Debunking Common Photography Myths: Are There Any You Still Believe?

One of the things I love about the photography industry is that there's no shortage of myths and folklore. You'll probably hear a bunch of different myths and claims as you develop your career and I have to say it's a lot of fun. 

In a recent video from two of my favorite photographers and YouTubers, Tony and Chelsea Northrup; they discuss some of the many myths that photographers still believe. Most of the time the myths that we believe tend to be rooted in something real or something that was once true. For example, many photographers still use UV filters which is honestly beyond me. There's a very good chance that no lens has ever actually been protected from impact damage by any UV filter in the history of photography. Also if you shoot with a digital camera then UV filters offer virtually no improvement to your images. Personally, the myth that I believed for a long time was that you should never delete images in-camera. This is quite obviously not true and something we can ignore. 

Check out the full video linked above. Also, are there any particular myths that you used to believe? Are there any myths that even though you no longer believe, you still have trouble letting go of? 

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Jonathon Rusnak's picture

Believing these two are a credible source of information is a myth.


You beat me to the punch.

Usman Dawood's picture

And what makes you so credible?

Will Murray's picture

Another person's credibility or lack thereof is in no way an indicator of my own...

Usman Dawood's picture

It’s always easy to point fingers. Anyone can sit behind a keyboard and talk about how other people are such and such.

Will Murray's picture

That does not make me incorrect.

Terry Waggoner's picture

"It’s always easy to point fingers. Anyone can sit behind a keyboard and talk about how other people are such and such"...........and some people do it in front of a video camera and post it on youtube...........

He isn't the one presenting pseudo scientific information, so his credibility is irrelevant.

michaeljin's picture

That's pretty harsh.

Thomas H's picture

Ah... Tony at it again. The "only" truth teller, The Discloser of Lies, Myths and Legends.

Regarding Usmans comment about UV filters, read this:
Many years ago I dropped the soft case with Canon 100-400 L IS in Papeete. Filter got bend, cracked and slid into the thread of the lens, which was made of a harder material, as it should be. When we returned to Honolulu I gave the lens to a shop, to remove the filter, what they did. Lens seemed fine, and I used it for several more years. With another "not-needed" UV filter of course. However once home, I sent it in to Canon for a checkup. They said: no damages, they merely did the std. maintenance, whatever that was.

They have put out too much BS. I don't watch their BS videos.

Since the ISO story my new maxim is, "If Chelsea & Tony say so, it means it must be wrong". They are far too approximate (they confuse diffuse light, soften light), which is not condemnable but there are already too many people who say crap on the net

Ansel Spear's picture

Really? This is all a load of spurious nonsense.. And they need a whopping 30 minutes to espouse these ridiculous non myths.

Click bait for ad revenue.

I never thought twice about deleting images from the camera until I had a one on one CPS training session and the instructor told me it was better not to. He said it was something to do with the image numbering, I don’t remember exactly how he described it. He said if you need room go ahead and delete but it’s always better to wait until you have downloaded to hard drive so that’s what I have done since.

Jonathon Rusnak's picture

Wasting your time faffing about on your camera deleting images is ridiculous. And if there is even the slightest chance it will corrupt the data then just avoid doing it. Simple.

I usually use a polarizer filter vs staight UV but occasionally I HAVE had a mishap that resulted in damage to the filter glass. To me that was always the primary reason for a UV filter anyway: lens protection! I mean, sacrifice a $75 filter over a $750 lens? Yeah, I think that makes sense.

Certainty never heard the "don't delete in camera thing" though. I almost always do a rough edit in camera in terms of obviously bad shots. In 15 years of various DSLR cameras it's never once been a problem. That said I do use Copy + Paste into my hard drive first once I'm home, and only do a full delete after I know it's all there on the drive.

michaeljin's picture

I don't keep a filter on my lens to protect it from impact. I keep it on to protect it from sand and other grit that blows in the wind. It's also a requirement to complete the weathersealing on certain lenses so there's that reason, too.

Ryan Cooper's picture

That's a fair point that only applies to an extremely tiny percent of photographers who are regularly shooting in aggressive conditions. (and the video does mention that situation)

Re: filters protecting lenses-I have had more than one lens (a Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 was saved twice!) by a UV filter-both from impact and from blowing sand, and in one case, sticky and gooey filling from a cherry I think I will keep them screwed on the front of my lenses.

Usman Dawood's picture

UV filter manufacturers explicitly state that their filters are not designed to protect against impact damage.

That thin piece of glass protected against nothing and the impact which wouldn’t have damaged your lens broke your filter making you think your lens was protected.

Jonathon Rusnak's picture

"There's a very good chance that no lens has ever actually been protected from impact damage by any UV filter in the history of photography."

Really? Here is one

The simple fact that I never have to clean the front element of any lens I own is enough of a gain for me to put a high quality UV filter on them. It Works wonders on my macro lens. Getting in close in tall grass or branches the filter takes the bumps and moisture.

Usman Dawood's picture

That’s not impact damage though is it?

Ryan Cooper's picture

(Also, to be fair, you have to clean your front element just like everyone else, you are just making a UV filter your front element. It doesn't make cleaning any easier or harder)

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