12 things that I just need to get off my chest

Since I turned 50 last month, I decided that I’ve earned the right to rant once and a while, so here are a few things that just don’t seem right (to me) in the photography world. 

12 things that I just need to get off my chest (in no particular order):

  1. If someone can support themselves by doing photography full-time, I have all the respect in the world for them.  I don’t care whether it’s Chase Jarvis or the guy taking photos of kids at Sears.  People who aren’t making a living at it, but think that they could do better, should just shut the heck up. (I censored myself).
  2. If you’re going to a photo workshop, and your instructor is shooting as much or more than you do, it’s not a workshop.  A workshop is where instructors teach and they’re there to help you improve your photography – share their knowledge.  Ideally, the instructor wouldn’t shoot at all (unless demonstrating how to do something) – they’d just go from person to person making sure they get the training they need.  If all you’re doing is going to exotic locations and being shown all the good photo spots, then it’s a photo tour, not a workshop.  Nothing wrong at all with photo tours, but let’s call it what it is.
  3. People who think converting a crappy color photo to black & white makes it artistic.  It doesn’t.  It just makes it a crappy photo without color.
  4. People who think that just because a photo was taken with a Holga that it’s art.  It isn’t.  It’s just a photo that was taken with a toy camera.  An artistic aesthetic isn’t automatically applied just because it’s fuzzy and distorted.
  5. The same thing applies to all camera phones and applications such as Best Camera and Hipstamatic.
  6. Or film.
  7. Or alt-process presets.
  8. Or HDR.
  9. People who post a photo to a mailing list or Flickr who say they’re looking for Comments & Criticism (C&C) usually aren’t.  They’re looking for someone to tell them it’s good and stroke their ego.
  10. If you sit around all day trolling online forums thinking “I could do that if only I had X lens or X camera” – no you couldn’t.
  11. If you “review” books (or eBooks) 5 minutes after they come out, you probably didn’t give it due consideration.  It’s especially disingenuous if you’re an affiliate looking to get referral $$.
  12. What you see on your computer screen bears absolutely no resemblance to a beautiful print.  NONE.


Ahh, that feels better.  If you need the same sort of therapy, feel free to rant in the comments. (but keep it clean)





  1. Definitely agree strongly with #2. I try and follow that when I teach workshops and only shoot for demo purposes while explaining something.

    On #11, some eBook affiliates (such as myself) get advance copies of the eBook 4-5 days in advance of release so that reviews can be posted close to release time.

  2. I love it when I tell someone the best thing they can do is read the manual for their camera… several times. Make it your best friend and then shoot everyday. Then I’m floored by the response: “The manual is huge, I don’t have time for that. I just want to know how to take better pictures.”

    For the record, I love #3! Thanks for sharing Mark, sometimes I feel like I’m the only one that get frustrated.

  3. Love the third one too! Just makes me sick when i hear sth like “Let’s make this more artsy by converting it to b&w”. I always say that you should think in b&w prior to post-processing, if it wasn’t your intention to shoot sth black & white, if you didn’t have vision for particular scene to be portrayed like this, it probably won’t be better when you make it such. Although it is a more or less rare possibility that converting color photograph to b&w just makes the image better, but it is not due to conversion itself i think.

    Anytime i am drawn to make, let’s called it #3 sin i immediately go to Cole Thompson, Erwitt or Maurizio Polese work and i see what black & white photography should be about.

    Ranting yet ahead of me but hey 🙂

  4. Great points Mark. One I agree with and disagree with is #10. I agree with the trolling part. Where I differ slightly is with the “if I had X, I could do Y” – and that could be inspired by forums/blogs. For example I knew that my 50mm 1.4 was too tight on my fuill frame camera to get good candids when I was close to a person, and my 24-105 is just too obvious. So some research threw up the 28mm as being a good option 🙂 and it works great to realize that vision.

    That being said, I *do* get your point 🙂

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