Hands up if you'e ever thought to yourself.....
"oh, well, that person shoots with a professional grade camera, that means I need to invest in gear to get good photos"
"Well, this photographer I met in the park only shoots in AUTO so I don't need to bother to learn manual mode"
"I can learn this all by searching Google - it knows everything" (😉)
Did you put your hand up? Yes? Well, don't worry, a few years ago I would have been right along with you!
That's why today we’re talking about all the myths that people believe about learning photography - and why you should ignore them!
Myth #1 - Pro photographers shoot in AV mode, so I don't need to learn manual mode
I know a few pro photographers who use AV mode when shooting (or another mode that allows the camera to balance the final exposure) but what I want you to know is that the vast majority of these will be able to shoot in manual mode, and for them, shooting in AV mode is simply a different way to getting to the same thing.
Here's the thing: when you have learnt how to shoot in manual mode, you don't need to shoot in that mode all the time.
You will switch to AV mode when it suits, but most importantly, because of your knowledge of how your camera works, you'll still know how to make the image turn out the way you want it to.
Remember, it's not so much about which mode you shoot in, but your knowledge of how the camera is going to react in each mode that's important.
Learning to shoot in manual mode (and I mean truly learning it, not just using it as a way to balance exposure as you would in any other mode!) is one of the best things you can do in your photography journey, even if you don't go on to shoot in it all the time!
You can learn about all the reasons why you NEED to learn manual mode right here.
Myth #2 - I would take better pictures if only I had a better camera
I know it's frustrating to look at other photographers who are creating amazing images, and see that they were taken with a top of the range DSLR and with the most expensive L lens to boot. You'd be totally forgiven if you think that you need that too.
Whilst it's true that quality equipment will give better quality images, it does NOT mean that you need an amazing camera to take great pictures. A pro photographer will be able to take amazing images with a entry-level DSLR or even an iPhone.
I see so many people wanting to bust out their savings for a nicer camera, but the best advice I can give you is to buy what you can reasonably afford, and then learn how to master that camera.
Learn how to shoot in manual mode, how to control your own focus and how to use light and composition, and I guarantee you'll start to take amazing images without having to make yourself bankrupt to do so. (That's exactly why I created Auto to Awesome, so that you had all the information you need, right at your fingertips - and it's much less costly than a new lens!)
Honestly, investing in education will give you far better results than getting a pro level camera that you don't even know how to use .
And when you feel like you have done all you can with your current camera, and you KNOW why it's holding you back, off you go and upgrade.
You'll deserve it 😃
(Psst, you can get started on your education journey for free! I've got a free course for beginners that will have you taking better images in just a few days - just click on the image below to get started or find out more about the course first here)
Myth #3 - Photography is easy
All you need to do is press the shutter right?! This is usually the first thought from people who have never tried to learn photography. It was certainly my first thought!
However, if you have been photographing a while, you will slowly be coming to the realisation that it's not.
Because, honestly, GOOD photography is not that easy. I'm definitely not saying it's rocket science (if I was I'd be screwed) but there is far more to it than just putting a subject in front of your lens and pressing a shutter. It requires a knowledge of light, of composition, of exposure, of your settings, and so, so much more to take a good picture.
This is why, if you are a brand new photographer, this particular myth is downright cruel.
You pick up a decent camera, learn a couple of functions and then expect to get pictures like you see from pro photographers. And when you discover it doesn't quite work that way, you get frustrated, overwhelmed, and maybe feel like giving up.
Please, please, please don't get disheartened though, although it's not easy, it IS entirely and completely doable - it just requires you to LEARN and practise, and it might take a smidgen more work than you first thought. My hope by writing this is that just by having that knowledge right from the start will save you hours of frustration - because I promise you are not failing if you don't "get it" right away, even if it feels like it sometimes.
Which leads me rather neatly onto....
Myth #4 - Learning photography is too overwhelming - I'm not sure I can do this.
Once you hit the realisation of point 3 above, you may then start to feel that photography is just too overwhelming, and that you will never get to where you want to be. (It can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride learning photography!!)
The main reason people feel overwhelmed is simply because they aren't following a specific learning path, so they are getting assaulted by knowledge that is pulling them in five different directions at once.
We all know that using a step by step blueprint can take an otherwise complex subject and make it relatively easy, as it leaves nothing to chance and makes you learn everything in a way that is connected.
However, learning one piece of the puzzle from one blog post, and another piece from yet another website, can be frustrating because nothing instantly connects. With photography, where you have so many different moving "parts" that you need to bring together to create a successful image, it's simply easier, and much, much quicker to follow a more logical learning path.
I personally don't have time to google everything i need to learn, and would definitely pay for a course to save my sanity and get me where I want to be quicker, but I also totally get that that is not for everyone. If this is you, I recommend that you create a learning "curriculum" for yourself if this is the path you choose to go down. (You can go onto the page for Auto to Awesome and have a look at the modules there - this will help you know what you should be learning next) This will help you stay on track and not go wandering down paths out of order and learning stuff you don't even need to know yet. It will help take away the overwhelm and make it feel so much more doable.
Myth #5 - Your images need to be perfect
My final myth of learning photography is that all of your pictures need to be perfect.
We talk so much about making sure that our exposure is correct, or different ways to get creative with composition, that it's easy to get bogged down in thinking of our images in only those terms.
But sometimes, all that matters is that you have captured a moment that you otherwise would have missed.
Some of my favourite photographs were taken in bad light and with the same level of composition skills you would expect from a hamster, but I love them anyway, because they capture my family is a way that is real.
Even the act of picking up your camera means you have achieved something that many, many other people never do - and that is appreciate the moment in the here and now, and recognised it as something you'll want to treasure for ever. That is perfect.
If you want a program that will you take you, step by freakin' step, through the maze of learning photography, then check out my Auto to Awesome ecourse - it does exactly what it says!