1. You need a really expensive camera to take nice photos

You really don’t. Period.

Quality gear is great, but when I first started taking photos I used a little Canon Powershot A620. It’s a 7.1 MP point and shoot camera and I still keep it in my purse 24/7 to use it for quick shots or anytime I need a macro photo (until I get a macro lens for my DSLR, that is).

If you’re just getting started, a simple camera is more the adequate for learning about and capturing great photographs.

2. Everyone that takes nice photos MUST have a really expensive camera

(This is similar to point #1 but looking at it from another angle)

I think one of the things that irks me most is when people see my photos and say “Oh, wow, those are great photos – you must have a really nice camera! I should get the one you have”. I know it’s not meant as an insult and usually stems from just not knowing a lot about photography…but it’s still annoying.

A photographers merit isn’t held in WHAT equipment they have, it’s held in how they USE their equipment.

I’m still useing one of the cheapest beginner DSLR cameras (Canon EOS 350D) along with the cheapest lens you can get (Canon 50mm 1.8), yet people tend to assume from my pictures I have ultra expensive gear. I’ve simply learned the camera settings and how to make it do what it’s meant to (with a dash of talent and a pinch of good ol’ photoshop thrown in).

The truth is, you can have the newest decked-out camera available, but if you don’t know how to use it, you’re photos are still going to look mediocre. Learn to use (and master) the equipment you have.

3. You need TONS OF MEGAPIXELS

Unless you’re going to be making massively huge prints, anything between 6-8 pixels is really all you need (in fact, there are some people that think 6MP is the MAX you should have – http://6mpixel.org – but that’s debatable).

That simple 7.1 MP Canon A620 camera has been able to make crisp razor sharp prints up to 20×30 inches.

Here’s my husband showing off a few prints I’ve made from some photos he took with the A620 :


A photograph from our honeymoon visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC – 20×30 inches


Pier in Panama City, FL – 16×20 inches

4. Photoshop is cheating

This is a long debated subject, but the way I see it, photoshop is a tool, the same way a tripod or a flash is a tool.

I always edit at least a little something before displaying any photographs. Even just a little contrast and color saturation can greatly improve a photo.

Of course it’s best to do everything you can IN camera when taking the photo to make it as great as possible to start with, but to me, photoshop is the really fun part. Editing is when I get to make the photo look as close as possible to the final image I can picture in my head. A lot of times while working I’ll even discover a process and look that inspires a completely new project.

Whatever you choose to do, don’t feel guilty about post-processing. It’s all part of the journey to creating something beautiful.

5. You can’t take photos without asking

I’ve been:

– kicked out of a store
– told to delete photos
– threatened to have my camera confiscated
– given a LOT of dirty looks
– other things I’ve probably blocked from my mind

and all for taking a few photos. Usually to blog about something I experienced or discovered and simply wanted to share with friends.

And for every confrontation I’ve had, I have been in a public place, and if you are in a public place, you have every right to take photos of just about whatever you want (though common courtesy and good judgment always apply. A lot of times I’ll ask first out of courtesy, but you don’t actually have to).

There are a lot of iffy situations you can get into and common sense will usually help you decide what action to take, but it’s good to know your legal rights as a photogapher.

Here is a great 8 page PDF file about your rights:

Legal Rights of Photographers http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=20385560&access_key=key-2ju02ozw6mlx6t0al8wn&page=1&version=1&viewMode=

There’s also a nice online article here:

Photography and The Law: Know Your Rights

And a good book to read:

Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images by Bert Krages

And that wraps up this post. Hope it’s helpful 🙂

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