Photography is a fantastic medium, but it comes with a lot of skepticism.
Technology has advanced a ridiculous amount since photography was invented, which has made it more accessible and also stirred up controversy. In this post, I’m going to be discussing some of the myths and common statements surrounding photography.
Photography Isn't an Art
This statement is super common and I can see why it would be. Photography isn’t in the same realm as painting, illustration, etc. It’s definitely easier initially but, I wouldn’t say it’s not a form of art. Maybe I’m biased because I went to art college for photography, so I’ve been trained to look at it as art. Like painting, photography can be looked at for formal elements, such as composition and tone. Images can also look painterly, depending on the settings and way the image is composed. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it can’t be art. Just remember, artists like Picasso and Rothko are considered fine artists by many but people have criticized them for years as “non-artists”.
Everyone Can Be a Photographer
While this is technically true, not everyone can make art with photography. It takes a lot of practice, research, and a “good eye” to be a successful photographer. The good thing about photography becoming so accessible and mainstream is that it’s easy to see what makes a good image. An iPhone can’t produce what a full-frame DSLR can. It’s amazing to see everyone try their hand at photography, but I don’t believe this makes everyone a photographer. It’s also a slight kick to the face for people who spend time, energy, and money to make it a profession.
You Can't Make Money as a Photographer
I hear this one too much and as frustrating as it is, it’s also untrue! Photography jobs are harder to come by because of the statement above, but that doesn’t mean jobs aren’t available. That being said, photography jobs pay pretty well once you find one. Think about it: magazines need images, websites need images, advertisements need images. If there’s a company, they need a photographer. While “everyone” can be a photographer, companies want high quality photographs and art direction, which a “good” photographer can bring to the table.
Photographers Need to Focus on One Subject
I may be on the unpopular opinion list for this one but, I don’t believe that you need to specialize in one form of photography to be successful. If you’ve watched any videos or read any articles about getting hired as a photographer or building an audience, many will say the opposite. I had a presentation in my Business for Artists class during my senior year of college and I was told that I need to narrow my focus in order to get jobs. It may work for some, but I believe that broadening your horizons and showing all the work that you can do is more beneficial. This being said, don't show anything that you don't want to do for money or that you aren't happy with. You can’t be the best at everything, but being great at everything looks good to employers and potential clients. What if a client comes to your page, hoping that you can photograph a wedding, but they only see landscapes? You just lost a client for not showing that you can do weddings. If I only put up my music photography on my website, I wouldn’t get nearly as many freelance jobs. If you’re proud of the work, show it. Don’t feel like you have to conform to one type of photography in order to get Instagram famous.
I threw a lot of opinions around, but everyone is entitled to their own! I hope this debunked some myths that you’ve heard about photography and helped you form your own opinion on the subject.