Social media is the place for photographers to show their work and discuss photography. It is great looking at those photos, but there are also some things that keep annoying me. I have identified 5 things photographers should stop doing.
Photography is a wonderful hobby or profession. But if you look at social media, there are a couple of things that many photographers are doing that don’t make a lot of sense. Why it happens, I don’t know. Is it the insecurity the photographer is feeling about his or her work? Is it a cry for attention? Or is it something else? I shouldn’t make such a fuss about it, I know. But sometimes I wish photographers would stop doing the next five things.
1. Attack Other Camera Brands and Their Users
You probably would have guessed this point would come up. I already wrote an article about this a long time ago, but it surprises me again and again how fierce some photographers react when it comes down to camera brands. The moment someone is criticizing "their" brand they go nuts. Sometimes it actually turns into cursing and threats, even on a personal level.
These individuals also burn down other brands the moment they release a new camera. Even before actual results are seen or reviews have been done. The funny thing is, they probably haven’t used or even touched the other camera at all.
It’s okay to be a fan of your camera brand. But the moment you’re past that thin line, you’re not a fan anymore. You have become a fanatic.
2. Presenting Test Photos of Your New Lens
You saved a lot of money to buy that one special lens. After many months you finally have it in possession. You can’t wait to place it on your camera, to start photographing, and to see the first results. And then it happens, the first images are placed online with the remark: "my first test shots".
Everyone is free to place any image you like online. But if you’re a photographer who is proud of his or her images, why are you placing those first images online? Often these images are quick shots somewhere nearby.
It is very normal to take the first images as soon as you have the lens. I would advise everyone to do so. But don’t place the first meaningless photos online, especially with the phrase “test shots”. Make those images for yourself, not for everyone else. Unless you have made a truly remarkable image the first time using it. My advice is just to use the lens, test if it's okay, and then only show the images that are worth it.
3. Presenting Photos That are Too Similar
Enough about equipment. The next thing I wish photographers would stop doing is presenting a series of photos that are almost too similar. Why not choose the best one and only present that?
Most photographers take a lot of photos. That’s understandable for many reasons. The subject could be very photogenic or beautiful, for example. The moment can also be so attractive you can’t stop photographing. Playing with compositions is another great thing to do on-site. Or perhaps you're choosing different focal lengths, depth of field, or perspective. You will shoot a dozen photos before you even realize it. Just don’t show all those photos to your audience.
Sometimes I see three, four, or up to ten photos next to each other with almost no differences at all. Well, there are differences, but these are minute variations of the same photo. For the audience, it probably feels like the same image over and over again.
Remember, a series of photos is only as good as its worst photo. By neglecting to show only the best, your series will become mediocre. Only if you have a completely different approach to the subject it is okay to show these together.
4. Asking Which One Is the Best, Color or Black and White
Some photographers consider black and white to be the last resort for a color photo that is not to their liking. They often think a bad color photo can be a good black and white image. They expect it to become something artistic by pressing the desaturate button. Truth is, the only thing they do is remove the color.
Some photographers will present their photo both in color and in black and white next to each other with the question of which one is the best. I wonder, are these photographers so insecure they have to ask their audience how they should present their photo?
First of all, you as a photographer should make a decision about that. How you want to present your photo has to be your choice. You are the maker, the artist. You should decide how your work is seen. Not your audience.
The second problem with these photos is often the way this black and white photo is produced. Just pushing a desaturate button or black and white button is not enough. Your black and white photo should get much more attention in post-processing. Contrast, light, dark, and the overall luminance of different colors should be looked at. Just removing color is not a black and white photo, it’s just desaturated.
5. Claiming You Must Use Manual Mode
Some photographers think the manual exposure setting is the only way of being serious about photography. They believe it gives full control over the exposure, something an automatic setting can't provide. If you don't use manual, they say, you're not using the equipment in a professional way.
Of course, in manual you can dial in any setting you like; aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. But that full control doesn’t lead to a good exposure. The light measurement reading on your camera is telling you what setting is needed.
You choose an ISO setting to your liking and an aperture depending on the amount of depth of field you want. With these two settings, you haven’t got any control over shutter speed if you want a good exposure. The shutter speed is given to you by the light meter in your camera. If you deviate from this measurement, your exposure won’t be correct.
Manual exposure setting is just that. You have to set your ISO, aperture, and shutter speed manually according to the light measurement. But instead of dialing in these settings manually, you can also leave it up to the camera to set the correct exposure automatically. The end result is exactly the same.
But wait. What if the light meter isn’t giving the correct exposure? In that case, manual settings allow you to deviate from that advised setting. You have full control. For the automatic exposure mode, there is the exposure correction dial. This way you also have full exposure control.
In other words, manual doesn’t give you more control. It’s just dialing in every setting manually. Or you can leave it up to the camera to some degree. It is not about having full control over the exposure, it's nothing more than a preferred way of using exposure settings. That’s all. Just use the way you like the most. If that’s a manual exposure setting, that’s okay. If you prefer an automatic exposure setting, that’s okay also.
What Do You Wish Photographers Should Stop Saying?
These are my five things that I wish photographers should stop saying. Undoubtedly there are more. Who knows, perhaps you find my article about this subject ridiculous. That’s okay, I don’t mind.
Do you have a thing that you think photographers should stop saying or doing? Please share it in the comments below.