No, a photo editing program can’t do everything for you.
Photography is a fantastic hobby to have, and it can provide a much-needed creative outlet when times are tough. And for some people, it's a prosperous and fulfilling career.
As humans, we've taken pictures for centuries. However, being an excellent photographer has never been as accessible as it is today. Unsurprisingly, many people have felt empowered to hone their skills and express themselves through imagery.
When you look for photography advice online, you'll notice that you're bombarded with a lot of contradicting information. So, we thought that now would be a good time to put some of the biggest myths to bed.
A quick search on YouTube will reveal countless videos about the best lenses for street photography, taking unique portraits, and so on. When you're just getting started and don't know what you want to specialize in, it's easy to think that you need one of each.
However, this is far from the case. First of all, lenses are often expensive; adding to your kit is something you do over time. Secondly, your photos won't improve unless you know how to use your camera.
Whether you're buying your first prime lens or adding a zoom lens to your collection, you probably need to experiment a little with a kit lens to see what you do and don't like. By doing that, you'll make a smarter decision when the time comes to upgrade.
At some point, you'll probably encounter a camera bag with multiple compartments when searching for gear online. And on some occasions, you might notice your favorite YouTuber changing between one or more lenses while they're out on a shoot.
When you see these, it's easy to think that you have to take two, three, or even more lenses out with you every time you take pictures. But as anyone who's done this will testify, changing between them on your camera gets annoying—fast.
Another problem with taking a lot of lenses out on one shoot is that you'll constantly worry about focal length rather than getting the shot you want. Moreover, you could miss that perfect moment because you were too busy changing your lenses.
When you take photos, pick one that you think is the best for your goals on that shoot. If you don't get the picture you want because you didn't have another lens, learn from that and go out again some other time.
Spoiler alert: yes, it does. Your camera might see the composition you saw, but that's not always the case with lighting and colors. If you've ever taken a picture you thought was jaw-dropping, only to find that it looks nowhere near as good in the camera, you'll know what we mean.
Your lens can also determine how your photo looks. For example, some focal lengths might make a person's face look wider or narrower.
The settings you use can determine how accurate a picture is, too. If your ISO is too low, for example, your image will look darker than the scene was in front of you. When out taking pictures, remember that you can manipulate your camera to get the results you want.
If you want to get started with photography, it can feel disheartening to see people walking around with equipment worth thousands of dollars—especially if you don't have a big budget. Many people refuse to get started because they think what they've got is not good enough, meaning that the world misses out on seeing their art.
When you're at the start of your photography journey, the camera you have doesn't matter. Most smartphone cameras can take amazing shots, and you've always got one on you—so it makes sense to begin with that.
Telling a story is just as important as the quality of your pictures. Start with your phone or the DSLR you've got in your garage, and slowly upgrade your gear when you know what you want.
Okay, so this is a paradox considering what we just said.
When you're getting started with photography, your gear doesn't matter—likewise, if you're not interested in anything more than capturing moments on your phone. But if you want to take things further and make a career out of taking photos, your gear will become essential at some stage.
The pricier cameras cost more for a reason. They take clear pictures, give you more options, and make your job easier. Don't worry if you can't afford more expensive gear for now, though; start with what you've got and put together a long-term saving plan.
People will often tell you that photography isn't a real skill from a place of jealousy. Sometimes, though, it's with good intentions—think about the parents who were worried that their child wouldn't make it in the creative field, so pushed them to pursue law at university.
Like becoming a lawyer or doctor, becoming a top-level photographer takes a lot of work. You can't get good at it without, well, picking up skills. You need to learn about capturing the right moment, along with lighting, color theories, and much more.
You'll almost certainly hear this several times if you're looking to take your photography to a level where you can earn money from it. However, remember that these are just opinions; anyone who's put an ounce of effort into photography will know how difficult it is.
A common misconception is that you can fix everything in a bad picture by using editing software like Lightroom, Capture One, or Photoshop. Yes, you can change a lot, but your camera's settings when you take the picture will dictate just as much.
Let's say that you took a photo that's too dark. While you can increase the exposure, you might also find unwanted grain. Similarly, you can sharpen blurry images—but it's challenging to make it look like you originally intended when you pressed the button.
The more you get right when you take the photo, the easier it'll be to make tweaks in the post-production phase.
When you look from the outside in, it's easy to dismiss photography as nothing more than pointing a camera at something and hoping for the best. But in reality, taking photos is a craft that takes years of consistency to become great at.
The best way to find out what is and isn't true about photography is to go out and take pictures yourself. Over time, you'll be able to sift through the noise and make your own decisions.
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Danny is a freelance writer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Besides writing about Apple products and more, he’s also an editor at MUO.
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No, a photo editing program can’t do everything for you.