Horrible Tip #1: Only take pictures when the light is perfect.
This also goes with the tip: you can only take beautiful pictures in a beautiful place. False! First of all, there is no such thing as “perfect” light. There are times when the light may be more suited for your picture, or easier to work with, but that does not make it perfect. If you have the skill, you can make an amazing picture out of just about any light. This also works for weather; you do not need perfect weather to take a perfect picture. Some of the best pictures have been in storms or other poor weather conditions.
You also do not need to be photographing the Eiffel Tower to get a beautiful picture. A place is just a place, “boring” or otherwise. What matters is what you do with the place. See the place from multiple perspectives, and capture that place in an interesting way. Even the most “exciting” places can be boring pictures, and the “boring” places can be the best pictures. What matters is what you do with the place you have.
Horrible Tip #2: You need to get an expensive camera to take great pictures.
Remember: it is not the camera that creates the picture; it is the photographer. It is still possible to take a poor picture even if you have the most expensive and “best” camera in the world, and yes, it is possible to take amazing picture with a small, inexpensive, point and shoot camera. Once your skills exceed the ability of your current camera, then it would be good to buy a more expensive one. The mistake is thinking that buying the more expensive camera is what will make you a good photographer. Use your camera to its full extent before you move on to another camera.
Horrible Tip #3: There is one perfect set of camera settings to make every picture perfect.
You see a picture from a professional photographer, and want to take the exact picture. The photographer shares the shutter speed, ISO, and f-stop they used, and you go to take the most amazing picture of your life. Guess what? It will not work. Even with the exact settings, it will not help your photo. Unless you have the exact light settings and other conditions, it will not turn out the same.
There is no perfect or correct setting for your camera. It all depends on what you are photographing, the conditions around the subject, and your preferences. What I think is perfect you may think looks horrible. The only time there is a perfect exposure is if you have an exact and firm vision of what you want your picture to look like. But that is between you and your camera. It does not need to be perfect for anyone else.
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Horrible Tip #4: If your pictures are not “pro” quality, you should find a new hobby.
“Photography is too difficult” is a phrase you should never say! Many people look at pictures and say, “Hey I could do that,” and then they start taking pictures and realize how much actually goes into taking a picture, then give up when their starting pictures do not look like Ansel Adams’ photos.
Take photography one step at a time. Learn basic skills, simple tricks, then once you have mastered those, move on to more challenging skills. Of course you will not be a professional photographer on the first try, but be patient. Learn one trick at a time, and soon you could be.
Horrible Tip #5: Do not use Photoshop. If you do, you are not a real photographer.
Many people argue that photos should represent reality, and editing your pictures distorts reality. Now that is just silly. “Reality” takes in so much more than the picture: the area around the picture, the weather, the circumstances, and who you were with. You manipulate reality in choosing where to snap a picture, and how. You chose what part of reality to show, and that in itself creates something that is no longer “reality.”
Editing photos did not begin with Photoshop; many people were very good at editing photos in the darkroom. Ansel Adams was a master at this and manipulated his pictures like crazy. There are some people who have given Photoshop a bad name, but just about every single photographer edits their photos to some degree. When used artistically and tastefully, editing your photos can be used to present your version of reality to the world for all to enjoy.
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