When I first got serious about learning the art of photography I dove into the deepend head first. I joined every class I could, read every book I could get my hands on, and asked a ton of questions. I actually still do those things, I don't think the learning ever ends (although I like to think I ask better questions now), but as much I tried to go into all those classes with an open mind, I made a few assumptions about photography that I've realized aren't really true. Here are four things that I no longer believe about photography:
1. There's one perfect way to capture an image.
There's not. There's just not. There are a hundred different ways to capture a beautiful image of the same subject. Maybe it's using different settings, choosing a different lens, or shooting from a different perspective. I've seen this most clearly with the group shoots that I've organized for local photographers. Even though we are all photographing the same thing, our images look completely different. There are no shortage of options a photographer has her disposable to create an image. If you put 12 photographers in the same place at the same time, each of them will create something different and unique.
2. If I'm good enough, everyone will love me.
Instead, almost the opposite is true. The better I get, the more developed my style becomes. And my style isn't for everyone. I have seen amazing photographers get trolled for their work (which is something I will never understand, that's so uncool), and ultimately it's because their eye isn't the same as someone else's. Their visions don't mesh; there is no meeting of the minds. And that's okay. Not everyone will love everything I do either. The important thing is that I love what I do, and my clients do too.
3. Gear is everything. No, it's not. Yes, it is.
New photographers are constantly told that great images aren't made with cameras, they're made by photographers. And this is absolutely, a million times over, true. The photographer captures the image, not the camera. But, solid gear does make a difference. It helps bring our vision to reality. Putting amazing gear in the hands of someone who doesn't know how to use it will be fruitless (not to mention expensive), but it's disingenuous to say that gear doesn't matter. Even the best painters choose amazing brushes and paints over crayons (although who doesn't love a giant new box of 64 Crayolas, am I right?). The important thing is to know your gear, know what it can and can't do, and make sure it meshes with how you produce your art. All that gear, it's tools to produce your vision, not the vision itself.
4. It's an easy art form.
Growing up I never considered myself particularly artistic. I can't draw (stick figures are my jam), I'm awkward with a paintbrush, and I can't even sing or play a musical instrument well (despite 4 years of clarinet lessons). When I discovered photography I thought I had discovered a special kind of art - an art with rules that I could learn. With techniques and methods and science and specific ways of creating an image. And that's true, those things are there, but it's far from easy. I will spend the rest of my life learning and mastering the art of photography. It's a journey, so it will never end. Ultimately though you have to go beyond the rules, even break the rules, to find your style and create your vision. The truth is, I haven't found a super secret easy way of creating art, I just found the best medium of creating art for me.