Unpopular Photography Opinions
I read an article on FStoppers the other day about unpopular photography opinions and found it very interesting. Unpopular opinions meaning sharing an opinion about something related to photography, videography, or the industry in general that, if shared publicly, might cause you to get some backlash from others in the industry. FStoppers asked 29 current industry professionals what their opinions were and I was surprised at how many I actually agreed with or at least had my own opinion on - I’ve listed them below. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to leave a comment. I think it’s always interesting to hear other industry peers’ opinions. You can find the original article here.
1. 99% of photography schools and degrees are a rip off. - I’m going to say I agree with this. Although I didn’t go to a photography school, I did study it as a concentration in college. I’ve talked about this before - I could probably count on one hand what I learned from the concentration. What I know about photography today is 95% from experience, growing and failing and growing some more. If you’re considering attending a photography school, my advice would be to not waste your money. Instead, if you want to learn something specific and still get a hands on experience, take a course at a community college. If you don’t feel that you need a hands on experience, there are outlets all over the internet with videos detailing everything from the basics to special lighting techniques.
5. Most photographers call it "fashion" when the subject is wearing clothes. Any clothes. - I laughed out lout when I read this because it’s very true. Technically, all fashion is is anything that is currently popular/on trend. However, in my opinion for an image to be considered to be apart of fashion photography, it needs to have been apart of a high end fashion editorial shoot.
6. Doing well on social media doesn't mean you're a good photographer. - 1000% true. The industry puts so much weight on social media presence. For some people it works, for others it doesn’t. If you find that it’s not working for you, move on to a new idea. You can be successful without thousands of Instagram followers and it doesn’t mean you’re not a good photographer.
9. Just because it's bright and shot at f/1.4 doesn't make it a good picture. - Agree. So many factors go into creating a good image, not just aperture.
10. If you want to be an environmental landscape photographer you ought to use your bicycle more than the plane or car. - I’m not an environmental landscape photographer but I agree with this. What better way to capture the environment around you that to explore it as closely as possible.
11. Hair and make-up is not something to cheap out on. - I think anyone who’s ever worked on styled shoot would agree with this.
12. Photojournalism isn't the greatest form of photography known to mankind and doesn't deserve to win the majority of prestigious photography awards. - I disagree. In my opinion, photojournalism is the core of photography. Whether the images are telling a story of war, love, or everyday life, the knowledge and stories they provide are priceless and deserve awards.
15. If you have "photo", "photographer", or "photography" in your social media handle or in your domain then I instantly think you're less of a photographer or lack the imagination to come up with a better name. - 1000% disagree.
16. Photoshop is the most valuable talent of a modern photographer. - I think this depends on the type of photography you work on. If it’s studio/fashion work, then yes. If it’s weddings, photojournalism, landscape, etc. then no.
17. If you can't create consistently high quality work, you're not a good photographer. - I don’t 100% disagree with this. This is something I struggled with - and still struggle with. It’s a harsh reality but I do think it rings true to a certain extent. You can take good photos but if your work is not consistent, then you probably don’t understand how all of the elements (light, composition, depth of field, emotion, etc.) that went into making those good images work together. I think a lot of my anxiety and stress while photographing weddings came from doubt of whether or not I’d be able to deliver what my client’s wanted and saw on my website. The photos you display are always the best of the best which is fine. However, if those images are your ONLY good images, that’s a problem. Inconsistency in your work can make or break your confidence which can result in a disservice to yourself and to your clients.
19. A pro photographer is about making money. Being a "pro" is not directly related to talent, but to business and commercial skills. - Agree.
21. Claiming to be a natural light only photographer is almost always just a cover for being unwilling or unable to work with artificial light. - Disagree. I think that natural light photographers are able to capture the beauty of the reality in front of them without using any other tools. This is incredibly convenient because you don’t have to carry any additional equipment and allows you to move freely - specifically on a wedding day. Of course it’s important to understand OCF’s in the event where unforeseen circumstances occur, but to claim that a natural light photographer is covering up for being unable and unwilling to work with artificial light is a ridiculous claim.
23. Shooting IG "influencers" who have a ton of followers for exposure is a waste of time because their audience couldn't care less about the photographer and is never your target market. - Been there, done that and 100% agree.
25. Work should only be judged on the quality of the final image. The process is a means to an end but using an artificially difficult process to produce a sub-par image doesn't make you better. - Agree.