Editorial Fun Stuff

10 Photography Pet Peeves

We read an article on Wired.com about “10 Photography Pet Peeves We’d Throw Down a Black Hole” and thought it was pretty fun. So, we decided to come up with our own photography/digital camera-related pet peeves. Feel free to disagree and/or add your own.

1. Tiny control buttons

They are so tiny that you can’t press them or inadvertently press the wrong ones. The worse part is when the Shutter Release button is so tiny that you need to exert some force when you press it, and the camera shakes every time you take a picture, resulting in the inevitable blurred photos.

2. XX-Points AF

People seem to be in awe when they hear how many focus points a camera has. In auto focus mode, the camera will decide for you which focus point to focus on — which may not always be the point you want. For example, the camera may decide to lock focus on some other object than your main subject simply because that other object is more contrasty than your main subject. Result: object in sharp focus, main subject out of focus. Learn to use the center AF point; that is the one that is the most accurate anyway.

Having many AF points is great when you are chasing one moving subject (AF Tracking) and you just want that subject to be in sharp focus wherever it may be in your screen.

3. Fancy Metering

I don’t care how fancy your camera’s metering is, how many areas it samples before returning an exposure setting, all light meters eventually return a shutter speed / aperture combination. Two numbers. The simplest light meter will also return those same two numbers, or close enough, for a still correctly exposed picture.

4. Perfect Exposure

Many beginners are still under the delusion that pros take a perfectly exposed picture right out of the camera. Untrue! They take pictures that are exposed just like your pictures are. After all, they use the same expensive cameras you do. How come their pictures look perfectly exposed while yours look too dark or too bright in certain areas?

One method they use is Exposure Bracketing that allows them to take multiple pictures of the same scene (camera on tripod), with each exposed for a different area of the picture. Then, in software, they merge the pictures together to give one picture that seems to be perfectly exposed all over.

Another method is to shoot in RAW and then work on each area in Photoshop to “dodge” and “burn” as appropriately, just like we used to do in the days of film.

5. High Dynamic Range & Candy Photos

With the advent of relatively easy to use software such as Photomatix, any noobie can turn drab pictures into HDR marvels. These pictures look like they are made of candy with each color literally popping out of the picture. It looks great when done correctly. However, it can also quickly get boring if overdone and/or overused. HDR is a technique worth using for photos that need it — just not all the photos in your album.

6. Mystery Photos

Some photos need explanations. You look and you look, but don’t get it. Even after it is explained to you what the juxtaposition of the hands mean, the angle of the roof, the number of triangles, etc., it still looks like a piece of junk or something a museum will spend your tax money on.

7. Heavily Manipulated Photos

Would you erase a garbage can from your photo, add light in the lighthouse where there was none, add color to a drab sunset, maybe even move a tree a little bit to the left to improve the composition? Nothing wrong if you label your photo as ART. Nothing wrong at all. Just don’t pawn it off as though you took that “photo” straight off the camera.

8. External Meters

Does anyone still use an external incident light meter? It’s kind of hilarious to watch a guy walk around measuring the incident light with a very serious face, then walking back to his camera (on a tripod) and setting the exposure manually. Don’t ask why, I just find it hilarious.

9. DSLR Movie

I don’t know about you, but there just seems to be something inherently wrong with using a DSLR to shoot movies. It might be the form factor that is just not right. I know it’s all the rage and you can do a fantastic job with it, but it just looks silly following your subject around with a DSLR pointed in their direction. I mean how far do manufacturers intend to go with movies in a DSLR? HOW FAR? 😉

[2017-07-22 Editor’s note: OOPS, they were willing to go VERY FAR indeed with 4K, all kinds of specialized recording features, and now with 8K on the horizon, I guess there is nothing wrong anymore using a DSLR to shoot movies.]

10. I left that one for you to fill in… 🙂

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