Photography truths/rules I’ve learned over the years.

  1. The 35mm format is the ideal format for recording Life’s Little Moments.
  2. Rangefinders are the ideal camera platform for recording Life’s Little Moments.
  3. Photography is the art of exclusion (painting is the art of inclusion).
  4. Newer generation lenses perform better optically than old classics.
  5. Buy the gear you really want.  Do that once.
  6. The bond between you and your camera is more important than what the spec sheet suggests.
  7. When it comes to cameras and lenses, less is more.
  8. Internet photography fora, beyond the first year of participation, are generally a waste of time.
  9. You only get better with practice.
  10. CCD rules; Film rules CCD…  both are dying.
  11. Use prime lenses.  They lead to better photographs.
  12. Robert Capa was correct: “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.
  13. To increase your chances of success, shoot in Manual mode.
  14. Focus with manual lenses.  This too will increase your chances of success.
  15. The Rule of Thirds is a pretty good rule.
  16. One good idea is better than 100 frames per second.
  17. Have a healthy respect for those making a living via photography.  It’s difficult to do.
  18. Record video of your loved ones as well… you’ll regret it if you don’t.
  19. Photography is the most democratic form of art… all of us are capable of creating a masterpiece.
  20. Never bet against Leica.

—Peter.

13 thoughts on “Photography truths/rules I’ve learned over the years.

  1. René Sterental says:

    Very well said! I’m printing these and using as reference for centering myself when I stray…

  2. I need to heed number 8 as I’ve come to your same conclusion. A major WASTE of time.

  3. Patrick Henneberry says:

    How very true.

    Some of the best advice I have received and some of the hardest lessons I have learned by trial, and many errors, are embodied in your truths.

    Know a few things well.
    Learn to see core truths and exclude noise.
    Practice your skills and learn to use your tools instinctively.
    Don’t automate the key decision points in your work. Keep those controls for yourself.
    Evaluate the work and methods of those you admire, but DO and don’t just watch – learn but keep following your own path with methods you choose.
    It is always cheaper to buy what you really want first. You will buy them eventually in any case.

    Your work here shows that you walk the walk in what you have said here. It is a gift to be able to see your moving images and learn from your experiences. Thank you for sharing so generously.

  4. Antonio says:

    Nice list. I agree with most of them although not sure about “Photography is the art of exclusion (painting is the art of inclusion).”

    No. 8) “Internet photography fora, beyond the first year of participation, are generally a waste of time.” OMG yes!

  5. andygemmell says:

    Well summarised Peter! Very true.

  6. I disagree with point 8, but not completely. I like learning things, so I’m on them daily. If I can help someone with something, that’s even better. Point 18, video: ah, I’ll pass… unless by ‘video’ you mean ‘Super 8mm film’.

  7. […] On a related note, every decade people are willing to write Leica off, but Leica manages to re-invent itself.  As I stated in point #20 of My Photography Truths: […]

  8. Peter Smith says:

    Hi Peter, Great site loves your truths

  9. Excellent summary of photographic truths. And I agree 100% about film rules. My percentage of meaningful pictures with black and white film is much higher than with digital. On sites like Dpreview, the film haters come out en masse wherever someone writes about film, clearly demonstrating that the film users know a skill that intimidates the haters.

  10. greg g49 says:

    I should never comment on these things, but, well…can we talk about #5? 😉

    Oh, and while I understand about not betting against Leica, I wonder if anyone has seen odds on who’ll own them this time next year…who knows, maybe Zeiss will be more reasonable about CCD.

    And lastly, I’d like a recount on #14 as related to old guys whose eyes sucked when they were young and have only gotten worse and are not shooting landscapes on a tripod with all day to fiddle… not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything… 😦

  11. […] for me, I’m trying to follow My Photography Rules/Truths (Rule […]

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