Yesterday, I was reading a philosophical book about actions that can be similar to sins. We, as photographers, also commit some gross mistakes, which in my opinion are no less than sins. Are you committing any of these?
Cameras that decorate the almirahs
Buying a camera is one thing and using it is another. Many a time, I have seen people buying cameras, only to store it in their almirahs. May be it was a spur of the moment purchase, or may be ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. Many a time, I have also seen cameras being purchased with a feeling that good camera will automatically provide great photographs. Whatever the reason, an unused camera lying at home is a sin according to the photographer in me. The more expensive a camera, the greater is the sin.
Yesteryear cameras, that have been used extensively and are now taking rest is not the same. These cameras have done their job. It is the new purchases that I am talking about. Have you purchased a camera and clicked very few photographs? if you are not using it, sell it off, donate it, give to someone else… just don’t let it die a slow death in your almirah.
Using a camera with dirty hands
Call it ‘Lady Macbeth Syndrome’ if you want to, but I am finicky about clean hands. Sometimes to an uncomfortable extreme (that is uncomfortable to people around me rather than me). The sin that photographers commit is the opposite of this. I have seen photographers using their camera while holding a pizza slice in the other hand. Countless times, I have been a painful witness to this sin when photographers or camera users, have food and then just partially wipe the hands with a tissue before picking up the camera. To me, apart from being a really bad habit, this is also a sin.
Tilting the camera (Sometimes for fancy shots)
I don’t see the world with my head tilted to one side, then why should I have to bear with such photographs? Horizontal orientation is how the world appears to me. To get better frames, I might change the orientation of the camera to vertical (the so-called portrait orientation) and then place the photographs vertically for viewing. But… how about those crazy tilted frames? 45 degrees tilt to capture your girlfriend’s portrait? That’s a sin! Even if you get away with it, to me photography is complete when the printing gets done. How would such a photograph be placed in a frame or hung on a wall? Yes, people still do it. Lots of such photographs are clicked and even displayed in their tilted frames. This is still a sin and even more so if your camera is not a square format!
A lesser form of such a sin is when the horizon is tilted. This is usually unintentional and so if this happens, don’t be stressed out. Your soul is still safe. Just a little bit of being attentive next time is as good as a penance.
Another extension of this – when people start to capture videos in one orientation and then tilt the camera while the recording is going on to another orientation. This is not exactly a sin but more so a result of ignorance.
Mistakes while shooting, that amount to sins
The main culprits are these –
- Using an expensive and capable DSLR camera in Auto or Program mode. Just because you wanted to good camera doesn’t justify this purchase. Use it to its maximum, try out various modes and settings. Don’t commit this sin of sticking to the above two modes. Make your own decisions rather than letting the camera decide for you.
- Cutting off the main subject from the frame. I have seen a wedding photo where the photographer chopped off half of the groom vertically and ended up including the best man, next to the bride. Did he know something that others in the wedding did not or was he so high on the free alcohol there that he got confused between the groom and his best friend?
- Blurred subjects is another mistake which can amount to sin depending on what was being captured. (Camera Shake – How to avoid it?)
Do see this related article too – 5 Common Technical Mistakes
Sacrilege in Editing
The reason for this cardinal sin and a sacrilege – the myriad of powerful computer algorithms that are capable of altering the photograph to many extremes. The world has a name for these algorithms – filters. Sometimes also called fancy filters, plug-ins and macros. A little bit of use to enhance your picture or to attain the initial visualization is fine but replying only on these fancy filters to earn some wows and likes? That, my friend, is a sin!
I have written a few more articles on this topic, do check these out too –
My reason for including this in today’s list of sins was because of the stress my eyes go through, everyday, when they see the murder of otherwise beautiful captures on social media and instant messaging.
(Nikon Df with Zeiss 135mm f/2, captured at f/4.5 aperture, 1/125 shutter speed, ISO 100, Spot metered from the brightest and the darkest part of the subject to arrive at the correct exposure)
Be enlightened. Beware. Don’t let the photographer’s souls in you commit these sins! Take your camera out, give it due respect and enjoy your photography. Visualize your images and then press the shutter release.