Always and Never — My Biggest Pet Peeve

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to photographers who give advice, is when they say, “you should always” or “you should never” while talking to someone new to photography. Here are some of the rules I’ve heard from the self-proclaimed experts:

  • always shoot in manual mode
  • always shoot RAW
  • always get it right in camera (and thus the following)
  • never do any post processing
  • never use the on-camera flash

I don’t know about you, but the minute someone tells me I should always or never take a particular action, I am bound and determined to prove them wrong. That’s the purpose of this post. Actually, the purpose is to convince you that photography, as art, is subjective and the artist may take whatever steps needed to create artistic works. Afterall, the result is what artists are after and it is not readily apparent, to those viewing our works, what processes or camera settings were used to create the breathtaking landscape or stunning portrait.

For example, let’s look at the two previous lighthouse photos. Can you tell, what kind of camera I used? How about whether they were shot in RAW or JPG? Did I use Lightroom to edit them or not? Any answers would be a complete guess, right? Well, maybe not the Lightroom question because I rarely use anything else but I think you get the point.

The bigger question for me is, do my collectors care about my process? Not really. They care more about the story behind the image I’ve created.

The next time you hear someone use always or never in a sentence, perhaps you’ll consider the validity of their statement.

As for the two lighthouse images, they depict the lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia. I took one shot before we were treated to a steaming bowl of seafood chowder and the other right after lunch. The photo on the left came from my iPhone Xr; the right one was shot using my Olympus mirrorless camera. Really, do you need to know more? I think not.