
I was surprised about two things. Why not use manual focus if the auto focus couldn’t be trusted, and why not check focus on location to be sure the images had an acceptable sharpness? But I was also surprised about the refusal to buy a lens that was more suitable for the job. It might cost a lot of money because most modern lenses are ridiculously expensive, but I am sure it would pay off in the end. Now he was spending a lot of time with different software packages to repair the images he had, and he kept on asking the community if the results he got were acceptable.
Based on Another True Story
I know a guy who is filming with his mirrorless camera. He is using a tripod with a leveler and a nice gimbal for his B-roll. But I noticed how he didn’t always balance his gimbal the way it should be done, resulting in some strange gimbal behavior.
There were moments he didn’t even use the gimbal while shooting B-roll, explaining he was using a high frame rate, and the warp-function of Adobe Premiere could correct any rough movements. I never discovered if he didn't use the gimbal because he found balancing too much work, or because he was convinced he could hold the camera steady enough with the help of the IBIS system.
One More True Story
I know another guy who shot a lot of business photo reports on location. He was carrying a big case filled with expensive lights, light modifiers, and light stands. He had the opportunity to shoot at wonderful and often unique locations.
When it was time to shoot the company employees, he rushed. He didn’t take enough time and care to set up the lights in the best way possible. Often he encountered too many shadows, or the balance between the existing light and the flash light wasn't perfect. On top of that, he didn’t take enough care to remove unwanted objects from the background. He thought it could be removed in post-processing, just like the errors in exposure.
Perhaps it was due to the pressure to perform, and the limited amount of available time. But it took a lot of time in post-processing to correct errors that might have taken just a few minutes to correct on location.
You might know this guy. It is me, back in the days when I started to shoot corporate employees and business photo reports. I had the right equipment, but I didn’t take enough time to produce the optimum result. And to be honest, sometimes I still catch myself doing it.
Are You One of These Three Guys?
It is very easy to fall for these traps. You might think your equipment is good enough for the job, and the results can be corrected in post-processing. Perhaps that is true, but just like the first true story it may consume a lot of time and energy to correct errors that could be avoided in the first place by choosing the best equipment for the job.
Perhaps you are just like the guy in the second true story, who wasn’t using the available equipment because it was too much work to set up. After all, cameras and software can correct al lot of things that might go wrong. Again, correcting there errors may take more time than spending a few minutes for setting up the equipment.
Or perhaps you are just like me, by using the available equipment not in the best way. The result is acceptable, but not perfect. Post-processing can correct most of the errors, but it is time consuming and less satisfying. Spending half an hour longer on the job could save hours of work correcting the errors.
It might be easy to save money, or save time on location, if you try to correct every error in post-processing. At first that may be no big problem, because when you are starting out, these things have to be learned. But when you find yourself correcting the same errors time and time again, invest some time or money to make your photography a lot easier. Don’t keep making the same mistake, for whatever reason.
Do you recognize yourself in one of these examples, or can you think of a few more? Perhaps even from your own experience. Please share it in the comments below.