photographer myths

Posted by & filed under Travel Photography.

When you start thinking about selling your photos, there will inevitably be someone who comes along and tries to shoot down your dreams.

bonnie caton
Bonnie Caton

Maybe it’s a well-meaning parent or teacher who just wants you to be “successful.”

Maybe it’s a friend who’s slightly jealous, because they’ve never tried to go for their own dreams.

Or maybe it’s you.

Thing is, when it comes to pursuing a creative career, most people let their fear of failure take hold before they even try.

These five common photography myths are nothing but big excuses that will slow you down.

So, here’s a little truth, in case you need it right now…

Myth 1: Great photographers are born “gifted.”
Truth: Great photography is a skill you can learn.

Take any well-paid professional photographer and look back at their first images. You will see the truth—that they learned how to be great over time.

The more you shoot, the better you become.

And yet, the myth that to be a great photographer, you need to be born with a “gift” is common. Unfortunately, it’s also dangerous!

First of all, because believing it prevents you from trying to improve—and encourages giving up too soon.

And secondly, when your friends and family believe that good photography comes from a “gift,” they may not be very encouraging. Especially if they see your first “practice” shots and think that’s the best you’ll ever do.

Just know that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. You can become a high-level photographer with patience, practice, and belief in yourself.

Not only that, but you can start making money with your photos as you learn!

Myth 2: Either you have the “eye,” or you don’t.
Truth: “Seeing” is also a skill you can learn.

A related myth is that certain people are born with an “eye” for photography. That they “see” the world differently and are naturally able to tell stories with their lens.

But the truth is that everyone sees the world in their own, unique way.

Yes, even you! And everyone else you know.

“Seeing” the world in a way that allows you to take powerful photographs is also a skill you can learn. And once you do, you’ll be able to combine it with your own unique vision to create a style all your own.

Myth 3: Inspiration leads to great photography.

Truth: Taking lots of photos leads to inspiration.

If you’re sitting at home, waiting for inspiration to strike before you head out with your camera, then you’re doing it backwards.

Inspiration comes much quicker—and more often—when you grab your camera and just start shooting.

Take it with you on a walk. Take it to work. Put it on the counter while you make lunch. And then just pick it up and shoot anything remotely interesting.

The great thing about digital is that you don’t have to pay for film! And the other great thing is that you never have to show anyone your “learning” shots.

Think Ansel Adams and Robert Doisneau only took amazing photographs?

No way! They took terrible photos just like everyone else. They just never showed them to anyone.

And it’s taking those “terrible” photos that will not only lead to moments of inspiration…but will also teach you how to take better photos as you go.

Myth 4: Only the best photographers will be successful.

Truth: Photographers who know how to fill a need will be successful.

Many beginners hesitate to start selling their shots because they’re worried they’re not good enough.

Truth is, success in photography has little to do with talent.

Yes, talent matters. Learning to take great photos matters. Trying your best and delivering quality content matters.

But what will really make you successful as a photographer is putting yourself out there and starting to charge for your shots.

Myth 5: You can’t make an income with photography anymore.

Truth: People make money with photography every day. It just takes knowing how.

Now that we all have tiny, high-quality cameras in our pockets (I’m talking about our smartphones, of course), everyone is a photographer.

With social media, the world is saturated in photographs. Many of them very good.

But making money with photography is really about one thing I mentioned above: Filling a need.

If you know who needs photos, and what kinds of photos they need…you can be the person to provide them.

Think about that for a minute…

You could be the one to provide them.

No matter what anyone else thinks they know about photography.